Made by NextDesk, the Encore is ideally green, with bamboo top, recycled aluminum frame, and VOC-free coating - perfect for this TreeHugger writer!
My introduction to the world of standing desks began last month, when a package arrived on my doorstep. It was a NextDesk Encore, made by a company that already guarantees formaldehyde-free products but wanted to take its green commitment even further with this gorgeous product.
The Encore’s top is made of bamboo, a fast-growing woody plant. Bamboo has been known to grow 39 inches in 24 hours, compared to the 30+ years it takes for a tree to mature. Thinning bamboo, in fact, is beneficial to the plant and up to 20 percent can be safely removed.
The frame is made of recycled aluminum, which eliminates the need for further extraction of virgin material. Recycled aluminum is on par with new in terms of quality. It is finished with a high-tech powder coating that emits zero VOCs and minimizes off-gassing. Up to 98 percent of the powder that doesn’t adhere can be reused, and the air from the coating booth is so clean that it gets reused in the factory.
When I first opened the NextDesk, I felt intimidated by the size and weight of the top and supporting frame. Rather than reverting to my usual habit of calling on my husband for help with assembling anything, I did it all myself. It took me an hour of sorting the various packages of bolts, screws, and bars, but the instructions and illustrations were clear enough that I managed to do it on my own.
The NextDesk is an “Electric Height Adjustable Workstation”, which means it has a motor and digital keypad that allows you to control the height you want. This makes it very easy to transition between standing and sitting—something that TreeHugger Lloyd Alter warned about in his slideshow on 10 standing desks, citing a study in which “people with access to electrically adjustable tables choose to stand at their computers about 20 percent of the day.”
Interestingly, I moved the Encore to sitting position only once over the course of a month. Occasionally I did sit at my old desk, but that was mostly when I wanted to get out of the main room of the house (where the Encore currently stands) and have more privacy in my office, not because I needed a break from standing.
I found that standing keeps me more alert, especially early in the mornings when I do most of my writing. I tend to move more, shifting and swaying from foot to foot. There is a rug in front of the desk where I stand, either in sock feet or Birkenstocks, but I never noticed any pain or fatigue in my legs or feet.
It took me a while to figure out the ideal height, and I still haven’t perfected the height of my MacBook versus the height of my arms, but the Encore definitely encourages better posture than my regular desk. There I frequently catch myself slumped over, which is never a good thing.
The desk is heavy, weighing over 100 lbs. It is solid and sturdy and does not wobble at all when the desk is in standing position, something I worried about initially.
The Encore is beautiful. Everyone who has come into my house over the past month has stopped to comment on the desk. I show them how much fun it is to drive the top up and down, while the little digital screen displays the height in inches. (You can even preset 3 heights.) Nobody can resist running their hands over the smooth bamboo top, and I often find myself caressing it while working. There’s a lot to be said for having an attractive desk, especially if that is your primary workspace.
The Encore is highly customizable. You can select the desktop material (rubberwood or bamboo) and height, frame finish, as well as optional keyboard frame, grommet numbers and locations, integrated sound system, monitor arm, casters, voltage, battery, etc. The sky’s the limit when it comes to creating your dream desk with NextDesk.
Starts around $1,097 USD.
Update: In late 2017 NextDesk rebranded as XDesk.