UrbanDesk offers a solution to cramped student accommodation woes
By Paul Ridden
October 15, 2012
Many students will have faced the problem of trying to squeeze a good sized work desk and a comfy bed into the same small room. Some may have gone down the bunk bed with desk area beneath route but while such things are certainly practical, they're not exactly well suited to the needs of the maturing scholar. The UrbanDesk from Graham Phakos is a full-size bed by night but when it's time to start work, the frame can be lifted up against a wall to reveal a spacious desk beneath. Initially created for his own use, such has been the interest from friends and colleagues that he has decided to aim for a limited production run.
Faced with a small room but wanting both a good-sized bed and spacious work area, Phakos decided to create his very own hybrid UrbanDesk. He told us that the "build process was pretty simple and straight forward and I did not think to keep much of a log. I spent a few weeks designing everything in a trial version of AutoDesk Inventor and then built the whole thing over one weekend and a couple trips to the hardware store. The whole thing cost a couple hundred dollars in materials."
The finished wooden prototype has a 59-inch (150-cm) wide and 29.5-inch (75-cm) deep Vika Amon table top from Ikea and a bed frame measuring 24.5 x 78.5 x 57.5 inches (62 x 199 x 146.05 cm). A good eight inches (20 cm) of clearance means that you can leave items on the desk when it's hidden underneath the bed, and there's room for storage at the back, too. Phakos has been using his UrbanDesk every day since July and it became such a talking point among envious family, friends and colleagues that he decided to try and take his design to the next level and make it available for others to buy.
Unfortunately, he simply didn't have the finances to run off a number of refreshed UrbanDesks on his own so he headed to crowd-funding portal Kickstarter to get things moving. Backers will be offered an updated and refined version of the prototype with steel instead of wood and a locking mechanism. The UrbanDesk will be shipped out as a flat-pack, self-assembly unit that will require buyers to bolt it together. The mattress will be attached to the bed frame with included nylon webbing. Build time is reckoned to take no more than an afternoon.
Folks who want to knock up a wooden version of their very own have also been catered for.
"I have decided to add a DIY backer level to the Kickstarter as another way for people to show their support for my project and as a way to share the information that I learned in building this," said Phakos. "I was able to borrow all of the tools I needed from friends. Having a fully outfitted shop would definitely make the process quicker and easier, but it is far from necessary."
There's an "Early Bird" special pledge level of US$650 and once they've been snapped up, it will cost backers $700 for the basic model. If all goes well, production of the first units will begin in January 2013. Given the size of the UrbanDesk, even in its flat-packed state, international backers are being asked to contact the developer before making a pledge.
"I do not really have marketing plan for things post-Kickstarter yet," admitted Phakos. "I don't have the money to fund this product into a commercially viable version if I fail to reach my Kickstarter goal. If I am able to reach my funding goal and it is clear there is a market for this product I will continue to offer it for sale to individuals as well as possibly trying to tackle the college dorm market. I have heard a lot of schools are looking to remove loft and bunk beds from dorms because of safety issues."
The funding campaign video below shows the UrbanDesk in use.