Designer Xiang Guan redesigned the packaging for IKEA’s Hilver table to serve more of a purpose than packaging. With a pattern printed on it serving as a folding guide, the packaging for IKEA’s table turns into a stool that you can use with said table.
“Around 30.5 million tonnes of household waste are generated in the United Kingdom every year. With this in mind, FOLD is a packaging designed for IKEA’s “HILVER” table that encourages upcycling”, said Guan, who secured a Red Dot Award and Core77 Award for his innovative solution. Unlike most upcycled furniture, the Fold stool comes with a faceted design that looks good in most homes, and the print on it breaks the monotony of the brown cardboard color. The stool uses the corrugated board that comprised the packaging, with just an extra rubber band to hold it in place, making it not only convenient to assemble, but also easy to disassemble and recycle after it finishes serving its purpose.
Designer: Xiang Guan
With its first Indian store launching only a day ago, IKEA proved that it understands its consumers and environment better than any other company in its industry.
Allegedly, IKEA has been planning to open its flagship store in India for years now (I remember getting wind of it as long as 5 years ago). Now that the store is finally up and running, there’s one thing worth noticing and appreciating. In every country that IKEA runs its business, the catalog stays true to the company’s signature low-cost, DIY business model, but differs distinctly in terms of flavor. IKEA invests a lot of time, energy, and money, in understanding the country’s climate, its users, their mindsets, cultural quirks, and socio-economic background. Using that data, IKEA subtly redesigns their products to serve their users better, often pandering to their sense of style, budget, and even taking care of climatic requirements to ensure their products last longer than intended.
An article by Fast Company talks about how IKEA prioritizes user needs more than anything else, successfully differentiating between an American consumer, an Indian consumer, and a Japanese one, based on a variety of factors. With India, for instance, IKEA does away with the pine-wood construction it uses in more cooler climates (like in European countries). Pine cannot withstand the heat and humidity of India’s tropical climate, and IKEA’s furniture had to be tweaked to use a wood more durable for India. In a country as dusty as India, houses are cleaned every day with water. The furniture in the Indian catalog come with their own rubber risers so that the wood doesn’t come in contact with water. Kitchen counters are also redesigned keeping in mind the shorter frame of the Indian woman, be it the woman/wife of the house or the hired help. To accommodate for India’s small houses, burgeoning population, and the resulting cramped lifestyle, IKEA introduced a larger range of collapsible, stackable, and foldable furniture that can easily be stowed away when not in use. This furniture also serves its purpose when guests gather at your place for social occasions. IKEA also is reportedly using solar-powered rickshaws (an icon of public transportation in India) to deliver their products to the doors of consumers, therefore embracing the culture while forwarding the brand.
The Ekedalen table can be extended to accommodate more people
The fleet of solar-powered rickshaws that will deliver items to the 6.8 million residents of Hyderabad
Similarly, for the Chinese market, IKEA showcased an entire section on balconies, an important part in Chinese homes. Showrooms in southern China showcased balconies with clothes-hanging apparatuses, while showrooms in northern China used balconies as areas for food storage, therefore highlighting the importance of cultural relevance while moving from country to country and region to region. As far as beds are concerned, IKEA’s a perfect example of understanding the socio-cultural implications of the countries implications of the countries it’s in. Korean beds are smaller, for small homes. American beds are showcased in king and queen sizes, while the rest of the world uses centimeters as a measuring format, and for its Indian market, IKEA showcased a bedroom with a smaller bed for youngsters because parents and children usually share a bedroom in middle-class Indian homes. In the kitchen, IKEA stocks far more rice cookers and chopsticks in its Asian markets, while the Indian kitchen showrooms don’t include knives as a part of the cutlery set since Indians usually use spoons at the table when they’re not using their hands to consume food. A rather bewildering spike in flower-vase sales in America had top executives confused until they realized that Americans were using them to drink out of, since the Swedish drinking glasses were too small for America’s ‘grande’ and ‘venti’ way of living. In every aspect of lifestyle, IKEA’s research has resulted in much more relevant products. Even their food-courts have food that’s much more in tune with the country’s culture and tastes.
IKEA’s food is culturally relevant. Asian cuisines feature rice as a staple, while Middle Eastern IKEA branches serve Halal meats
What’s ingenious on IKEA’s part is that while they beautifully absorb some of the country’s cultures into their catalog, they still manage to forward their brand. IKEA’s catalogs change from country to country, continent to continent, but the store almost always looks the same. A large blue warehouse with the big, bold, yellow and blue logo on the outside is almost an icon of IKEA and is pretty much synonymous with “good furniture beyond this point”, no matter where you are. It also sticks to its universal style of nomenclature, using Swedish names for its products, and inevitably creating a beautiful fusion between what IKEA originally started out as, and the country in which it’s located… a fusion of global and local.
It’s rare to see a company so invested in user research, especially in the fashion/lifestyle/decor industry. Surrounded by competitors that spend time designing products with a one-shoe-fits-all business model, it’s refreshing that a company like IKEA spends so much time, effort, and money in ‘getting it right’. Explains why it remains such an undefeatable force in the furniture and home decor industry!
Source: Fast Company
Developed after research carried out by IKEA and NASA’s Mars Desert Research Station, the Rumtid is perhaps IKEA’s most ambitious project yet, to design inspired by extreme scenarios and the fragility associated with it, and designed for frugal living.
The Rumtid collection comprises four different product ranges that explore different issues: time, space, water and air, and is based on research carried out by the two teams to “explore the future needs of urban, small space living”.
The collections debuted at Democratic Design Days showcase things like a small, redesigned air purifier, a rather futuristic looking terrarium pod, innovative lighting solutions, and a modular, block-based furniture system that allows you to build furniture from scratch to suit your needs and requirements, resulting in not only a product that is tailor-made to your scenario and needs, but also efficient utilization and recycling of material because furniture parts can be interchanged, and furniture itself can be pulled apart and put together to form something new. “By cutting the tubes into different lengths and clamping them together we can build just about anything, be it sofas, wardrobes, beds, or something else completely,” added creative Michael Nikolic, who led a group of seven designers for the project.
The entire collection should debut by 2020 across all IKEA stores.
Designers: IKEA and NASA
People seem to have a lot of trouble assembling IKEA furniture, which I never quite understood. But whether or not you manage complete its construction, you can always try to turn it into something else. Like turning it into an R/C plane and just flying it away into the wild blue yonder. That’s what the guys at YouTube’s FliteTest recently did.
They wanted to get one of IKEA’s cheap Jokkmokk wooden chairs airborne and they succeeded. Incredibly, it took FliteTest builder Stefan only six hours to make the chair air-worthy. This is more impressive than it sounds, because building an R/C plane that actually flies isn’t easy. Even building one from a kit can be pretty tough.
You can check out the Chairplane’s build and maiden voyage in the video below. If you want to skip the build details, takeoff starts at 7:13. Not only does this thing fly, but it flies well.
These guys are like the modern day Wright brothers since no one has ever used a wooden IKEA chair as an airframe before. They made history. The only upgrade it might need now is a stronger motor so the pilot can sit on the chair during flight. That would be pretty awesome.
Maybe IKEA can start making R/C plane kits like this to sell in their stores, so people can complain they can’t build them either.
You already know how things go when you and a friend try to build IKEA furniture. Now you can see how two robots do it. Watch as two ‘off the shelf’ industrial robotic arms put together a Stephan chair. These robots look like they are doing a great job, with no instruction manual in sight.
So, are robots better at assembling IKEA furniture than you are? Apparently, they are. From planning to execution, it only took 20 minutes, with the actual construction taking only 8 minutes, 55 seconds. They did give the robots some basic instructions in code, telling them that this piece goes first into this other piece, etc.
Then they put the pieces in front of the robots in a random order. They had a hard time with the position of some of the pieces, but it didn’t take them long to figure things out. I guess it won’t be long until IKEA pimps out robots to build the furniture for you after you buy it – for a small fee, of course.
Some humans seem to have a hard time with IKEA furniture, but I’ve never had much of a problem putting this stuff together myself. Maybe I’m part robot.