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IKEA sets out on a journey to explore the future Scandinavian design identity

ÄLMHULT (Sweden), June 8: As one of the first steps on the journey to explore the future Scandinavian design identity, IKEA will together with the Dan Disign company, HAY, create a collection for socialising in the living room.

“When we see the world is changing, how people live is changing, how people use products is changing, we have a duty to reinvent our basics. Still with a typical IKEA design sensibility, so that you can see that it is us from the beginning, so you can see that it relates to our Scandinavian heritage, which is part of being IKEA", said Marcus Engman, Design Manager at IKEA, at the Democratic Design Day conference here on Wednesday.

Doing this together with HAY, a design company that stretches from the boarder of architecture to fashion and who has contributed strongly to today's perception of Scandinavian design, yet with an international reach, is really exciting", says Marcus.

IKEA has initiated a collaboration with Danish company HAY, inviting them to work on a new collection of products that will be launched in 2017. The collection comprises furniture, lighting, accessories and textile designs, made by IKEA using advanced manufacturing techniques.

“I was so enthusiastic about this cooperation with IKEA. This cooperation is with one of the best supply chains in the world, with some of the best product developers and engineers in the industry. I knew that we could learn from IKEA, and hopefully they could also learn from us", says Rolf Hay, co-founder of HAY.

IKEA and HAY work together with openness, mutual curiosity and with a shared interest in learning.

“We felt immediately that IKEA was a very open culture, so they were not afraid of sharing. From my point of view, that was one of the reasons why I was attracted to working with them, that we could actually learn something from one another”, says Rolf.

“I think the time we are living in is so much about sharing experiences, the future is so much about collaborations. I feel that it is about doing the right collaborations, where both parties are bringing something to the table, and with IKEA and HAY I really felt that we both brought a lot to the table, and we did this together", says Mette Hay, co-founder of HAY

The IKEA and HAY collaboration has sought to understand what the true functional and emotional needs are in the modern 21st century home. The collection acknowledges changes that are taking place, how life is becoming more fluid and the idea of function by room is dissolving. The resulting products combine technical innovation, aesthetic confidence and a shared ambition to make exceptional design accessible to all.

“The idea we had for the collection, which also came from Rolf and Mette, was to do design which is totally clever, but understated at the same time. There are a lot of pieces with new constructions, new ways of doing things, but it is design that still blends in. There is also a longevity in it, we would like people to live with these things for a long time, because they are going to age in a beautiful way", says Marcus.

A shared sense of values has allowed IKEA and HAY to work together in a conversational and thoughtful way. An interest in how people work, eat, socialise and rest in urban environments all across the world, has given focus to this collection. A key ambition has been to re-imagine what the basic products that everyone needs are, and to create new designs to meet those needs. Creating products that will serve new more fluid functions, emotionally connect with their users, and also age well over time.

“In the same way as I feel with HAY, I feel that the accessories can be like the glue in this collection. A lot of the furniture will be grey, and white, and green. With the accessories we can play with much more colour, and you can work more on different materials", says Mette.


Ikea to live-stream Democratic Design Day 2016

By Noyanika Arora

ÄLMHULT (Sweden), June 7: Ikea will broadcast its annual Democratic Design Day event, which takes place at Älmhult in Sweden – home of the first Ikea store - on June 8. The event aims to make the company more transparent by sharing some of its behind-the-scenes research and processes.

On Tuesday, the preparations for the third Democratic Design Day were almost complete. Last minute finishing touches were being given. "Workshops are underway, exhibitions are being built and live streams are being tested," according to a spokesperson of the organisation.

Dezeen readers will be able to watch all of the talks and presentations from the furniture giant's Democratic Design Day live from 9.30 am UK time on Wednesday. Älmhult is home of the first Ikea store.

During the live broadcast, Ikea will reveal its next round of collaborators from the wider design industry, following on from the success of its Sinnerlig collection by London-based Ilse Crawford last year.

The Democratic Design Day will feature new product announcements from Ikea's head of design Marcus Engman, and a panel discussion with designers that are working with the brand.

Ikea will also unveil its latest Life at Home report on the different behaviours and lifestyle choices that affect people's home lives around the world.

The event is the third of its kind since the brand launched the idea in 2014, and will bring together journalists, bloggers, senior Ikea team members and designers that the company is collaborating with.

Last year's Democratic Design Day included Crawford, who discussed her "deliberately low key" cork and natural-fibre homeware collection, which went on sale in August 2015.

The brand also unveiled its Home Smart collection, featuring furniture and accessories embedded with induction charging stations for powering digital devices, and shared progress on the development of a new paper-based material called M-Board, which could replace wooden boards in its products.

This year's Democratic Design Day event will begin at 10.30 am Älmhult time on 8 June, which is 9.30 am London time, and 4.30 am New York time. The live stream will be available on from the beginning of the event.

Working with insights from new Ikea 'Life at Home Report'

By Noyanika Arora

Brainstorming ideas inspired by the new Life at Home ReportÄLMHULT (Sweden), June 7: Exploring what life at home is about is the first step of Democratic Design. That is why every year IKEA undertakes their “Life at Home Report” where thousands of people are interviewed about the way they live and their attitudes about what makes a home. But what does IKEA do with the report? How does it become a part of IKEA design?

Today, 200 product developers and designers gathered at IKEA of Sweden in Älmhult to explore the insights from the latest Life at Home Report. The designers and product developers spent the whole day together, discussing their thoughts and experiences connected to the topics brought up in the report.

“It’s a starting point for exploration,” says Mathias Worbin, creative leader at the Range & Design department at IKEA of Sweden. “It’s important that everyone working with design at IKEA can share the same understanding of how life at home is changing, that we explore these new learnings and that we do it together. Because design at IKEA is teamwork.”

The results of the workshop will be presented during Democratic Design Day.

IKEA to unveil first look at new collaborations

By Noyanika Arora

ÄLMHULT (Sweden), June 3: Right now, in Älmhult, Ikea is preparing an exhibition of upcoming collections and products. Be sure not to miss it! It’ll be the first time that Ikea shares its latest design collaborations.

The exhibition is part of Democratic Design Day, which takes place on June 8.

Democratic Design Day is a chance for you to meet the people behind IKEA products.
Engineers, product developers, and designers will be ready to share the story of their work. See how these people at Ikea explore and work together in the prototype shop to develop products to love.

One can gain a deeper understanding of Democratic Design – how it influences every stage of the design process; from ideas, through product development on the factory floor, to the final product.

Beer to flow through city as Belgian pipe dream comes true

BRUGES (Belgium), June 4: The idea may have seemed mad, but after all, the beer is called the Madman of Bruges — or Brugse Zot in Dutch.

And with the help of crowdfunding efforts among some 400 Madman fans, the dream of building a beer pipeline through the Belgian city of Bruges is becoming real.

“You have to be a bit crazy — like the beer — to do such a project. I just had the money for that, and I liked it. So I went crazy and gave the money to the brewery,” said local restaurant owner Philippe Le Loup, who poured some $11,000 into the pipeline.

Brewer Xavier Vanneste got the idea four years ago to pump the beer from his Bruges brewery to a bottling plant outside of town in a pipeline instead of having hundreds of transportation trucks blighting the cobblestoned streets of the UNESCO-protected medieval city.

What at first seemed like an outrageous dream, began to seem possible when Vanneste started talking to local beer enthusiasts, he said.

Jokes were coming in fast, with people saying “we are willing to invest as long as we can have a tapping point on the pipeline,” Vanneste said. “That gave us the idea to crowdfund the project to make this possible.”

Thanks to Le Loup and others, he is now staring at the opening end of the pipeline, which from this autumn will start pumping some 4,000 liters (1,060 gallons) of beer an hour toward the bottling plant, around 3 kilometers (2 miles) away in a non-descript industrial zone.
“That is a lot of beer, more than you can drink in a lifetime,” said the owner of De Halve Maan brewery, which in addition to Brugse Zot is also famous for its Straffe Hendrik beer brand.

Sending the pipeline along all streets where customers could siphon off their favorite suds without having to leave home was too utopian even for Vanneste, but he came up with the next best thing — IOUs with a lifelong drinking guarantee.

“We have several formulas: bronze, silver and gold,” he said. “If you put in e.g. 7,500 euros ($8,350), you will receive for the rest of your days, every day one bottle of Brugse Zot.”

The offer was hard to refuse and about 10 percent of the total 4 million euro ($4.5 million) investment for the pipeline has been financed through crowdfunding. With it came a popular surge of support that has stood Vanneste in good stead.

With a warren of municipal, regional and federal urbanization laws, building approvals were often laborious to come by for something as unique as a beer pipeline but authorities soon realized a whole community was backing it.

Not only did they provide financial funding for the project, they also provided a political base for it because so many people were supporting it, Vanneste said.

The city also stood to gain. In between the picturesque beguinage houses and Our Lady’s Cathedral, De Halve Maan brewery has given the sometimes overly touristy, so-called Venice of the North a sense of real life. Vanneste could have done what so many others have done — move out, lock, stock and barrel from the city with its canals, gabled Gothic houses, horse-drawn carriages and restaurants with six-language menus.

Now, he hopes to have the best of both worlds — a historic brewery in a location where it should be and an environmentally friendly way of transporting his brews out to the bottling plant which will allow him to continue to grow.

But it is not only Vanneste’s family business that is growing. The generous contributor to the project, Le Loup, is eyeing his paunch.

You can tell from my belly that I am a beer fan, he says.



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