Design Revamp: Wiki Booth

We caught up with Wiki Booth designer, Lynton Pepper, to talk through the origins, inspiration and latest design improvements to this co-working gem.

The Wiki Booth was originally made for the open-plan space at Hub Westminster to provide members with a quiet and private space to work or make calls. It’s ideal for a solo working session with its acoustically designed structure, micro-desk for laptops or notepads, and cable management that allows electronics to be charged while in use.

The original Wikibooth design, since improved

After close observation of peoples’ behaviours and habits in a co-working environment, it became clear that whilst a background hum of discussions helped create a permissive atmosphere that enabled people to talk without feeling like they have broken a silence, people who used Skype or video chat would typically end up talking incredibly loudly.

“The booths were originally designed to face windows to provide very nice lighting on your face, but also to provide a flat surface for the sound of your voice to bounce off of, making you realise how loudly you were speaking!” said Lynton.

The Wikibooth on display at London Design Festival

The latest Wiki Booth design has been reengineered to be single sided and much easier for makers to assemble.

Details have also been removed from the outside for a cleaner external facade, with all pockets now on the inside of the Wiki Booth.

Local Making: Opendesk x Alban Bags

When we shot the Wiki Booth earlier this year we followed our usual process of sourcing relevant and interesting props from like-minded brands. That’s when we came across Alban bike bags: We caught up with founder, Alan Solomon, to talk through how he got started, his local making focus and the importance of beautifully crafted goods!

How did you get started with Alban?

I was starting to distribute lifestyle cycle and accessory brands back in 2010 and thought I could make a range of bags for an emerging cycle-style audience. So began the journey to create Alban!

Local manufacturing is something close to both of us! Tell us a bit about your manufacturing process?

All the bags are hand made in London and the single-minded focus is on using high quality materials. Veg tanned bridle leathers and 100% cotton canvases are the two main materials I use across all the styles. Alban’s ethos is to create minimalist, modern British, quality bags using traditional materials, but bags with modern performance and functionality. There’s no unnecessary frippery or embellishments - all the bags are intentionally pared back in their design.

The riveting, polishing and painting leather edges, embossing are all done by hand. There’s no automated rivet machines, computerised box stitching or automatic binding machines. It’ll take 6 people to make 1 Alban bag - leatherworkers, cutters, sewers, seamstresses. As an example, the leather logo alone requires to be cut, skived, drilled, embossed, polished, painted and riveted and each hook on the pannier bags are cut from flat stainless steel, bent and coated. Each process performed by a different specialist workshop. There’s a lot of skill, craftsmanship, processes and graft that goes into making each bag. But it’s massively satisfying turning raw materials into a finished product.

How do you approach designing your bike bags?

Alban’s design ethos is all about simplicity and minimalism - classic styles, practical colourways, with a modern British touch. Bags that are designed to work as well, and look as good, on and off bikes.

Listening to customers can help gain insights into enhancing functionality and introducing new styles. Alban is a pretty approachable brand and I do get asked to tweak this, adjust that, add certain features or ideas for new styles. Not only do the bags have to have the right aesthetic, silhouette and proportions, all the bags have to fit in with the Alban family, Each bag must have a reason to exist and also has to be designed to technically perform. So Alban design is very much about marrying form and function. Style and substance.

From idea, it’s then sketching out the design, making patterns, prototyping, sampling and testing. I’ve also started asking customers to road test new styles. Customer objectivity and reality will put design aspirations into context.

Have you got anything exciting coming up?

Yes! There’s a new bag due to launch pre Christmas and a couple of new and exciting styles for early Spring ‘18. Also a brand collaboration on the cards which could be very exciting.

Want the Wikibooth in your workplace? Request a quote from local makers today on Opendesk.

Designs in this article