Research, design and prototyping of a height adjustable, sustainable office table for Dutch furniture manufacturer ASPA




Cradle 2 Cradle office table

Industrial Design / Prototyping

Height adjustable and Cradle to Cradle

Together with 3 fellow students I worked on the design of a Cradle 2 Cradle office table for Dutch furniture manufacturer ASPA. ASPA asked us to design a height adjustable office desk which could be C2C certified and would fit within their existing product range. In addition our team wanted to put a strong focus on the user’s wellbeing, so the requirement of creating a healthy and stimulating environment with our design was added to the design brief. These factors together lead to the decision to use bamboo which, being a natural material, would stimulate and relax the user and be biodegradable as well.


To ensure the table could be moved up and down with relative ease and without the use of any electrical components, a counterweight system was developed which was hidden in the legs of the table.


The system would ensure that the tabletop stayed horizontal while the user moved it up and down. A pin and hole system was used to lock the table top on the correct height. During the project my focus was on the construction, shape and dimensions of the legs.

Building a functioning prototype

To evaluate the working principle, assembly process and appearance of the product we built a full scale working prototype in the workshop of our university. The different pieces of the table were cut out of MDF board, glued together and covered with bamboo veneer. In parallel the counterweight system was built and assembled into the legs of the table. Once finished the table was tested and presented at ASPA and analyzed together with their lead designer.


One of the main lessons that was learned from this prototype was the importance of tolerances and correct dimensioning of all parts within our design.


On the one hand, for the stability of the table, all parts and joints needed to fit as tightly together as possible so parts would not move relative to one another. For the height adjustment system however space was needed between the parts to ensure that the system would run smoothly. As we did not find the correct balance in our prototype yet, the need for the correct definition of dimensions and tolerances came to be the main point of improvement for our design.

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