al borde arquitectos designs modular desk for women's rights campaign
al borde arquitectos designs modular desk for women's rights campaign al borde arquitectos designs modular desk for women's rights campaign
apr 22, 2015

al borde arquitectos designs modular desk for women's rights campaign

al borde arquitectos designs modular desk for women’s rights campaign
all images courtesy of al borde arquitectos/the EDGE




any design, no matter how innovative or thought out, will fail to please everyone it comes into contact with. whether it’s not aesthetically pleasing personally, doesn’t translate culturally, or simply doesn’t meet the needs of the user — it will always fail someone. al borde arquitectos faced the unfortunate but commonplace situation when tasked with creating a device for writing, for the ‘women’s letters’ campaign by UN women and the contemporary arts center.

al borde arquitectos modular desk designboom
participant of ‘women’s letters’




to distill all women into a single category and set of needs is impossible. the designed object thus needed to be as diverse as the group who would use it. the team started with a singular, seemingly simple thought, it needed to be comfortable. however, the concept of comfort is subjective; mine is not necessarily yours, and differences are further exacerbated by an activity as intimate as letter writing. it was decided then that the creation must be as particular as the personalities behind the letters.

al borde arquitectos modular desk designboom
lined up



the object took form as something familiar: a school desk. necessary conditions to hold a piece of paper are essentially be a flat surface, so instead, the problem was solved by installing desks wherever feasibly possible. open spaces for extroverts, protected places for shy people, little nooks for little writers, and tall spots for the lofty were decked in a barrage of writing surfaces.

al borde arquitectos modular desk designboom
dilapidated seats before being fixed, cleaned, and outfitted




then, the women took charge. stories, anecdotes and letters arrived for a total collection of 10,000 letters in the campaign’s three month run.  accompanying workshops and public events were held throughout the duration, assists letter writers when necessary. the initiative was carried out in ecuador, where it later resulted in positive legislation and increased awareness of women’s rights.

painting the desks


al borde arquitectos modular desk designboom
the school desk was adapted any kind of chair

chairs are transportable and can easily adapt to whatever context they’re placed

al borde arquitectos modular desk designboom
a woman writes at one of many seats

over 10,000 letters were collected in the initial three month campaign

al borde arquitectos modular desk designboom
spontaneous locations

various public seating options

al borde arquitectos modular desk designboom
the desk can be placed on any chair



designboom has received this project through its ‘DIY submissions’ feature, which welcomes readers to submit their own work for publication. see more designboom readers submissions here.

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