There’s a whole lot more to IKEA than flat-packed furniture and delicious meatballs. The Swedish brand has ambitions like you wouldn’t believe.
Each year, IKEA hosts “Democratic Design Days,” opening its doors to the media and outlining plans for the coming years. Man of Many travelled to Almhult, Sweden to visit IKEA HQ for a tour and the big Design Days press conference. This year IKEA is all about collaborations and sustainability. Here are the ones we are excited for even if the details are scarce.
IKEA x LEGO
IKEA is collaborating with LEGO – the legendary brand that proves you’re never too old for building blocks. IKEA wants to support the idea ‘children are our future’ by encouraging their creativity and development. Working closely with LEGO, the plan is to “enable more playful experiences at home.” So how exactly is IKEA making LEGO even more playful? We couldn’t tell you. This early on in the partnership we’re not convinced LEGO knows either. Expect more details of this collaboration come Democratic Design Days 2019. We believe it will be worth the wait.
IKEA x UNYQ x Area Academy
This collaboration will see IKEA launch affordable, ergonomic furniture for gamers and eSports athletes. Area Academy is a company that facilitates and trains younger people in eSports. When it comes to gaming, these guys are the experts. UNYQ designs personalised, affordable prosthetics, and aims to democratise the prosthetics industry.
Working closely together, the 3 brands are launching an ergonomic gaming chair/stool personalised for each user. IKEA will launch in-store body scanners that analyse your biometric data, then 3D print a cushion for your body. Your biometric data will also be accessible via the IKEA app so you can 3D print cushions for stacks of other IKEA products.
With 2 billion gamers across the globe, there’s a huge market to be tapped. The potential goes beyond gaming as the technology could also benefit anyone who works from behind a desk.
IKEA x Saint Heron
Saint Heron was founded by Solange Knowles and is a multidisciplinary cultural hub with a focus on “building the community that we wish to see exist through music, visual art, and performance art mediums.” The collaboration with IKEA explores architectural and interior design objects with multifunctional use – so designing multimedia installations for the home.
Blending art, architecture and music are typically reserved for an art gallery or installation. It will be interesting to see how IKEA and Saint Heron adapt these concepts to the home. So is Solange personally involved in this collaboration? Probably not. Still, it’s an opportunity to name drop a celebrity when guests compliment your new multimedia installation.
IKEA x Stefan Diez
What will the future office space look like? That’s the question IKEA and industrial designer Stefan Diez are working hard to answer. In 2018, office work is more flexible than ever. IKEA and the award-winning designer will make offices more visually appealing and explore ideas of multimedia walls that can be moved around to change the layout of an office.
Some of IKEA’s ideas were surprisingly outdated, like suggesting physical documents are the solution to digital content and large collaboration spaces as an alternative to solo offices. Whatever the result, we’ll see the first prototypes of this collaboration 3rd quarter, 2018.
IKEA x Little Sun
During the press conference, IKEA stated that more than 1 billion people around the world live without electricity. Through collaboration with social business Little Sun, IKEA want to raise awareness about this issue and explore potential solutions and renewable energy, to make everyday life more sustainable.
Little Sun is best known for its portable, sun-shaped solar lights. IKEA hopes it can create some “really good stuff,” likely something solar powered for people without access to electricity and also portable for campers, hikers and outdoorsmen.
IKEA x adidas
IKEA teams up with adidas to understand what women want and need when it comes to exercising, sleeping and eating well at home. Together the two brands are exploring the connections between living spaces and sport, and how to create healthy habits.
The argument is gyms are expensive and time-consuming. IKEA and adidas aim to develop portable fitness equipment to use in the home, in potentially smaller spaces. This collaboration is by women for women. Just like all of the new collaborations, there’s currently no word on a release date.