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Synecdoche Design Studio

Synecdoche Design Studio

Ann Arbor | Detroit, MI

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Workwall setup in desk partition configuration with one 36' and one 24'.
Workwall setup in desk partition configuration with one 36" and one 24".
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/WORKWALL\

Amidst an overwhelming selection of plastic partitions that divide and protect, without doing much else, the Workwall sets itself apart. The design improves the personal workspace by helping to protect employees and guests from the current pandemic’s airborne particles. It establishes a sense of place with character, enables brainstorming with a writable surface, and users can organize Kanban sticky-notes on a vertical area. At only 4 inches wide, the design takes up minimal space on the desk surface and in exchange increases the usable area to the vertical plane.

At the beginning of the pandemic Synecdoche, along with other architecture studios, began 3D printing PPE face shields for medical facilities and first responders. The studio has rapid prototyping tools such as 3D printers and a CNC machine for model making and custom fabrication, but saw their use for the more pressing equipment and quickly shifted gears. While successfully helping supply health care workers with face shields, the team added to the efforts by developing a product that responds to previous and current clients in the small business community working to figure out how to adapt their spaces. The designer mindset of problem solving, rapid iterations, and the fabrication shop led to the first prototype in early May.

With an immediate need for new protection practices and  products, the design considers the long-term impact of materials and use beyond the current pandemic response to the workplace. Small businesses are strained and need equipment that enables them to get back to work safely and affordably. The flexible and adaptive design prioritizes long term use application and stylish details.

The variety of furniture applications requiring partitions limits the ability of a single clamp mechanism to fit all types. The table top design can span between two level surfaces, avoiding table legs, sit-stand controls, file cabinets, or other accessories that may obstruct the ability to attach. Industry professionals are currently recommending disabling sit-stand controls on desks to keep all desks at the same height limiting variants that may cause spread.

The flat pack ready to assemble components reduces packaging waste for shipping and easy storage. Likewise, manufacturing strategies allow efficient nesting of materials to reduce waste from sheet stock production. Threaded screw posts allow for tool free assembly, disassembly, and reassembly. Individual components are easy to customize between frosted and clear panels, width of partition, and color of handle to match the interiors of the use and style preferences.

Available for pre-order now at https://www.synecdochedesign.com/workwall

DETAILS

  • Flat stock design of nested profiles creates an efficiency of material use and low cost manufacturing tactics.
  • Partnering with local manufacturers in the Detroit area enables quick access to parts and supports local craftsmen.
  • A slight lift from the table top allows for cable management to easily route underneath to access table top power or grommets.
  • The pre-drilled components allow for simple assembly. Easy to align the panels by setting them in the notch of the wood legs, a set of screw posts can be hand tightened with no tools.
  • Threaded screw posts enable the product to be assembled and disassembled multiple times without wear.
  • The A-frame structure let's Workwall straddle the gap between table tops for a shared partition with individual work surface areas.
  • The trapezoid geometry allows perpendicular panels to align seamlessly.
  • Powder-coated handles give character and customization for large orders to match company branding.
  • The design uses the same legs for all sizes, and uses the same handle for 2 sizes. An efficiency to minimize variable components between product sizes.
  • Cork pads on the base give extra grip and slip resistance while protecting the table surface.

USES

  • Personal partitions between open office desks with whiteboard/sticky note surfaces.
  • Huddle white boarding sessions in open meeting areas and lounges. Fits on a coffee table!
  • Handle makes for easy grab-and-go for workshops, meetings, and pop-up signage.
  • Separate guests in restaurant dining rooms with cleanable surface (and write daily specials).
  • Panels at point of sale counters to pass payment and papers through the bottom slot.
  • Reception desks with clear panels to greet guests and write notes such as “back in 5”.
  • Classroom partitions that can double as privacy partitions during testing. A modern take on the folder fort.
 
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Status: Built
Location: Ann Arbor, MI, US
Firm Role: Designer
Additional Credits: Plastic fabricated by Plexlab
Metal handle fabricated by Detroit Metal Elements
Wood legs fabricated by Synecdoche

 
24' Workwall partition in frosted acrylic, birch plywood legs, and blue steel handle.
24" Workwall partition in frosted acrylic, birch plywood legs, and blue steel handle.
kit of parts and sizes
kit of parts and sizes
assembly diagram
assembly diagram
full desk partition setup
full desk partition setup
split desk partitions with existing panels
split desk partitions with existing panels
Small (24')
Small (24")
Medium (36')
Medium (36")
Large (48')
Large (48")
Extra Large (60')
Extra Large (60")
Tapered shape allows for perpendicular joining.
Tapered shape allows for perpendicular joining.
Tapered shape allows for perpendicular joining.
Tapered shape allows for perpendicular joining.
Cut from flat sheet material with CNC machining for efficiency.
Cut from flat sheet material with CNC machining for efficiency.
Base handle colors available. Blue, yellow, red, black, and white.
Base handle colors available. Blue, yellow, red, black, and white.
Workwall handle connection detail
Workwall handle connection detail
36' Workwall in frosted acrylic, birch plywood legs, and blue steel handle.
36" Workwall in frosted acrylic, birch plywood legs, and blue steel handle.
Workwall screw post detail
Workwall screw post detail
Workwall partition setup with one 36' and one 24'. Cable management space at bottom.
Workwall partition setup with one 36" and one 24". Cable management space at bottom.
Workwall partition setup with one 36' and one 24'. Can be used for post-its and dry erase marker.
Workwall partition setup with one 36" and one 24". Can be used for post-its and dry erase marker.
Cork feet protect the surface of any table. Shown in clear and frosted.
Cork feet protect the surface of any table. Shown in clear and frosted.
Workwall
Workwall
Workwall screw post detail with birch plywood.
Workwall screw post detail with birch plywood.
Workwall can be used to write on with dry erase markers.
Workwall can be used to write on with dry erase markers.
Workwall 24' partition frosted.
Workwall 24" partition frosted.