When COVID hit and offices around the world closed, people suddenly needed to create workspaces at home. While some were lucky enough to have their own desk or even office, others have turned their dining room or kitchen into a semi-permanent workspace. The Eat-Work Table is designed for the latter.
The Eat-Work Table reimagines the standing desk from the perspective of design, craft, and sustainability in the context of working from home. It can accommodate up to six as a dining table and two as a standing desk. It is intentionally sized for smaller homes, allowing for changing functions throughout the day. Its minimalist aesthetics, concealed electronics, and warm wooden features make it a comfortable place to eat, work, or play.
The table was originally created for Otelier’s founder herself when she realized the challenges of working on her kitchen table full-time—from the physical pains of increased stagnancy and screen time, to psychological impacts of not having work-life separation. Eating meals, once an enjoyable part of the day, became eating at your desk. Simply replacing the dining table with a standing desk would not be a solution, so she designed her own.
Starting with the home as context, Eat-Work Table takes a human-centric design approach to address these issues. As a desk, its height-adjustability enables ergonomic wellness, given that people tend to be more sedentary when working from home full-time. And its generous surface area creates a comfortable place to work. As a dining table, it is a comfortable gathering place for meals, especially when hosting guests, with no visible signs of the office or messy cables to indicate its ulterior function as a standing desk. Drawers provide hidden storage for laptops and work accessories during meal times, and all electronics are concealed within the tabletop. With an optional battery, the table can be wireless except when charging. The power/charging cable can be wrapped around an under-table hook neatly tucked away and hidden from view. Additionally, the table’s four legs provide superior stability and load capacity compared with a two-legged standing desk. After all, a wobbly dining table would be quite annoying to eat on.
The table, like other products by Otelier, are designed with sustainability in mind. Partnering with Byron Conn Design, a talented fabricator in the Bay Area, the table is made with FSC wood and Greenguard certified finishes, and electronics used are PVC-free. Additionally, Otelier aims to retail using a circular model where customers will have the option to resell used products or parts on its website to encourage reuse, shifting consumer behavior away from throwaway culture.
By taking a human-centric and context-driven approach, the Eat-Work Table ameliorates the strain of working at home, and represents a new typology of multi-functional furniture relevant in the age of COVID and beyond.
Key Team Members
About the organization
Otelier is a play on the word Atelier. The O represents our studio's focus on circular economy as a foundational principle. In the last decade, retail industries and consumers have shifted towards fast furniture, marked by low prices, poor construction, copied designs, and single usage. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Americans throw out more than 12 million tons of furniture and furnishings each year. How might we design better products and systems? Otelier is our platform to explore that question.