refold cardboard standing desk changes the way you work refold cardboard standing desk changes the way you work
oct 07, 2014

refold cardboard standing desk changes the way you work

refold cardboard standing desk changes the way you work
all images courtesy of refold




the way we work is changing. we are more mobile and more connected than ever before. we have the ability to do our jobs from almost anywhere at anytime, but our workspaces have been slow to reflect this. assisting this transformation, a project called ‘refold‘, by fraser callaway, oliver ward, and matt innes, has resulted in a cardboard standing desk that facilitates the present-day workflow by allowing flexibility and aiding collaboration. it enables teams to assemble unique environments in a matter of minutes and adapt it to their needs. it allows you to focus on tasks when and where you want. the potential applications for these constructs are endless. they could be used for schools, creative studios, pop-up stores, mobile offices, or disaster relief.


video courtesy of refold




the furnishing was designed as a standing desk for multiple reasons. first, research shows that when you’re upright, you’re more likely to engage with others, share your ideas, and participate in group efforts. this position also increases productivity, but most importantly, creates a healthier atmosphere. human beings are not meant to sit in the same place for hours on end. research shows that it causes irreversible damage. in fact, it has even been labelled the new smoking.

refold cardboard standing desk new zealand
the cardboard desk changes between sitting, standing, and carrying states




the project folds and slots together in less than two minutes using four main pieces, with no tape. it is made completely from a single material – 7mm twin cushion kraft cardboard, which means it’s 100% recyclable and can be put out with your household recycling. each leg is constructed from three pieces laminated together with environmentally friendly adhesives. for maximum strength, the flute direction alternates with a horizontal slit sandwiched between two verticals. the desktop is removable, and therefore can be replaced to refresh the work surface. the system is fully made in new zealand from locally produced components.

refold cardboard standing desk new zealand
the desk can support the weight of a person 




according to the young architects of the desk, ‘after initially exploring die cutting, a traditional method of producing cardboard packaging, we quickly found it to be restrictive and didn’t produce the quality we were after. instead, we favored digital fabrication due to its crisp knife cut edges, as well as its potential for customization and adaptability.’ digital fabrication means a computer-controlled knife lacerates the planes from a cut file, which can be altered at a moments notice. this allows for the production of different heights, which is important in achieving an ergonomic working platform.

refold cardboard standing desk new zealand
weighing just 6.5kg, it’s highly portable




‘refold’ is driven by aspirations of giving back and using designs to ‘do some good’. the group sees its desks as a product to instigate positive change in the lives of those who are less fortunate. they have been working with UNICEF new zealand to help improve education in the pacific islands by performing trails of the initiative in schools. the project is currently looking for funding on kickstarter here.


video courtesy of refold

refold cardboard standing desk new zealand
side and front view of the standing desk

refold cardboard standing desk new zealand
the sitting legs can be used to ease your transition to standing

refold cardboard standing desk new zealand
the desk is easily put together from 4 main parts 

refold cardboard standing desk new zealand
a collaboration with local wellington artist, gwil 

refold cardboard standing desk new zealand
the desk is a canvas

refold cardboard standing desk new zealand
the refold team of matt, fraser, and oliver

refold cardboard standing desk new zealand
diagram of the different heights



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here. 

  • Great to see this feature – I’m the license holder for TEDxWellington and end of August we had them share their story of the above – video can be viewed here:

    Thanks –

    DK says:
  • wow that is so clever. Are they available and if so how much would the medium size one be?

    Fran Horsley says:
  • I could see few uses for this outside of temporary setups.. such as natural disaster sites or anyplace where you need to dispose of it within 1-3 weeks. in most third world climates it would get moldy and eaten by rats.
    Real desks are made from recyclable materials so I don’t see the advantage of looking homeless.

    Mike Fischer says:
  • $150 for a cardboard desk that is not particularly attractive? Why? You can get a wardrobe box about the right height for about $4 and it will hold up your laptop just fine and it would weigh about 1/4 as much. While it is impressive you can stand on it, I am puzzled why you would want to. I am also puzzled why having a desk be recyclable and made of a material that gets chewed up easily is desirable. If I am going to move it a lot and use it for a long time, I certainly would want to make it out of something more durable. Fluted polypropylene (coroplast) would be a good choice, waterproof, durable, cleanable and available in colors, and it is also recyclable without being delicate or easily soiled.

    MichaelC says:
  • We’ve just added a new pledge for INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING on our Kickstarter –

    Refold says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

design news