Meet Alba: Our modular bedside table
More than 10,000 options to choose from.
The idea began with wanting to create something completely different, and at home the perfect opportunity was already waiting: bedside tables. Bedside tables are usually standard looking and share very similar characteristics. They are either round or square, with 2-3 drawers, long or short legs, amongst other traits that make the product fall into somewhat of a boring, traditional piece. There was a huge possibility of creating an innovative product that would break with all the norms of the category.
“We started getting inspired and sketching out ideas of how the product could look like. This was the part we enjoyed the most,” designer Daniel García shares. “The whole sketching process is always very interesting since there are a whole lot of different possibilities of where you can take the product to be.” At the beginning, ideas shifted from tables with legs to tables without legs, hanging or standing, with traditional storage, hidden storage, etc. This is when Woodendot designers realized that they could create a modular system in which users could design their products to their own liking. “Our whole design process shifted at this point. We were no longer looking to create a unitary product but a modular system.”
“We realized that by superimposing panels, we could create something outstandingly different, simple, functional and minimalist, patterns that all Wooden products shared. This was our big lightbulb-over-the-head moment,” Daniel continues. “It was impressive how with only 3 elements we could create a whole bedside table system.” At this moment, the direction changed into trying to figure out which shapes the panels would have. From one idea, a thousand others popped up.
“You’re constantly opening and closing the fan of possibilities, taking out ideas and creating new ones that open up even more possibilities.” It was finally decided that there would be a back panel, a shelf and two types of frontal panels in the shapes of the sun and moon. This is where the naming for the product came about, Alba meaning “dawn or dusk” in Spanish. Due to the fact that the shapes of the panels look like a background (the back panel), water (the shelf) and the sun or the moon being reflected on the water (the front panel), it was a name that applied perfectly to how the whole product assembled and looked seen from up front.
The type of modular design that Alba had had even much more to it than the ability to just function as a bedside table, if its proportions were changed a little, it could also work as a shelf that could apply to any type of wall. This is where the Alba M size originated.
“There were a couple of challenges in the making of the Alba you have come to know. One of our greatest was figuring out how to hold together the three panels while hiding the pieces that kept them together,” Daniel tells us. “We had to design pieces that could be concealed but gave the table enough strength and this is where out super resistant lacquered steel plate comes in play.” Another challenge was the fact that the whole system had to be able to work both, facing right as well as facing left, since clients had to be able to set it up however they wanted. “Our solution was making sure that both faces of the panel were exactly the same, with the same finish and quality so that it would work if placed in any direction.”
What makes Alba stand out among other products is the fact that its shape is completely different from every other standard bedside table in the market. It’s hidden compartments functionality in between panels also adds a differentiating factor to it. The smaller front panel works better for hiding everyday objects like the cellphone when charging, which works perfectly because of the little hole added to Alba specifically for cables.
Talking a little bit about the crafting process, Daniel shares that it always begins with prototypes. “We began with 5 different prototypes, each one with their own evolutions. First, we work them in paper and then we delve into the process of prototyping with MDF wood. During this process, we realized that the slots where the pieces would slide needed to be extremely exact. They couldn’t be tight enough that the other pieces wouldn’t slide and not loose enough that the pieces wouldn’t hold together. They had to fit perfectly.”
Albas are produced in series, cut precisely and later taken to the workshop to paint. Its metal pieces are ordered already finished to perfectly go with the product. When an order arrives, the pieces selected by the customer are picked and shipped together in a flat box that includes the 3 different panels, screws and the manual. You get to decide how you want to set it up, considering there are some Alba combinations that have up to 8 different sets up possibilities.
Taking into account that it has only been a few months since its release, Alba has had a more than positive reception. Many upcoming design projects have already selected Alba as an essential part of their interiors and sells have been positive on our website. Equally, the media has had its fair talk about the products, with articles appearing in Elle Decor Magazine or Design Boom, expositions like Producto Fresco in Madrid and DesignerBox in Paris, and prizes like Iconic Design Award 2019 and honorable mention in the 2018 IDAs.
Daniel García has two albas at home, an oak Oval, gray shelf and a blue moon front panel that combines perfectly with the floor at home and other elements around the bedroom. “We have every product we design at home,” he finished.