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Cardboard Standing Desk / Sitting Desk (The H Desk)

The H Desk is a standing desk made of industrial strength cardboard that can be flipped into a private sitting desk, drawn on, and recycled.

Photo of Mitchell Stevens

Written by

I am a.....

  • Student

Tell us about your idea

During COVID, too many students are camped at the kitchen table or plopped on the couch trying to learn from home. The H Desk is a no-screw/no-glue industrial strength cardboard standing desk that students get to build themselves. It can serve as a standing desk for 2, a private cubicle desk for 1, or a living room loveseat. You can draw on it, pin up ideas and inspirations, and rotate it whenever you need to change up your environment. 

Post-COVID, what if students could design their own classrooms, schools, and learning environments, using their desks like giant LEGOs? The wood version of The H Desk is my proposed solution for a modular, customizable learning furniture.

What part(s) of the pre-COVID school system do you wish to leave in the past? Why?

COVID has forced us to learn remotely, and to redefine what a learning space is. Traditional classrooms are a thing of the past. Post-COVID is the perfect time to redefine what our learning spaces look like, and how they function. David Kelley and Scott Doorley at the d.school have shown me that design thinking needs flexible space that doesn't feel precious. But this kind of learning needs the stage to be set. It's time we redesign the classroom to be as dynamic as the young minds who inhabit that space.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.

What if students could design their own learning environments? I'm a graduate student in Stanford's Learning Design + Technology program. We identify learning problems and design solutions to those problems. My research has shown me that K12 students need to learn design thinking in order to become the creative problem solvers our world needs. Scott Doorley and David Kelley at the d.school helped me realize the stage must be set for design thinking. So I thought, how I might design learning furniture to set the stage for schools. The H Desk was originally designed to be made out of birch plywood with a laminate finish. During COVID however, I made the H Desk out of cardboard in the hopes that others could repeat the concept for themselves. 

What region are you located in?

  • North America

Where are you located?

I currently live in the Bay Area with my parents in a 55+ community next to the Stanford campus. We're from Utah and plan to move back there when I finish graduate school. I grew up in the public school system in Utah. Fortunately, my mom helped me understand that learning was not just something that happened at school. Learning was the ever-present potential of being surprised by life at any moment. I think that's why I love design work so much. It carries that inevitable element of surprise.

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Photo of Javier Guardiola
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Very nice and cost-effective idea! As a student, I have been struggling at home during the quarantine looking for new postures to continue studying for long hours.

The fact that is made of cardboard is fantastic, but I was wondering, what is the average life expand of the product? Apart from that, from watching my brother work at home I think this a great idea not only for learning environments, but also for workspaces.

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