Special Project: SPLATT Table

Creativity and Collaboration in Action

The SPLATT table project is an excellent example of a Creative Corridor project that inspired creativity and collaboration, resulting in an innovative and unique final product.

Photo: Students work on current prototype.
Fabricating the current prototype

Developed by a team of WSU students, faculty and staff working together in concert on WSU’s Pullman campus, the SPLATT Table was designed to encourage a sense of belonging and eliminate the power hierarchies found at traditional rectangular tables. The petals and pockets of the table’s unique asterisk shape open a user’s view at the table so they can see and interact with everyone as a group, enhancing communication and collaboration.

Graphic: Early digital study model.
Early digital study model

The project has benefited greatly from collaborative partnerships with outside companies and organizations including Formology, Steelcase, 3Form, Watson Furniture, and WSU Fabrication Labs.

The History Behind the Project

In November 2017, the project began with the idea to create a bench, originally named the “Bench of Belonging.” However, in 2018, after a period of brainstorming, the project team decided that a table better facilitated belonging than a bench. The project was renamed “SPLATT”, in recognition of asterisk-shaped design’s resemblance to a liquid splattered on a surface.

Photo: Three students work at fabricating early table prototype.
Early prototype fabrication

The team started to produce a series of iterations of the table after the design was set with the help from WSU fabrication lab. In spring 2018, the team first publicized the project at Annual Murrow Symposium.

Photo: Student gives thumbs up behind CNC Milling and Cutting machine.
CNC milling and cutting

In the fall of 2018, a life-size prototype was produced using with Medium Density Fiberboard. The team began to collect users’ feedback with focus groups, which includes students, faculty, and members of the community from across the Palouse.

Photo: Focus groups sits at prototype table.
Focus group testing

In January 2019, the team was given the opportunity to gain professional insight of design through a teleconference with the employees from the furniture company Steelcase.

The SPLATT project team decided to apply for WSU Commercialization Gap Fund in 2020, so a more stable life-size prototype can be made for future testing. In the end, the team was awarded with the fund to pursue further construction.

Looking to the Future

The team is currently speaking with regional manufacturers about putting the product into their furniture collections and is seeking a third-party to collaborate on production of the table.

The hope is that the SPLATT table design can be commercially produced and widely distributed, promoting communication and collaboration at businesses and organizations around the world.