Luca Williams with cool box

Cool box transforms into dining table to make picnicking even more social

A cool box which transforms into a dining table has been created by a Nottingham Trent University student to give picnickers a social hub and to improve food hygiene.

Luca Williams, 23, says the ‘Komatik’ will give people a portable surface on which to enjoy their food and drinks while also raising prep and eating surfaces off the ground, away from insects and dirt.

The product design undergraduate will see his prototype go on public display for the 2022 Nottingham Trent University art and design Student Showcase.

Luca, originally from Guildford in Surrey, said:

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic there’s been a huge increase in the number of people enjoying the outdoors after being confined to their homes for so long.

“So I wanted to design something which made the outdoor and picnicking experience more comfortable and thought how valuable it would be to raise the picnic off the ground for ease of food prep, eating and even games.

“By making it a social space which everyone can eat and drink around, it’s going to bring people together and act as a social hub while doubling-up as a cool box.

“It’s great for weekend day trips and it has so much utility, as you can also use it as a stool to sit on or as a drinks table next to a camping chair.”

Luca’s design – mostly made from recycled polyethylene and with two inches of polyurethane foam insulation – invites people to sit or kneel on the floor while dining.

It has three eating surfaces which are made from cork to provide grip for cutlery, as well as  a hard wearing bamboo chopping board, which can also be used as a serving platter.

Two of the surfaces open from the sides like wings and one is supported by telescopic arms which stow away inside the cooler. These arms also double-up as a handle for pulling the cool box along and are fitted with bottle openers on each end.

Closing the lids to the cool box completes the dining table and provides a surface on which to place food and drinks in the middle, perhaps for sharing.

Inside the cool box are two compartments which can hold a combined 39 litres, and two drain plugs allow any excess condensation to be drained.

Standing at 47 centimetres high, the cool box fits into the average car boot and recesses in the lid are available for it to be strapped down if required.

Two large wheels are fitted to the base which are wide enough for it to be pulled over sand or grass, while foam grips on the handle are sweat resistant.

Luca’s design will be on display for the 2022 Student Showcase from 28 May to 1 June at the University’s Newton building, city campus.

Dr Joseph Stewart, Senior Lecturer in BSc Product Design in the university’s School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment, said:

“Luca has shown how simple design thinking can allow an everyday item like a cool box to be used in a multifunctional way.

“Nothing beats having a picnic on a sunny day and Luca has shown how this wonderful experience can be made even better by giving people a social hub which they can gather around.”

Posted on 01 June 2022

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Jack Woolley