Client Story

Custom Plywood Lockers for Startup Office Fitout

The Bold Collective came to us looking to create free-standing plywood lockers for Safety Culture’s new Surry Hills office. The team at SoWatt proved to be the perfect match.

Sophie and the team at SoWatt Studios prepared this post (originally published here) and we’ve decided to share it as another great case study in working with independent makers to co-design and create beautiful custom office furniture and fitouts.

The Challange

We were right at home making custom lockers in our favourite Plywood, but the challenge this time was the quantity and the timeline.

The Bold Collective were looking for someone local to make multiple banks of free-standing plywood lockers, similar to the design on open-source website OpenDesk. We put our hands up for the job (by responding to the call out with our quote) while also discussing with The Bold Collective what changes we were needed to differ from the original design.

The catch was we only had three weeks after the final sign off of our manufacture drawings by the client, to make 9 banks of custom lockers and have them installed on site in Safety Cultures newly renovated multi-storey office.

The Process

This project was price-driven. The client, an exciting start-up called Safety Culture, were moving into a new multi-storey space with every floor requiring a full makeover.

We looked at the project as a whole, making recommendations for tweaks to some of the dimensions the number of sheets of ply required for the plywood lockers was reduced. We also went with a thinner ply for the backing panels as its in-set design meant the thickness wasn’t visible.

Lastly, we were able to assemble the units a lot faster by using a slot together style for the internal structure of the lockers, which then slid into the outer housing.

Other changes to the original design were in the plinth base and use of existing hinge mechanisms rather than relying on the plywood knobs on the edges of the doors to swing inside pocket cutouts.

What We Learnt

We really honed our communication skills on this project.

Every step of the way was clearly documented and shared with The Bold Collective, the project manager on the fitout and the client. Our CAD drawings we kept clear and easy to read for everyone involved and our workshop was open to anyone to come and see the progress at any stage.

We created a beautiful handover document for the client to refer to so they could keep their plywood lockers looking brand new for decades to come. In the end, the lockers were delivered to the site weeks before the deadline and Safety Culture reached out to thank us personally. I don’t think we could fault this project! It has now become our example when training new staff.

By Sophie at SoWatt Studio

To get in touch with the team at SoWatt and to see more of their work, view their Handkrafted portfolio at

About Handkrafted:

Handkrafted is a community marketplace connecting people with passionate makers to commission custom goods. We have brought together hundreds of Australian independent, bespoke craftspeople and artisans who specialise in producing high quality, sustainably made pieces.

Our makers can help you realise your own idea or collaborate with you on a new design. Many also feature a range of original designs that can be made to order or customised to suit your specific needs. Whichever option you choose, we’re here to help make it happen. Support local makers and kick-start your own project today.  

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