On the occasion of the Democratic Design Days organised (8th and 9th June) at the IKEA headquarters in Älmhult (Sweden), Bachelor Industrial Design students present " IKEA Essentials for Modern Living by ECAL", a series of projects created in collaboration with the famous Swedish brand.
If you only had 50 things to furnish your apartment, what would they be and look like? This was the starting point of the latest collaboration between the Swedish furniture giant IKEA and ECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne.
“A company like IKEA engaging with a school like ECAL challenges both parties around contemporary design practices and proves that Design can be collaborative as well as democratic” explains ECAL Director Alexis Georgacopoulos.
In the prospect of the Democratic Design Days in Älmhult, Sweden, IKEA’s Design Manager, Marcus Engman, and its design team invited 2nd year Bachelor Industrial Design students of ECAL to rethink basics, fundamental pieces of furniture and accessories for life and work at home - flexible and functional products - with a strong focus on affordability and sustainability.
“Together with IKEA’s design team, we tried to give the students a real taste of how it is to work with the largest furniture brand in the world: visiting their headquarters in Sweden and bringing them to factories in Poland. Something that only a handful of designers will experience in their career” says ECAL Head of Bachelor Industrial Design Stéphane Halmaï-Voisard.
Under the guidance of designer Nicholai Wiig-Hansen, familiar with IKEA’s values and work processes, the students produced a range of 50 essentials across all product areas, from chairs to cutlery, and textiles to lightings. As part of the design process, Wiig-Hansen wanted the students to work as a group, discover themselves, their strengths and weaknesses, and know where they can be valuable in a team.
Nicholai Wiig-Hansen explains: “IKEA is about group effort, and I think teamwork is about designers leaving their ego aside for a moment and pushing together as a whole. This is something we unfortunately don’t see enough in school projects where the process is often linear and idealised”.