IKEA lengthens furniture life by providing ‘How To Disassemble’ instructions to attain their sustainability goals!

Everyone is moving these days. Some are moving abroad to live out their dreams of backpacking across Spain, chucking all of their apartment furniture out in the meantime. Or, some are holding yard sales and moving just down the street into the house they’ve had their eyes on for years. Whatever the case may be, people are moving and furniture is hitting the curb. In order to build on their commitment to sustainability, iconic furniture brand IKEA announced that by 2030, they plan to include Disassembly Instructions with each one of their products as means of encouraging buyers to repurpose their IKEA purchases instead of tossing them to the street.

As part of its latest push for sustainability, a reversed instruction manual will be included with each product purchased from IKEA. This push works to help spread the practice of “circular consumption,” which reinforces IKEA’s building practice’s value of quality over quantity, using fewer materials, components, and energy in the manufacturing of products, big or small. Right now, you can find Disassembly Instructions for some of IKEA’s more popular products: BILLY, MALM, POÄNG, BRIMNES, PAX, and LYCKSELE online in PDF format. Speaking to the imminent inclusion of Disassembly Instruction manuals for each of their products, IKEA points out,

“Extending the life of your furniture with our Disassembly Instructions is one of the ways we’re building on our commitment to sustainability. No matter whether you’re moving home, giving your furniture away, or selling it. Taking it apart correctly reduces the risk of damage, and reduces its impact on the environment. Fortune favors the frugal.”

While the plan to equip each piece of furniture with Disassembly Instructions has been recently announced, IKEA has been committed to sustainability for a long time. Through frugal design practices, IKEA manufactures furniture that can stand the test of time. One such practice is IKEA’s line of modular furniture that grows with its users. For example, IKEA’s line of extendable beds uses steel telescopic tubing to allow each bed frame to lengthen and adapt to a child’s growing height. IKEA also developed the fabric coverings for their collection of sofas so that they can handle over 25,000 wash cycles, and with additional coverings made available online, customers can get a new slipcover at any time for a refreshed look. In addition to modular furniture and durable fabrics, IKEA urges customers to give their furniture a second life through their buy-back and resell service. With so many options, it’s fun to be frugal.

Designer: IKEA

Now that you’ve built your desk, IKEA provides disassembly instructions in preparation for your next move or yard sale.

The disassembly instructions are as easy to follow as their assembly counterpart, offering a step-by-step approach to disassembly.

Some of IKEA’s more popular designs such as LYCKSELE already have disassembly instructions available online.

Following a numbered and visual guide, users will easily be able to deconstruct their IKEA furniture.

In order to promote sustainability through every building stage, IKEA uses minimal hardware and materials when designing their furniture, making it simple for buyers to assemble and ultimately disassemble.

In addition to deconstruction instruction manuals, IKEA leads a Buy-Back & Resell program for customers who choose to sell back their used furniture for store credit.

Robotic Prosthetic Knee sweeps the Luminary at the Red Dot Design Award: Design Concept 2020

During one of our Q&A’s, a reader asked our founder, Takashi Yamada, what a design should be according to him. “Innovative”, he said, “It is not about making something bigger, better, stronger, faster, cheaper, etc. than your previous product or service. Innovation is about creating something that makes what you already have obsolete. And that’s why I love concepts so much – they always push the boundaries.” And that same love for concepts echoes through all of Yanko Design.

This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has surged through the world, changing things as we know it. But one thing that could not be dampened was the sense of enthusiasm with which the design community rose up to this new challenge. Red Dot Awards are not just an award, but a seal of quality that helps the designers distinguish their design and gain a spotlight to help their talent shine. Undeterred by COVID, the Red Dot Award ceremony was held online this year, the celebratory moments captured and shared during a two-day award celebration. Let’s jump into the list of the 2020 Red Dot Awards: Design Concept winners with the Red Dot Luminary Award, presented by the Red Dot Juror – Mr. Tanaka Kazuo!

Click Here to See More Award-winning Projects

Announcement of the prestigious Red Dot: Luminary Award 2020

The Robotic Prosthetic Knee by BionicM Inc. (Japan) is the winner of the Red Dot: Luminary 2020 award for their innovative, motor-powered design that helps above-knee amputees restore their physical functions. As Mr. Kazuo Tanaka explains “The Robotic Prosthetic Knee completely changes the concept of prostheses up to now. It is the fusion of body neural information and robot technology. As a result, the user can obtain a natural walking sensation that is completely different from that of a conventional artificial leg. What’s more, its appearance is fashionable and gives the user confidence.”

Robotic Prosthetic Knee by BionicM Inc.

The top accolade winning design serves as an inspiration to designers and takes a huge step towards building a more inclusive world. How do they do that? By merging robotic technology and the human body! The design is very personal for its CEO, Dr. Sun Xiajun since he is a prosthetic user since age 9. While he got his first prosthetic at the age of 15, Dr. Xiajun understands the importance of merging design and engineering to create a product that excels in everyday life. Especially in the prosthetics field, functionality and aesthetics hold equal weightage in making the design feel socially acceptable, helping the user be comfortable in using this design to improve their day-to-day life. The result is a compact, lightweight, and futuristic design that the user is actually proud to show-off instead of hiding it.

Yanko Design curates the team’s favorite designs that are pushing the boundaries for a better tomorrow and it ranges from urban architecture and automotive to smart home appliances and toys!

Deployable Emergency Shelter by Samuel Barratt and Henry Glogau

This design has an intrinsic connection to its environment and stands on the pillars of biomimicry and symbiosis. The concept explores how snow can be used as a natural insulator and protective layer in extremely cold environments through fractional origami skin combined with lightweight lattice structure – think Eskimos but in 2020 with design skills and their traditional knowledge of snow. “We wanted to design a shelter which looks to embrace and utilize these extreme conditions to its advantage, rather than fight against them. Snow became a building material rather than a burden,” said the designers of the Deployable Emergency Shelter.

UN/LIMITED by Chou Kuan-hua

UN/LIMITED explores the requirements of volume and material through a daily backpack because we don’t have Hermoine’s Undetectable Extension Charm to fit everything in our regular bags. It is expandable to accommodate unexpected items and can also be compressed into a more streamlined form to allow for better mobility. Guided by the design philosophy of ‘design by reduction’, it is sealed by heat welding and made of a mono-material, DuPont Hytrel, or similar recyclable thermoplastic elastomers with different levels of hardness and also making it easier to recycle – the objective is to design a product with recyclable plastic that is sustainable, improves with age and has a genuine bond with the user.

TOGOther by Pan Yu-Ting and Wu Ya-Cheng

This is an electric transporter that can be attached to all kinds of wheelchairs giving mobility a dimension of modularity that makes it more adaptable to people and places. Depending on the needs of the disabled, it offers three mobility modes: Independent Mode, Assisted Mode, and Personal Transporter mode. The modern aesthetics and universal design details help move away from the stigma of disability. This challenges our long-standing stereotypes and perceptions of assistive devices. Rooted in the idea of an inclusive mobile society for everyone, TOGOther aims to lighten the load of both the disabled and their caregiver, thereby supporting an aging society.

Ultra-Thin Air Conditioner by Ningbo AUX Electric Co., Ltd.

Tired of the bulky split Air Conditioners or the rattle-y window ACs? This is your solution – a slim, telescopic air-conditioner with an accordion-like panel as a cool air outlet. Ultra-Thin Air Conditioner’s panel expands and contracts to change the angle of the airflow that is exiting. The more the panels expand, the bigger the area of airflow. This accordion design replaces the traditional swing-flap blades of air-conditioners that usually guide the airflow. In a standby state, the space of the air duct is compressed, the panel collapses and closes, hiding the air vents to leave behind an ‘ultra-thin’ form. Sleep, simple, and super ‘cool’.


This automotive design is a first of its kind product that enables divers to reach deeper depths with great speeds by equipping them with the environmental parameters from an integrated LCD screen. The unique built-in GPS positioning system helps users return to their set locations when the propeller goes into in low-battery mode. For user-friendly ‘smart return’ function the slots are filled with a hollow glass micro-bead type of buoyant material – this ensures that the body is not affected by the high pressure of the deep waters and that it would actually float to the surface and start the GPS positioning function after being let go. In order to create highly efficient products with perfect safety, A123 lithium-ion batteries are used because they offer no risk of explosion, therefore reducing stress for divers. Truly, the Poseidon of the automotive world with its amphibian-like design.

AMBI- by Baek Ju Yeon

A regular mouse is still a major cause for ‘carpal tunnel syndrome’ because a mouse’s angle is generally not ergonomic for the hand, especially if you are left-handed because the mouse market often forgets about you. Sandwiched between the shell of the vertical AMBI- mouse is a collapsible accordion-like structure made with flexible plastic that allows users to adjust the tilt angle of the mouse. When the structure changes, a setup window will intuitively appear on the screen. This can be modified to fit both hands. The upper and lower shell can also be used alone (by detaching the accordion structure) just like a regular mouse. Left-handers finally rejoice!

WM Fresher by Nanjing Chuangwei Household Electronic Appliances Limited

By combining the functions of a front-loading washing machine, a small top-loading washing machine, and a shoe-care machine, WM Fresher offers users a ‘head-to-toe’ clean. Its unique three-layer washing space can wash and care for different clothing materials and dirtiness at the same time, saving time and energy. It is user-friendly, even for the elderly, and it is possible to customize and personalize the washing parameters for the optimum cleaning result. It uses an innovative steam washing function to sterilize and disinfect clothes. The shoe sterilization area is right at the bottom and automatically detects, sterilizes, and deodorizes footwear according to the material and size. Making laundry easier for everyone!

Moving Z by ZINUS Design Department

Moving frequently and constantly having to buy/discard furniture is a huge hassle, especially for Gen Z who are just venturing into the real world. Cities around the world are seeing a gradual decrease in personal living space, and the increasing movement in and out of the city. People need furniture that is suited for small spaces and frequent moves. Moving Z is a new furniture concept that is compact and easy to move. It is designed to reduce the time and effort needed when moving to a new home. For frequent movers, Moving Z can be easily packed, assembled, or used in different configurations – pushed down or upright to fit any space. The modular boxes are made from a variety of materials and can be stacked/arranged freely while the wheeled frame functions as a cart which can be used to move things conveniently.

Little Hoppa by Sofie

Many children’s toys on the market are bulky, not designed to last, and non-renewable. Little Hoppa is a 3-in-1 children’s play gym, jumper, and activity table. This durable, innovative, and multi-activity toy transforms and adapts with children as they grow (from birth to 4 years old). It is easy to clean and recycle, the simple nut-and-bolt fit makes it super simple to put each stage together; most parts are also reused in each stage. It can be used by newborns for tummy time, for babies with interactive hanging toys, and for slightly older babies who start to pull themselves up, it can be used as a jumper toy. The final stage has been created for the toddler and pre-school years – the tabletop is dual-sided so younger children can use the built-in road, storytelling forms, and interactive toys for imaginative play, while older children will enjoy drawing or reading using the flat side of the table.

Click Here to See More Award-winning Projects

IDEO’s Winter Dining challenge’s winning designs balance safety without sacrificing the experience!

IDEO launched its very own Chicago-based Winter Dining Challenge during the age of COVID-19. Through this challenge, the city of Chicago aims to stimulate and encourage safe dining from Lake Michigan to Chicago Lawn and everywhere in between. This challenge is 2020 pandemic-specific since alternative dining experiences have been at the forefront of everyone’s minds, as you probably already know. On October 8th, IDEO announced the top designs for Chicago, each of which brought with them a distinct interpretation of safe, yet lively dining experiences.

Cozy Cabins

Inspired by ice fishing huts, Young designed modular, transparent cabins so that dinner guests can enjoy the bustling streets of Chicago while maintaining safety protocol for social distancing. The cabins are identical in size and shape, which makes it easy to reproduce in other cities, fitting easily within average-sized parking spaces. Best yet, the cabins are also simply produced, requiring only wood, corrugated metal, polycarbonate plastic, and standard framing hardware. Additionally, these cabins are inexpensive to make and integrate a floor-heating system in order to keep diners warm while they enjoy their meals. Cozy Cabin would offer Chicagoans a warm, appetizing retreat during the city’s notoriously frigid winter months.

Designers:  Amy Young x ASD | SKY 

Each Cozy Cabin is identical in size and shape, making the process of construction and reproduction manageable. Additionally, the cabins require minimal material, all of which can be sustainably sourced and maintained. Diners will have lots of personal space in these Cozy Cabins, depending on their party’s size.

Block Party

Urban designers, Neil Reindel and Flo Mettetal designed expandable, life-size blocks for their alternative dining spaces. These blocks fit within parking lanes, in order to fully expand. However, if restaurants do not have enough space in their parking lots, then the blocks can be positioned on extended sidewalks or pocket parks. The blocks position diners amongst the busy and many pedestrians of city streets, bringing the communal experience of eating out to each block. Likely, the most exciting feature of this concept in particular is the expansion feature. If your party is bigger, then the blocks can be grouped together in order to enlarge the dining space. This dining experience is not fully enclosed, allowing for some air circulation. However, available curtains would allow diners to turn their dining experience into a private one. Each module would be constructed using Metal ‘C’ studs, in expanded polystyrene, and objects (tables, light fixtures, etc.) would be clad with sealed MDF, a material denser than plywood. By implementing a thermal mesh system, Block Party ensures a warm dining experience for each block partygoer.

Designers: Neil Reindel and Flo Mettetal

Each module seats two guests comfortably and can be arranged to accommodate bigger parties if the need arises.

Each module can be moved using a caster wheel dolly and combined so that modules can increase room for diners by increments of two. The modules fasten together using pin joints, which is a good option in order to prevent the modules from rotating or drifting.

The modules can be arranged so that the restaurant’s outdoor seating space is optimized and after work hours, the blocks can be separated and organized depending on the space available.

While these blocks themselves represent a safe dining experience, the Chicago-based, urban designers intend to implement further safety protocols, such as one-way routes for wait staff and pedestrians, along with security blocks in order to minimize traffic flow on the sidewalk.

Heated Tables

Working from Japanese modes of dining, Chicago-based Ellie Henderson planned outdoor heated tables for IDEO’s Winter Design Challenge. Heated tables, also known as kotatsu, are common in Japan and provide an economical way to keep warm during cold months. Typically found indoors, heated tables represent a hub of warmth for households. By making a few modifications, Henderson hopes to bring Hygge dining, a Danish concept meant in regard to life’s simple pleasures, to the streets of Chicago. This design stands out for its open-air approach to dining. This means that servers and restaurant-owners will still have to maintain COVID-19 safety protocol. Air circulation is vital in reducing the transmission of Coronavirus, which means this design might thrive so long as initiatives such as the closure of streets for comfortable outdoor dining remain in place. Perhaps the most economical design option, heated tables’ construction would require only preexisting material: a source of heat, blanket, screws, and a table.

Designer: Ellie Henderson

Inspired by the Japanese way of dining (kotatsu) an economical, and familiar material make up this design. All that it needs is a tabletop, blanket, a source of heat, and some screws. The heating element typically remains out of view, underneath the table and blanket covering.

In addition to dining experiences, bars, festivals, and other indoor services have changed their indoor seating to similar variants of the heated table design, inspired by kotatsu, as pictured above.

This year’s International Design Conference goes virtual – Here’s how you can attend

While the pandemic has forced the majority of the world to be confined at home, it’s also helped make the world a smaller place by allowing people to virtually connect and collaborate. Like most events this year, the International Design Conference, hosted by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), is moving to a virtual format with a 24-hour live stream, starting at 12pm EST (US) on September 17th, and ending at 12pm EST (US) on September 18th. For the first time, the International Design Conference will be a truly global event, allowing people from across the world to attend the continuous 24-hour experience that includes 6 keynotes and 18 mainstage presentations, along with dozens of breakout sessions, workshops, and panel discussions.

The event’s schedule is divided into six tracks over two days, featuring elite presenters from all around the world, representing industry-leading tech companies, design studios, and innovation hubs like Google, Microsoft, Samsung, Puma, Airbnb, and many more (logging in from countries including Denmark, Nigeria, India, China, England, Germany, Trinidad and Tobago, and Pakistan, as well as from cities across the United States). Emcees Kristine Arth (Lobster Phone), Spencer Nugent (Sketch-a-Day.com), Verena Paepcke-Hjeltness, IDSA, and Jeevak Badve, FIDSA will co-host and lead different content blocks, introducing experts from a variety of fields including industrial design, graphic design, furniture design, service design, UX and UI, social impact design, and more, calling upon them to share their insights, tools, and strategies for innovation and creativity.

The days leading up to the conference are filled with a roster of free events (you’ll need to RSVP in advance), with virtual design studio tours on Sept. 14th and 15th, followed by IDSA’s annual membership meeting and year-in-review, the annual IDSA Awards, and the 40th annual International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) Ceremony, held on September 16th (Wednesday).

The International Design Conference’s origin stretches all the way back to IDSA’s inception and its first national meeting in 1965. Since then, IDC has blossomed from IDSA’s annual membership gathering into a massive cultural and learning-exchange event for designers across disciplines, with diverse speakers, seminars, workshops, and challenges to foster a stronger design community. The IDC was held in Chicago last year and New Orleans before that, attracting hundreds of designers and creatives across all disciplines. This year’s IDC goes beyond borders, offering a unique opportunity to designers, students, educators, and enthusiasts around the world to participate in real-time. All content will be recorded for IDC ticket holders.

Visit the International Design Conference website to grab tickets to this event, and don’t forget that you can join the free, virtual design studio tours as well, and even watch the IDSA Awards and the IDEA 2020 Ceremony right from the comfort of your home!

Click Here to Buy Your Tickets Now: IDC 2020, Sept. 17-18.

World’s Premier Design Event – IDC 2020, Goes Virtual

The International Design Conference 2020, normally an in-person event, is going virtual and truly global this year. Starting at 12pm EDT (US) on Thursday, September 17 and ending at 12pm EDT (US) on Friday, September 18, the livestream experience will bring attendees 24 hours of uninterrupted design content from around the world.

The continuous 24-hour span will include six keynote presentations and 18 mainstage presentations, in addition to dozens of breakout sessions, workshops, panel discussions, and side-bar social interactions, all happening in a carefully choreographed progression.



What to Expect

With its roots as the national meeting of the Industrial Designers Society of America, the IDC has grown into something much bigger. IDC 2019 was held in Chicago, IL (see above video), and IDC 2018 was in New Orleans, LA. Each event drew hundreds of designers from around the world and across disciplines.

This year, the virtual IDC’s eclectic mix of content is tailor-made to provide inspiration, challenge assumptions, and advance the conversation about what design can contribute to the world’s future. Without leaving the comfort of your home, you have the opportunity to learn from design leaders who will present their work, passions, and authentic stories with hundreds of designers worldwide.

These expert presenters come from industry-leading tech companies, design studios, and innovation hubs like Microsoft, Puma, Airbnb, Samsung, and many more. They’ll be logging in from countries ranging from Nigeria to Denmark to England to Germany to the United States, and offering plenty of design knowledge, skill-sharing, best practices, and tips for success that will expand your perception of what’s possible.


General admission to the IDC 2020 is $250 USD per ticket, which helps to cover the cost of subsidized rates for students and goes toward current and future IDSA programming. The cost to attend for an IDSA Professional or Young Professional Member is $150 USD, and the cost for an IDSA Student Member to attend is $50 USD.

Click Here to Buy Your Tickets Now: IDC 2020, Sept. 17-18.


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What is the World Design Consortium?


Think of the World Design Consortium as an International Association for Design and Designers. It connects designers to prospective clients, acting as mediators and a platform for both parties to work with and benefit from. The World Design Consortium was founded by Dr. Onur Mustak Cobanli (the creator of the A’ Design Awards) and forms an integral part of the A’ Design Award’s mission to provide reach and value to the design community on a massive, international scale.

An independent international entity in its own right, the World Design Consortium partners with award-winning designers and agencies from across the globe, representing each country and each industry. The consortium acts as a yellow-pages book, comprising designers who have won the A’ Design Award, categorizing them based on industry and overall ranking. It then connects designers to clients who require design talent on-hire, helping in procedures like setting budgets, preparing and forwarding proposals, and acting as a designer-client liaison. In every regard, the World Design Consortium facilitates a smooth design process, allowing designers to work with dream clients, and taking the hassle out of coordination and of communication. Designers who win A’ Design Awards immediately join the roster of international award-winning designers, and your ranking is determined by the International Designer’s Ranking system.

Aside from being the world’s largest network of award-winning designers, the World Design Consortium also plays a significant part in liaising between designer and client, leaving strictly creative work to the designers. A third-party Design Mediator service is an extension of the activities of the consortium, helping in conflict resolution. In many ways, the World Design Consortium acts as an invisible, international highway that connects clients to designers from anywhere around the world. If the A’ Design Award rewards and helps popularize a design project, the World Design Consortium helps make the designer accessible, providing reach and value, and giving designers access to a wide variety of golden international work and growth opportunities!

Click Here to register for the A’ Design Awards and to join the World Design Consortium for free!


Related Article: Bring your designs to the real world: The A’ Design Award and Competition

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