The SPLATT Table is a 2023 London Design Award Winner!
The SPLATT TABLE
We are a small, interdisciplinary group of students and faculty from Washington State University who have designed and developed the SPLATT Table – a collaboration table that facilitates process-oriented group learning on multiple scales simultaneously. Having no head of table subverts traditional hierarchical dynamics and creates an equitable space for all users. We are seeking an industry partner to help us market, manufacture, and distribute the table.
Through the construction of 5 full-scale prototypes and a series of controlled focus groups we have created a system of pockets and petals that allows users to customize their position and involvement at the table.
Because users can choose to be closer to the center in the pockets or to occupy the outer seats at petals, the SPLATT Table offers new modes of interaction.
The radial 5-petal arrangement invites collaborative interactions as a group of 10 or a series of smaller groups concurrently.
The table facilitates safe social distancing at half capacity.
The leg arrangement makes the table ADA accessible and allows users visual access to every single person at the table simply by rotating in their chair.
Every user has space for a laptop and accessories, plus central space that can be used in a variety of ways.
The Table has won a SIT Furniture Design Award and an ADC Merit Award. We continue to expand the visibility of the table and are excited to press forward with marketing it.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.