Baines&Fricker were recently commissioned by consultancy firm Fieldwork to design and produce a portable research lab. Made from plywood, the portable research lab is lightweight and comes in a custom-built flightcase with rollers on one side for easy transportation. The innovative design features many creative, space-saving ideas. The flightcase doubles as a base for the lab when stood on one side and the lab’s front panel can be pulled forward to create a desk.

“The design process started with me sending some rough notes to Baines&Fricker along with some examples of field desks I’d found online. They sent sketches back which were pretty close to how I envisaged the lab to look. They built an early prototype for us to play with, which was great because I could actually sit and work at it and work out what features were really important. A few weeks later they had built the version you see in the photographs, which was delivered in a custom built flight case to make shipping it easier.” Curtis James – Fieldwork Founder.

The fieldwork starts when the portable research lab is sent ahead to the client’s office in it’s custom built flightcase which doubles as a stand. Researchers use it as a base to do their ethnographic fieldwork and store their research instruments. It’s a focal point for the work and adds that important element of detachment that’s needed in ethnographic research.

“Fieldwork do ethnographic research into working life, which entails making visible the ordinary and extraordinary things that might go unnoticed in day to day office life. Fieldwork use Ethnography to hold up a lens to the way people live and work. They do this to shed new light on old habits, cultural things that have become ingrained and no longer serve their clients, things that are invisible because people pass them everyday, and things that are automatic.” Curtis James – Fieldwork Founder.

Portable Research Lab
Commissioned by: Fieldwork
Design: Baines&Fricker
Materials: Ply
Dimensions (mm): (w)79 x (d)34 x (h)53