In Review: Wilkhahn’s Timetable Lift

Furniture has certainly become a lot smarter. Today, we can work from anywhere, as long as we have our mobile phones and portable devices. So it stands to reason that we expect our workspace furniture to share a similar level of mobility. Leading German manufacturer Wilkhahn has been taking notes, and have designed a table that addresses the demands of the new agile workforce. Their latest product, the Timetable Lift, is a culmination of that research and a combination of true German design and engineering.

The Review Crew

Above from Left: Pierre Le Bourdonnec, Sales Manager at Wilkhahn Middle East, Adnan Al Habbal, Sales Manager at Wilkhahn Middle East, Adil Amin, Head of Interior Design at Bluehaus Group, Carol Finnie, Regional Director at JPA Design

The Timetable Lift incorporates several aspects of the key modern work tools – mobility, flexibility, and multi-functionality. Clearly not limiting itself to being a single use product, the Timetable Lift offers several features and functions that serve a collaborative environment, from hot desking to whiteboard facilities. 

To review this impressive product, we invited Adil Amin from Bluehaus, and Carol Finnie from JPA Design, to Wilkhahn’s showroom in Dubai Design District. We were joined by Pierre Le Bourdonnec and Adnan Al Habbal, Sales Managers at Wilkhahn Middle East, who introduced us to the many facets of this breakthrough piece of design. 

Beauty With Brains

Designed by Andreas Störiko, who is also known for designing the popular Confair and Aline lines, the Timetable Lift has been developed to serve as a modular and functional addition to any working space. Judging from appearances, you may be forgiven for assuming it to be just a conference table, because it is so much more. 

The Lift part of the Timetable is a straightforward indication of its height adjustability, which in itself is a useful feature. But how many height adjustable tables have you come across that are battery operated? This is a major USP of the product, one that lends itself well to the modular nature of collaborative spaces. The battery pack mechanism is tidily tucked away underneath the table top, and does not obstruct even in the vertical, whiteboard position against a wall. “Being a German company, we’re constantly pushing the boundaries of engineering and design. If we had to have a battery pack, we made sure that it was positioned neatly in the product,” says Adnan.

In case you’re wondering, the battery pack needs to be charged only once in 3 days, assuming a day constitutes a nine hour work shift. An LED indicator and sound notification indicates when it’s time to recharge. But if that isn’t enough to calm your low battery anxiety, Wilkhahn also have a traditional version with a wire and plug that would need to be physically connected. It’s cost-effective, but takes away the table’s major utility. 

Its usefulness is further extended if you choose to upgrade it with a special shiny, white laminate, converting it into a whiteboard – a small price to pay for a whole lot of functionality. The tabletop can be flipped to become a whiteboard, which can then be used as a drawing space for those quick brainstorming sessions. Oh, and it doesn’t end there. When flipped up into a vertical position, it can serve as a whiteboard too, with the option of having a magnetic surface. In short, with this table, you have a swiss-army knife of sorts! 

Adil: To be honest, I didn’t know how much to expect from a table, and was waiting to see what the hype was about. I am impressed, to say the least. It’s simple, yet does so much; in a way, it is a humble piece of furniture. Also, it’s easy to use and the mobility is smooth. I love the ‘flip to whiteboard’ feature. If I were to wish for anything, it would be the ability to tilt the table at an angle and lock it in place, to turn it into a slanted drawing board. This would be incredibly appealing for people with architectural backgrounds, like myself. 

Carol: I can definitely see different people using the Timetable Lift in different ways. It can be a serious as well as a fun piece of furniture, and it’s great for use at different heights. If you could lock it in at multiple angles and heights, we would find a lot more use for it than what it can already offer.

The process is simple and intuitive, the pivoting mechanism is initiated by a horizontal pull rod. In both horizontal and vertical positions, the rod is engaged.

“It doesn’t need to standalone,” says Adnan. “After all, It belongs in a team environment.” He is referring to the option of using the Timetable Lift as a workstation, and clubbing it together with other similar units. “If you’re creative, you can find multiple uses for it.”

Carol: Functionality is important, but a product needs to look good as well. I wouldn’t call it fancy, but it’s got an honest design to it. I would, however, love to have more choices of finishes. 

Adil: It’s like a two birds, one stone kind of solution. You want people standing, but you also want to be able to move the tables around if you need them. Very impressive!

Carol: Imagine the excitement of having a height adjustable table, which you can roll into another room, and then flip over to become a whiteboard that you can write and stick things on. That’s cool. And I’m sure clients will love it too.

Functional Yet Sophisticated Design

The flip-top tables nest perfectly into each, and can easily be stowed away when not in use. The Timetable Lift is designed to nurture movement throughout a space, and can be used in any type of setting. A space can be converted from a collaborative one to a meeting room in a matter of minutes.

The table is available in two laminate and two veneer groups, that include the whiteboard finish as well. The foot section that stands out so well comes in a bright chrome or polished aluminium finish, which can be coated in black or matte silver satin. Another fun component is the edge shape and colours that add those sleek final touches to the product.

The Timetable Lift comes with a standard five year warranty, although the team at Wilkhahn swears that it can withstand a good 15 years of intense usage. “We’re always listening to clients for feedback,” says Adnan, “and then we relay it back to the team in Germany. They continue to make improvements, which you get to witness in the next version.”

Adil: It’s great that the surface isn’t glossy, as that can be bothersome. It would help to have a clean finish for the back of the table top. If you consider it being used in the center of a space, it would make sense to have the back looking nice too, or have functionality as well. Plus I’d definitely want to see more sizes available so we can spec it on larger projects.

Carol: I can definitely see different people using the Timetable Lift in different ways. It can be a serious as well as a fun piece of furniture, and it’s great for use at different heights. If you could lock it in at multiple angles and heights, we would find a lot more use for it than what it can already offer.

Final Thoughts

It’s truly impressive how Wilkhahn has added multiple dimensions of use to the humble desk. The price appears high is you consider it as a desk, yes, but taking into account the range of use you get with one product, you can actually avoid having to buy separate items for say, meeting rooms and collaboration. The multipurpose nature of the Timetable Lift will go a long way towards ensuring that you get your ROI from the workspace, given the speed at which you can scale up your office if needed. 

Depending on how you use your workspace, the Timetable Lift can prove to be a very smart investment.

Adil: It has got the features and finishes that will help it fit in any work environment. Who would have thought that desking would start replacing whiteboards? It’s versatile and complements the space well. And it’s easy to use too. If I had to add one piece of constructive criticism, I’d say watch out for the edges. Because it will be moved around so much, you might want to consider protecting the edges and corners with something like rubber. 

Carol: It’s such a well designed product! It’s portability, flexibility, and sturdiness means it can even be used to create pop-up offices in disaster areas if needed. The fact that you can switch between room functions using the same product in a different setting is amazing! If you think about large firms, this is just what they need. It reduces inventory and increases ROI. And you can even transport it to other locations if needed! Wilkhahn seems to be taking customer feedback well, with each new product line and their iterations showing significant improvement. I’m looking forward to what comes next…

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