The Swedish retailer’s designs include a workstation with a pull-out bed that can transform a bedroom into a fully equipped home office, and a tall storage unit that folds down to form a neat dining area with a table and bench seating.
These inventions reimagine furniture as multifunctional tools that can adapt to different activities throughout the day. “It’s everything you need within the footprint of a bed,” said Mauricio Affonso, Ikea’s innovation development lead, describing the bed-and-desk combo. “[It’s] a box of surprises that speaks to the potential and versatility of a small space.”
While still in development, prototypes of the shape-shifting units are already on display in the Ikea Museum in Sweden, and will be piloted in Poland and Hong Kong in 2023. The project comes off the back of internal research by the company, which found that consumers want tidy and ordered interiors with ample room for entertaining, no matter the size of their floorplan. And the uptick in renting is making free-standing designs that are easy to set up, pack down and move between houses increasingly appealing.
The advent of remote working and the cost-of-living crisis will mean that people’s professional, social and personal lives will continue to take place largely in the home. And therefore, smart storage solutions and agile interiors must become a top priority.