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Last week I was in Sweden at the Democratic Design Days 2019 at Ikea headquarters in Älmhult, two days to discover news, collaborations and new projects. Ikea’s commitment to democratic design is already famous, but seeing the behind-the-scenes and hearing the novelties directly from those who designed them was truly a beautiful experience.

5 criteria of democratic design: form, function, quality, price, sustainability.

At Ikea Democratic Design Days there were an amazing and positive vibe of visionary projects. The future is already here, it’s today that we have to built the tomorrow and our future requires more and more attention.

By 2050 most of the world’s population will live in cities and our homes will become smaller and smaller.

We have to rethink the spaces and design them in a new way. Our needs and lifestyles change but the way we build and think furniture has not yet changed, technology can become a very useful ally. One of the most important news announced by Ikea there is the collaboration with Ori, a furniture robotics company. From spring 2020 ROGNAN will be available (initially in Hong Kong and Japan market only, places that have always been characterized by very small spaces and mini houses): a robotic wall that integrates living room, walk-in closet and bed, it will add 8 square meters to your home and transform the space with a simple click.

Behind the design of new objects and collections, there is a broader vision where sharing is the heart. In a society where everything is connected we are experiencing a new form of physical isolation, for this reason we need to rethink urban settlements, neighborhoods are becoming fundamental for services and social matters.
For this purpose, Ikea teamed up with Space10, an architecture firm from Copenhagen, to imagine a new way of living spaces and where services are shared.

There is a lot of talk about sustainability and at Ikea they are really making a difference: the MUSSELBLOMMA collection of pillows, fabrics and bags is made entirely by recycling the plastic collected from the Mediterranean by Spanish fishing boats. Planned launch date: February 2020 in Italy.

FÖRÄNDRING is a collection made of a new renewable material from rice straw, a by-product of rice production that’s usually burned, contributing to air pollution. Planned launch date: 2019 in selected markets.

By 2030 Ikea will use 100% recycled polyester for fabrics (from sofas to carpets): two years ago it was only 10%, today it is 50% that means 5 million recycled plastic bottles.

Another super news is the collaboration between Ikea and the artist Olafur Eliasson: SAMMANLÄNKAD is a system that will allow everyone to have light and electricity for free thanks to the use of sunlight. Planned launch date: 2021.

Inspiration is everywhere… Ikea with the World Surf League is trying to investigate issues of sustainability and mobility. The lifestyle of surfers can give many ideas: small spaces, healthy and active life, practicality, mobility …

RÅVAROR is a collection designed for a nomadic way of life: 20 products (sofa-bed, textiles, coffee table, storage spaces …) that can be easily disassembled, packed and moved. Available from September 2020. Planned launch date: September 2020.

There will be a new edition of Ikea Art Event that continues with the idea of making art accessible and affordable, they will be functional objects but at the same time objects of art.

Another important announcement was the fabric collection with the British textile designer Zandra Rhodes (among other thousands of things she was also the Freddy Mercury’s stylist!).

With Saint Heron, the black artists and emerging talents community, Ikea is designing luminous sculptures.

Everyday Ikea serves 600 million people: with chef Claus Meyer from Noma restaurant in Copenhagen, Ikea aims to rethink and export healthy dishes and take traditional Swedish products to the next level.

And then there’s the collaboration with Lego, the one with Adidas to develop products that can change the way to train at home, the Tom Dixon vases to create a small indoor vegetable garden, the meatballs-non-meatballs made with pea, tomatoes, oats and apples…

So many new collection and features announced during these Democratic Design Days. Ikea’s commitment to good design makes a positive impact meaning a true difference for people. It was a great experience being able to attend the Ikea Democratic Design Days and discover all the news directly by those who designed them and feel the enthusiasm that everyone put into them. Powerful ideas and the way to achieve them!

You can find the Ikea DDD2019 stories among the highlights on my Instagram profile.