Andrea Mestre’s Totem speeds up your morning routine

Kate Brewer | January 26, 2017

Royal College of Art student Andrea Mestre has created a free-standing storage unit to house essentials next to the front door, saving precious time in the mornings.


Do you lose precious minutes every morning looking for your keys? Have a daily 7.30am panic about where your train ticket is? Andrea Mestre has created Totem, an organising system that keeps essentials at hand to save time and reduce stress in the mornings. Standing approximately 180 centimetres high, the spine has a series of holes, set in pairs, from the base to the top, allowing you to add shelves and storage boxes adapting it to your morning routine.


“The concept of Totem was born when I realised I lost so much time in the mornings trying to get ready because I didn’t have an organised system,” Andrea tells Design Geek,  “When I asked people around me, they all seemed to have a similar problem.”

The main structure has been left with a natural plywood finish, while the add-on elements, including a simple round mirror – anyone who has seen Breakfast at Tiffany’s knows how important a mirror on the way out is – are finished in a contrasting monochrome, stained finish.


The brief was to challenge the use of material and reduce wastage, so Andrea took one piece of plywood to create each component of the design, cutting the parts using a CNC (computer numerically controlled) router.


“I wanted to take into consideration the sustainability of the design I was creating,” explains Andrea, “and be mindful of resources and material.”

Creating an organised and personalised system was an important part of Andrea’s design process. Each piece can be positioned at any height, with the add-on storage, just large enough for essentials, all part of streamlining the morning routine to save as much time as possible.


A modern interpretation of flat-pack furniture, the construction lends itself to simple assembly, with small plugs slotting into the spine framework creating a base to add stability – and a low shelf for shoes. Omitting the need for glue or screws creates a completely flexible unit. As well as working next to the front door, it could be equally useful in a bathroom or landing.


The idea that additional elements could be added at a later date further extends the concept into a portable mini wardrobe for business or leisure travel, or for use in a children’s bedroom or as a place to display art.

“I always try to be aware of my surroundings, analyse the context, and the interactions between people and objects.” she explains, “this way I can see things that are missing, problems to solve.”


After completing her Industrial Design Engineering degree in 2015, Andrea is now in the second year of her Master’s Degree at the Royal College of Art studying Design Products. Her aim is continue to create problem-solving products with a thoughtful and sustainable approach. She also writes the blog Hygge Lab which focuses on slow creative living, sustainability and happiness.

Andrea Mestre is one of Look Like Love’s ‘One-to Watch’ designers, find out more about her work here

Further Reading for the Especially Geeky ::

Contributing Writer – Kate Brewer

Interior designer Kate Brewer, established Look Like Love in 2011 as a platform for new designers. She writes a weekly column for confessions of a design geek showcasing the new talent she discovers. She has worked in the industry for 11 years as a retail interior and furniture designer for brands including Mulberry, All Saints and Selfridges. Over the past four years, Look Like Love has established an e-commerce site, and showcased new talent as part of London Design Festival in 2013 and 2014, and opened a week-long pop shop as part of Clerkenwell Design Week in 2015.

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