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Nature-inspired standing desks and modern products, skilfully created in England using premium laser cut materials.

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I'm Simon George, a designer with previous experience in web and print design studying for a Computer Science degree, now expanding into product design. I'm using my prior design experience to bring pleasing aesthetics to my products, and my computer science experience to precisely code them.

About Standing Desks

I was introduced to standing desks a few years ago by several blog posts  and news articles from people who revolutionised their work environment by upgrading their sitting desk to a standing desk. In the past people such as author Ernest Hemingway have used standing desks. There are some compelling arguments:

  • Standing promotes good posture which may help reduce back ache
  • Standing with shoulders back opens the chest and could improve breathing
  • Since muscles are used to stand you burn more calories
  • You feel more free with the ability to move around (perhaps even dance a bit!)

For my A-level Product Design I became convinced to create a standing desk. I loved using it and couldn't imagine going back to sitting, but I saw room for improvement in the DIY construction. I looked into perfecting and professionally manufacturing it, starting with 3D drawings, CAD renderings, and cardboard mock-ups. The result is designing the SG Wave not just for myself, but a scalable project I can bring to you.

My concentration and productivity have increased as I no longer slouch and daydream in a chair. I feel more awake when standing; sitting now makes me feel sluggish. If forced to sit I increasingly get back and neck ache. Now I happily stand daily and plan to keep using my SG Wave standing desk indefinitely. It's just that good.

Inspired by nature, cut by laser

My flagship product is the SG Wave standing desk. Elements of the design are inspired by curves found in nature, such as in shells and crashing waves. The curves are precisely designed from the golden ratio for a powerful visual balance. The desk is constructed from high quality Baltic birch plywood, transparent acrylic, and soft natural cork.

By using bottles for legs, the desk can be set at the perfect height for you by choosing the right size bottles. The bottles not only allow height adjustability, but also customisation in a unique way. Choose coloured bottles, or bottles with interesting labels to jazz up your desk. You can even go a step further and fill the bottles with coloured aquarium pebbles for an artistic effect. Or bring some nature indoors by using a bottle as a flower vase that can't be knocked over. To create a harmonious look, the desk comes with 2 matching birch bottle stoppers.

Different size & style bottles — some filled with coloured aquarium pebbles, one used as a vase, another a pen holder, and shown with the matching wood bottle stoppers
Different size & style bottles — some filled with coloured aquarium pebbles, one used as a vase, another a pen holder, and shown with the matching wood bottle stoppers

By using bottles the environment wins too. They are reused not recycled so no energy is spent turning them into something new. Replacing table legs with bottles means the packaging can be dramatically smaller saving waste and CO2 in transport.

Under the spacious keyboard shelf there is a drawer for stationery which is lined with cork to protect delicate items, and removable dividers allow flexibility. At the rear of each surface a backstop with cable slot prevents pens from rolling off or wires falling behind the desk. At the front of both surfaces is a curved soft cork palm rest for comfortable use over extended periods. Every detail has been thought of making this a beautiful desk like no other.

The SG Wave + Incline were made for each other, bringing both your desk and laptop up to an ergonomic height. As a bonus, back at this reward level to get a discount compared to the separate prices.

More pictures, info and specs on the SG Designed website

Compact and affordable, every bit beautiful

CAD rendered design of the SG Standing, ready for prototyping
CAD rendered design of the SG Standing, ready for prototyping

The SG Standing is SG Wave's little sibling standing desk. More compact and affordable, but every bit as loveable. It's currently in the late design stage, ready for a prototype to be fabricated. Back this Kickstarter to see the SG Standing in its final form; it'll be every bit as loveable as it's big brother.

SG Standing uses the same interlocking birch plywood construction as the SG Wave. A single work surface is perfect for laptops including the stunning see through design and padded cork edge. Also inherited is the uniquely shaped backstop with cable slot to prevent pens and wires from getting lost behind your desk. Comfortable to work on and a beautiful design object, the SG Standing is ideal for space conscious individuals. 

The SG Standing will come with 4 matching ply bottle stoppers and SG Coasters. Just add your own glass bottles to suit your height.

More pictures, info and specs on the SG Designed website

Minimal design, maximum ergonomics

SG Incline miniaturises the principles of SG Designed standing desks into a laptop riser. It raises your laptop closer to eye level reducing strain on your neck from looking down. It is ideally used with a keyboard and mouse so you can push your laptop back reducing eyestrain. The same sturdy plywood is used so your laptop is kept stable. Cork pads are used to protect both your desk and laptop from scratching. The clever interlocking design means it can be shipped in an padded envelope for minimum environmental impact and to reduce shipping costs for you. Assembly is easy taking under 5 minutes with a single screwdriver.

More pictures, info and specs on the SG Designed website

Slices of simplicity for your drinks

Finally there are the deceptively simple SG Coasters. Every SG Designed standing desk comes with 6, but you can own the set separately. They are a great way to show your support and experience gorgeous laser cutting for yourself. The natural cork used insulates and protects your desk from hot or cold drinks, and is soft to prevent scratches. To finish them off, each is emblazoned with the SG Designed mark.

More pictures, info and specs on the SG Designed website

Premium Construction

SG Designed products are constructed from high quality Baltic birch plywood, crystal clear thick acrylic, and soft natural cork. There are cheaper alternatives such as MDF, thinner plastic or synthetic foam padding, however I was determined to create a high quality product that will be a beautiful talking point and last for years.

The materials are cut using one of the most precise processes available — laser cutting. Intense light burns/melts through the material with no physical contact so no rough edges. The focussed beam of light is much more precise than a saw; about 10× more accurate! This is an expensive process, but essential so that the hundreds of parts making up an SG Wave fit perfectly. What I love most about it, though, is the striking dark burnt edge it leaves which wonderfully contrasts the pale birch plywood.

Using my Computer Science experience all SG Designed products get their incredible precision from being programmed in over 1700 loving lines of code for sub-millimetre accuracy.

I'm running this Kickstarter to fund prototyping the SG Standing, make final improvements to the other prototypes, and reach enough scale to lower the laser cutting cost as much as I can; so you can own perfectionist design at incredible value.

This project is nearing completion with most prototypes done and needing hardly any changes before production. Now I need your help to succeed with the project. If it doesn't reach the funding goal neither of us get anything, so please back and share with others who you think would like the benefits of a standing desk.

Production Plan

Once I reach the funding goal I will order a prototype SG Standing, and make any minor modifications needed to the design. After the Kickstarter, I will get the money in 14 days then can place the full order for all the rewards. Laser cutting lead time is usually 5 days, plus 2 days for special order materials (the cork). Then the cut parts will be couriered to me, along with all the hardware (nuts, bolts, runners etc) and other items. Finally, I will assemble and ship the products to you.

According to my timeline I plan to ship all products by the end of September. This estimate has some stretch room included, but big delays with my suppliers or unforeseen problems could cause this to slip a few months — but I'm confident delivery will be within this year.

Delivery will be by standard post or courier and will take up to a week. Worldwide delivery will take longer.

For more info about the project visit the SG Designed website, follow SG Designed on Twitter, like SG Designed on Facebook, or look at more pictures on Flickr.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

I have prototypes of every product except the SG Standing. They work very well, though as a perfectionist I plan to make small improvements before production which shouldn't introduce any problems. The prototype SG Wave doesn't have quite enough cork slices for the palm rests (can be seen on the right of some photos) so now I know exactly how many are needed for production and will order extra too. The Kickstarter will fund prototyping the SG Standing; by using CAD I know that every piece fits together, as it shares it's materials with the SG Wave I know their properties work well, and since it is a simpler design it should work well.

I have 2 suppliers lined up for every component from laser cutting to hinges, so there are no weak points in the supply chain with a fallback plan every step of the way.

I'm confident I can deliver this project successfully, and if there are any issues that come up, I will work hard to resolve them quickly. I will update backers with progress and if there are problems I will explain what I'm doing to fix them.

FAQ

  • Most materials scratch to some extent, so I will compare to other materials.
    Acrylic does scratch a little more than glass, though it has greater resistance to dynamic shocks, and a higher light transmittance (more transparent).
    Acrylic is harder and more scratch proof than Polycarbonate — also known as bullet proof glass!
    Acrylic is harder than many woods so scratches less.
    Most cheap flatpack furniture is MDF with a plastic coating that will scratch about the same or worse than the acrylic in SG Designed products.

    I wouldn't worry about scratching. The desks ship with 6 coasters; 4 for the bottles and 2 for your cups and mugs, so drinks needn't scratch the desk. Most electronic devices (keyboards, laptops, monitors) have rubber feet so they won't scratch the surface. Finally, the SG Incline has cork feet which won't scratch the acrylic or your laptop. So provided you don't throw your keys at it or use it as a chopping board, an SG Designed desk should look beautiful for years.

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  • Plywood is a premium material. Most cheap flatpack furniture is made of MDF or chipboard which is weaker than plywood and quite ugly (so it's usually covered with melamine). Plywood is stronger than plain wood because the grain alternates direction with each layer, making it strong in both directions while plain wood is strongest in just one. The plywood I selected is birch which is among the strongest and most dimensionally stable plywoods. Another important feature is that plywood laser cuts cleanly without splinters leaving a smooth edge that requires no sanding.

    I also think there is a beauty in the simplicity and uniformity of plywood. When viewed from the surface it is just wood; plain and simple, elegant. The subtle grain adds natural interest while maintaining harmony with the design. When viewed from the edge the layers make subtle regular stripes which add class and style to the products. In short, I think plywood is beautiful, and the under appreciated material is rising in popularity in product design.

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  • The prototype SG Wave's dimensions are as follows (not including bottles):

    Width: 86cm
    Depth: 44cm
    Height: 17cm

    Top acrylic surface: 85x34cm
    Drawer acrylic surface: 74x34cm

    I've taken roughly the outer extents in these measurements as the desk is a complex shape. Since it is a prototype I may change the dimensions very slightly before production. Though as it works well I don't plan to change anything more than a centimetre.

    Depending on the size bottles you use they may add one or two centimetres each side of the desk, but I've designed the total width so it should fit on top of most medium to large desks.

    There is some more information on my website: http://www.sfcgeorge.co.uk/designed/sg_wave

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    SG Coasters. A set of 6 coasters, laser cut from 3mm thick natural cork sheet. These beautifully minimal coasters are insulating and soft, to protect your desk from hot or cold drinks and scratches.

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    SG Incline. A sturdy 13-15" laptop riser with style. Raise your laptop to a more ergonomic viewing height and increase airflow. Cable holes make organising your wires easy and neat. (Minimal assembly)

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    SG Standing. A standing desk to transform your work or play environment. Contrasting birch ply, transparent acrylic and cork. Use your bottles of choice for legs. (Assembled)

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    SG Wave. A stunning standing desk to transform your work or play environment. Contrasting birch ply, transparent acrylic and cork, in a design inspired by waves in nature. Use your bottles of choice for legs. (Assembled)

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    SG Wave + Incline. A stunning standing desk + a sturdy laptop riser with style to bring both your desk and laptop up to an ergonomic height. They were made for each other

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Funding period

- (30 days)