Outline Tray is a minimalist design created by Tokyo-based firm Nendo. The design is a playful reinterpretation of conventional trays by completely removing the bottom surface. The designers realized that whenever they picked up pens or paperclips from a tray, they would never have to pick up and walk around with the tray itself.
The removal of the “excessive” bottom portion essentially converts the tray into a desk frame. The frames can then be organized on any flat surface as one would arrange art on a wall. In addition to the reduction of material used for manufacturing, it is easier to clean the inside corners and becomes visually lighter as well.
When the trays are not in use, the two smaller pieces can be stacked within the larger tray for easier storage. Certain items, such as thumbtacks, are easier to retrieve without the frame, in which case a user can easily remove the frame to access the thumbtacks without harming their fingers.