Modus modular desk

Modus is a modular tabletop design based on children's building blocks

Norwegian student designers Hannah Gilboe Kirkestuen and Juni Ruud Bunkholdt have developed Modus, a modular tabletop for offices that can be assembled in various ways to fit different work needs.

The Modus consists of seven pieces that can be put together in numerous configurations to form desks, library tables, conference tables and other types of work surfaces.

Modus by Bunkholdt and Kirkestuen
The Modus is made up of seven modules which can be put together in different configurations

Modus was designed by Kirkestuen and Bunkholdt, who are studying at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design, in collaboration with Norwegian furniture company Fora Form.

The system uses wooden modules crafted into different playful shapes.

Some of these are smooth to provide a surface for writing or a laptop, while a grooved piece is intended to guide cables neatly and make the product stand out as a decorative item in its own right.

Grooves in wood
Grooves are intended to make the product more visually appealing while guiding cables

Compact modules, which can be used as coasters or as a base for smaller items, fit into the grooved piece.

Other elements include plug sockets hidden by a wooden disc and added cushioning for the edge of the surface to support the user's wrists.

Wooden modular work surface
The designers say the design is more environmentally friendly 

"This project shows a new, unique and playful way of rethinking tabletops, less monotone, more dynamic," said Kirkestuen and Bunkholdt.

"It is a carefully designed tabletop system for office spaces that adapts to various contexts and users. The individual pieces are of different textures, materials and shapes that combine to form unique tables unlike any other."

The design for the Modus is based on children's building block toys, the designers added. Its modularity means that new pieces can be added as work-needs change and broken parts can be replaced individually.

The designers claim this reduces the table's environmental impact in comparison with traditional office furniture.

Cushioned edge of desk
A cushioned edge provides wrist support for writing, drawing and typing

Because the Modus is customisable, they argue it can be assembled to fit any working space and suit people with disabilities or particular needs.

The Modus is shortlisted in the workplace design category at Dezeen Awards 2021 alongside a pen that is a modern take on 1920s design and a compact armchair.

The photography is by Hannah Kirkestuen.