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Musuem of Childhood Information Desk

A new information desk for the Museum of Childhood in London. The footprint of the desk is a rectangle while the service level is a rippling shape. The timber that stretches from floor level to service level twists around the form to achieve a smooth transition from one to the other.

The desk is built from hand cut solid ash bent around a CNC cut frame work.The structure is intentionally built as a dry-fit solution so that at the end of its life it can be broken down and the timber reused.

The brief specified that the desk breaks down into separate wheeled units that can be either stored away easily or used for bar and function elements for private events. This was particularly complex due to the highly irregular form of each unit. With no parallel or perpendicular lines to work with this presented a particular problem for reassembly. This was solved using a series of levelling feet and bespoke metal levelling / joining plates that are as simple as possible for the musuem staff to use.

This complex transition was calculated on the computer but ultimately each piece was hand cut differently to take into account material variation that was impossible to build into the 3D model.

The side panels of the desk are all solid 15mm tongue and groove ash with the exceptions of the corners which are laminated panels of plywood with a 6mm solid ash skin as the transition from 90 degree right angles at the base to a smooth curve was too difficult to acheive. The image below shows the extremities of these curves.

Inside the desk. On the left hand side of the image sections of the panels are kerfed in two directions to acheive tighter curvature when bent. A bit like when you cut a mango.

The desk was accompanied by a series of folded sheet metal leaflet holders. These modular units link together to make a tilting form for stability.


Thanks to Finn Magee, Craig Barrow, Kevin Sawyer and especially Josh Bitelli for their hard work on this project.