- Portable Desk -
University Project
Team of 2
4 months
Nomad is a flexible and foldable portable desk allowing to work, read or eat, indoor as well as outdoor. It offers a safe worktop to place a laptop and raise it to eye level to prevent neck strain. The worktop converts into a tray if it is turned over.

Design a portable desk for people living in small spaces, allowing to work at different places at home, eventually in different positions, for the French furniture brand Fermob.
In 2016, 16,7% of French workforce has been teleworking at least once a week.
Nearly 80% of teleworkers are choosing their home as their main place to work.
Teleworking has allowed productivity to increase by 22% and sick leave to drop.
PROBLEMS / Opportunities
Sedentarism & aches
Homeworkers may be working at different places (bed, ground, desk...). There is also a need to facilitate mobility to avoid staying too long in the same position.
Space management
People lacking space at home need a compact solution. In addition, when not teleworking, how can this product be useful ?
Laptops that are laid on beds or on one’s thighs have a tendency to overheat, thus resulting in discomfort or even burns.
Project goal
How might we introduce a product that allows homeworkers living in small places to be more efficient and comfortable while working, and useful in other ways the rest of the time ?
Market and brand analysis
There are already a lot of different solutions available. A mapping of the market highlighted that there was an opportunity in developing a versatile as well as portable product. In addition, being for the French brand Fermob, the project required an analysis of their values and codes. Fermob is reputed for its quality indoor and outdoor steel and aluminium furniture. The products are simple yet colourful and clever.
A portable desk, but what else? 
The initial idea was to create a product with 2 purposes: firstly to use for work and another when it does not function as a worktop. Initial sketches explored a variety of shapes, characteristics and functionalities. Research and ideation led to the idea of a worktop transformable into a tray when turned over. 
Quick and dirty process
Bringing the portable desk into the real world meant changing proportions that looked correct in 3D. This meant model making and fast prototyping to get a sense of the size and ergonomics in both positions. Different forms and types of pivot were also tested. A functional 1:1 scale prototype was built to validate the concept and a more refined 1:2 model was made for presentation purposes.
Top notch
Particular attention was devoted to the pivot at the 4 corners of the worktop, which enabled switching from one purpose to the other. The parts needed to articulate easily but as a worktop, a locking mechanism was needed to secure its stability, preventing the table from tipping over. Various systems and kinematics were studied, leading to a special oval pivot with a notch to solve the problem.
Nomad - Product visualisation
Some in-context renders were made to show how this product could fit in an interior, in different situations. These renders are also intended to show how Nomad is able to blend in nicely next to other Fermob's pieces of furniture.
All work © Philippe Garaude 2022