Kembo exam table | Alfred van Elk industrial design
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About This Project

Kembo exam table


Functional, user-friendly mobile folding table.

For client Kembo a functional and user-friendly exam table system was developed. The challenge was to design something that was ultra light and that can be put to use swiftly.


Alfred van Elk: ‘The University Leiden was in need of a large amount of mobile exam tables. The existing tables had many defects. Market research taught them that there were no appropriate tables that answered to their needs. Many folding tables and accompanying trolleys for transport are ugly, loveless objects. So the challenge was to design something new that looks good: something that is ultra light and that can be put to use very swiftly.

The first step was to look for a commercial partner. Kembo is such a company which has a good reputation for project furniture. And Kembo was interested in taking on the production. The second step in the development of the exam table and its transport trolley was establishing a close collaboration with the user: University of Leiden’s Sports Centre. This provided insight in the context in which the tables would be used, which has contributed to the high level of functionality and user-friendliness of the design.

The design comprises a table top, combined with cast elements and a tube frame as base. This offers a lot of flexibility. Using the same elements, different sized furniture can be constructed. This allows you, for instance, to also put together longer folding tables. The product complies with all guidelines and NEN requirements. The folding mechanism is integrated in the aluminium profiles, which ensures the table is very flat when folded, taking up a minimal amount of space when stored. The transport trolley can carry a large amount of them at the same time. And it works brilliantly. The level of user-friendliness if very high: it is easy to move the tables using the transport trolley. You can roll up with a large set of tables and put them down ready for use in one flowing movement. The design is compact, lightweight, quick to fold and unfold, quiet when handled, and stable. However, functionality was not the only aim. The way it looks is important too, and is a translation of complex demands into a simple structure.

This product will last long. It is very flexible. It would be great if other parties would discover it too. The design is convincing as a functional and user-friendly mobile folding table.’




Alfred van Elk
Mars Holwerda




Eric de Vries


GIO Award
Good Industrial Design
I.D. Annual Design Award
 New York
Honorable Mention Award

Alfred van Elk