It's possible to spend hundreds—or even thousands—on a sit-stand desk that will remind you to get up if you've been slouched in front of your computer too long, or even train you to stand longer if you're out of shape. But if all you need is something to pop up and down and hold your computer, now it's possible to buy that for $25.
"We did really want to make a desk that would be accessible for everyone," says product designer Steven Suchy, who worked on the desk, called Oristand, at the request of Hootsuite founder Ryan Holmes, who needed a standing desk himself and was frustrated at the lack of affordable desks on the market.
"We figured at the $25 price point there would be less hesitation to try one out, even for people who may down the road want a full size, fully automated desk," Suchy says. "We thought that making an affordable, easy-to-use product would allow people to try a standing desk for the first time."
The simple desk is made from cardboard, because it's cheap, recyclable, and can do everything the designers wanted the desk to do. "Cardboard does seem to be an unlikely candidate for a desk, but the industrial-grade cardboard that we're using is really great because it's strong and lightweight and ultimately very affordable," says Suchy.
It actually isn't the first cardboard standing desk; the Refold, a full-size cardboard standing desk, folds up so you can carry it around. The Chairigami desk, also full-size, was designed to be cheaper than other options at $65. But the Oristand is even less expensive, and convertible.
"When you're not using it, it just folds very flat, so it's not in the way," says Suchy. "When you do set it up, it's rather instant—it unfolds in a few seconds."
That convertibility is what makes it more valuable than a stack of books on your desk—or, say, an empty cardboard box. "We've done some research in standup desks and their health benefits, and while we certainly aren't health experts, we found out that modulating your day between standing and sitting seems to be a real benefit," he says. "So we wanted to come up with a design that would allow that transition to be as easy as possible."
Though it looks simple, the designers went through several iterations before finding something that worked, and also met with several factories before finding one that could make the product locally for North American customers. (The manufacturer they chose, near Seattle, has experience making complicated shoeboxes for Nike).
The desks are available now.