Posts tagged with "Ikea":

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IKEA partners with Olafur Eliasson, LEGO, and more to branch out beyond furniture

Live from Democratic Design Design Days in Älmhult, Sweden, IKEA announced new collaborations with a lineup of technology, design, and Internet of Things (IoT) companies. With the likes of Solange’s Saint Heron, Adidas, and Lego, new partnerships were pronounced as the new IKEA compadres, a sweet compilation of design furnishings and fixtures well beyond the typical build-it-yourself furniture it is known for. The union with auteur-esque artists and designers results in an outlandish and pleasantly unexpected mise-en-scene: an Ikea receipt rug by fashion designer Virgil Abloh, solar-powered lights by Olafur Eliasson, glass and ceramics by Per B Sundberg, and even a perfume by Saint Heron. While many of these compilations remain in the R&D phase, IKEA still announced debuting projects: First, there was Olafur Eliasson’s project dedicated to creating solar lighting to communities that otherwise wouldn’t have access to such technologies. Then, there was Saint Heron’s “architectural and interior design objects with multifunctional use,” including the aforementioned perfume (we wonder if notes of birch will be included as ode to Scandinavian design and their preoccupation with the material).  Also present were some odder alliances, including a 3D printing company that exclusively fashions custom prosthetics and an education company dedicated to e-sports. Be that as it may, the Swedish multinational group has been, for a while now, elaborating their business model. Think about their forays into pet furniture, or augmented reality apps. There’s also more home and lifestyle products, like the Sonos audio system, as well as the limited edition art collabs. Of these synergistic relationships, we hope that they one day will become as viable and available as the Sladda bike (but not as low production as the belt drive, which was originally chosen over a conventional metal chain to avoid maintenance, but eventually broken in as little as one ride).
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IKEA now sells solar panels and home battery packs

IKEA, the Swedish furniture giant known for selling cheap, do-it-yourself furniture, is now offering solar energy systems (only these products aren't quite cheap and definitely aren't D.I.Y.).

IKEA has partnered with energy technology company Solarcentury to launch its Solar Battery Storage Solution, which features solar panels and home batteries, in the U.K. Solarcentury, one of the U.K.’s biggest solar panel providers, will produce the panels.

IKEA’s home storage battery works in the same way as Tesla’s Powerwall, storing energy generated from the solar panels instead of selling excess energy back to the grid. The home batteries are compatible with existing solar panels or as a part of a combined storage system.

There is a bit of a sticker shock for those used to IKEA’s affordable prices—the upfront cost for both panels and battery is £6,925 (about $9,034 in U.S. dollars)—but the company estimates customers will make their money back within 12 years and their electricity bills will be cut by up to 70 percent. 

Solar panels and home battery systems have been making big waves thanks to Tesla's recently-announced offering. While still expensive, IKEA's solar system has an advantage in that its starting price is much lower. Just the batteries will cost £3,000 (around $3,900) as opposed to Tesla's price of £5,900 (about $7,684). However, location, type of building, and size of roof, also affect the final cost.

“We believe IKEA and Solarcentury are bringing the most competitive package to the market yet so more people than ever before can profit financially and environmentally by producing their own energy,” Susannah Wood, head of residential solar at Solarcentury, said in a press release.

This news comes on the heels of two big announcements for the U.K.’s energy industry. Just last week, the U.K. government unveiled a plan that will allot £246m of funding (that's around $320.48 million) for battery technology research. British gas owner Centrica also revealed that it would be increasing its energy prices 12.5 percent, despite promises to lower costs.

If you live in the U.K., IKEA’s website offers a free estimate on how much installing its Solar Battery Solution will save you.

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IKEA recreates war-torn Syrian house inside Norwegian flagship store

Swedish furniture purveyor IKEA is usually synonymous with picture-perfect homes filled with flat-pack designs. At its flagship store in Slependen, Norway, however, a showroom space—where the best model interiors are usually on display—is instead showcasing a dwelling straight from Syria. Working with the Norwegian Red Cross foundation, IKEA has reproduced a war-torn Syrian house. Called 25m^2 Syria, the installation features bare concrete masonry units and a space bereft of any notable furnishings, let alone any from the likes of IKEA. (For those wondering, 25 square meters equates to 269 square feet). 25m^2 is based on a real-life house on the outskirts of Damascus, the capital of the war-torn state. The apartment in Syria belongs to a woman named Rana and her family of nine, of whom pictures can be found on the walls inside. Despite its jarring effect in the store, some of IKEA brand identity can be found inside 25m^2. Typical IKEA tags that usually display prices and product information here tell stories of Rana and her family. They shed light on the Syrian way of life and the daily struggles many Syrians endure such as food and medication shortages and lack of access to clean water. The concept was initially brought to life by Norwegian advertising agency POL. Through the installation, the company hopes to raise money for "TV-Aksjonen," an effort with the Norwegian Red Cross to collect donations to aid those living in war zones. An explicit plea for donations is also written on the walls of the mock-Syrian space. In a statement POL said:
It was important to get the public involved, and to really understand where the help was going. So the decision to build a replica of a Syrian home at IKEA was made. IKEA’s vision is ‘to create a better everyday life for the may people’. So this partnership was both natural, giving and especially relevant for the cause.
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IKEA to launch line of furniture made from recycled materials

The popular Swedish furniture producer IKEA has said it will release a new line made almost entirely of recycled materials. For example, the OGDER kitchen chairs (designed in collaboration with Stockholm-based designers From Us With Love) are made of a combination of reclaimed wood and recycled plastic bottles; the chair will come in a number of different sizes and colors. The KUNGSBACKA kitchen island, seen below, is similarly made from 99% recycled materials. These materials are partly sourced from the IKEA factory in China. The idea for the line was actually sparked when IKEA realized their factory had a virtual graveyard of damaged, unused products that could be recycled. Look for the its release next February, 2017.
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IKEA tests virtual reality kitchen with new app

Swedish furniture firm IKEA is undertaking a trial of a new virtual reality app. Titled IKEA VR Experience, it allows users to explore and interact with a kitchen outfitted with IKEA products. The trial aims to encourage feedback as the company develops the software further.
The app is now available to download for free on the popular gaming platform Steam. However, a HTC Vive VR headset with two working hand controllers is required to play. 
“Virtual reality is developing quickly and in five to ten years it will be an integrated part of people’s lives," said Jesper Brodin, managing director at IKEA of Sweden. "We see that virtual reality will play a major role in the future of our customers. For instance, someday, it could be used to enable customers to try out a variety of home furnishing solutions before buying them,” he added.
A range of fittings is available for the kitchen that you explore; users can change cabinets and drawers at the click of a button. Perhaps the most interesting feature is that users can choose to view the kitchen from different perspectives. By changing your height, you can move around as a 3.3 foot-tall child or a 6.4 foot-tall adult, thus highlighting any hazards for children/someone tall.
Users can also open up drawers and cabinets or pick up a pan and place it on the stove. You can also "recycle the vegetable skins in the waste sorting station." In addition to this, there is a mysterious “teleport” function (no other information is provided).
“We also see IKEA VR Experience as an opportunity to co-create with people all around the world," said Martin Enthed, IT Manager for IKEA Communications. "We hope that users will contribute to our virtual reality development, by submitting ideas on how to use virtual reality and how to improve the virtual kitchen."
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High-Style Hacks: Bjarke Ingels, Henning Larsen, and Norm Architects tweak an Ikea flat-pack classic

Danish kitchen purveyor Reform has enlisted Bjarke Ingels, Henning Larsen Architects, and Norm Architects to put their spin on a mainstay of Ikea's kitchen designs, the Metod. While the architects' work is confined to surface treatments and small details, the results definitely elevate the kitchen above the generic flat-pack model. Bjarke Ingles and BIG added a loop of seatbelt webbing to the drawers and doors. Henning Larsen Architects accented the cabinets with strips of contrasting or coordinating metal. Norm Architects created a waterfall counter to frame door/drawer panels made of bronzed tombac, fiber-concrete, or smoked or sawn oak. The kitchens will be available in September 2015.
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Pioneering British Supermarket Appears Destined for an Early Demise

A British supermarket once lauded for its ingenuity and pioneering nature is now on the chopping block with a Swedish invader looming. When it was completed, the Greenwich branch of UK Mega-chain Sainsbury's was hailed as a breakthrough in eco-design and shortlisted for a prestigious Stirling Prize. Yet in early March the city council approved plans to demolish the structure in order to pave the way for a new IKEA warehouse outlet. The building was designed by Paul Hinkin during his time at Chetwoods Architects. Upon opening in 1999 it became the country's first retail space to receive an "excellent" BREEAM (roughly the British equivalent of LEED) rating. Design features contributing to this assessment include a reed bed that collects rainwater for use in the store, a liberal hand with recycled materials throughout the interior, and on-site wind turbines. Having since launched his own firm, Hinkin is passionate about preserving his 14 year old creation. Speaking from British sustainable building trade show Ecobuild, he vowed to "fight this until the wrecking ball goes through the roof," and called the decision to demolish "totally and utterly indefensible." Hinkin is not alone in this battle, as a campaign to save the structure has been brewing since November once it appeared that it might be under threat. In late February advocates for preserving the market put in a somewhat audacious bid to English Heritage to have the store listed as a Grade II, the second highest grade the organization bestows upon builds that are "particularly important...and of more than special interest." Approval would make the supermarket the youngest recipient of the honor. In light of the Greenwich Council's rulings these efforts would seem to heretofore have been in vain. Sainsbury's decision to sell the site on the condition that it not be filled by another food retailer essentially seals the fate of a structure that was explicitly designed for that purpose. In an essay written for the UK Green Building Council, Hinkin described bespoke, function-specific structures as a key component of his sustainable architectural philosophy. While they may be sustainable in the short-term, the problems buildings designed along such precepts eventually have in adapting to new programs would appear to make them decidedly unsustainable in the long term. The early success and what appears to be an increasingly likely untimely end of the Greenwich Sainsbury's illustrate the immediate benefits and eventual issues destined to plague this approach.
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E/B Office Transforms 300 IKEA Chairs Into Soaring Pavilion

Fabrikator

Reimagining the chair as an architectural material

With their focus on "environmental acuity and a critical digital ethic," Brian Bush and Yong Ju Lee of E/B Office describe themselves as "digital architects" who design "real projects that are virtually indistinguishable from their digital visions." Their most recent vision included 300 of IKEA's pine wood Ivar chairs arching through the air across the wide lawn at Freedom Park in Atlanta, where SEAT was installed earlier this summer for Flux Projects, a public art organization. Bush and Lee hope that SEAT will encourage people to reconsider the chair as more than just a passive, everyday object, but as an architectural structure in and of itself. Indeed, sitting amongst a swooping pavilion built entirely out of chairs, it would be difficult not to. No doubt you've seen the Ivar chair before, or something like it. Popular for its low price ($24.99) and ability to be painted any color, Ivar is so basic it's the kind of chair that should pop right up when you do a Google Image search for “chair” (it doesn't, though IKEA's Poang does). Because they came from IKEA, all 300 were assembled by hand by Bush, Lee and a team of 15. The chairs were unaltered except for the seat, which was removed from most to make them easier to connect. After Bush and Lee made a 3D model in Rhino with the help of a structural engineer, they launched right into building the full-scale version onsite.  Once the materials were shipped to Freedom Park, installation began at the farthest edges of the pavilion, which were stabilized with rebar in a concrete foundation. Chair by chair, they worked their way towards the middle, at which point a keystone chair was added. Then the temporary bracing was gradually removed and wooden support columns were added at key points. But because the lag bolts, clamps, screws and other hardware are hidden from view, embedded in the body of the chairs, the corbeled arch looks fluid, regardless of the additional columns. Given the fact that the overall weight of the structure is nearly 4,000 pounds it's surprising that more columns weren't needed, but the parametric design manages the tolerance and distributes the weight across the structure. The result is a pavilion that, while not strong enough to be climbed on, has weathered its fair share of storms that have swept through Atlanta this summer. SEAT will remain up at Freedom Park through September 22nd, so visitors have just one more week to sit in the first row of chairs around the periphery that "turn inward to create an intimate, compressive space to converse and regard the upward flow of chairs transcending their function."
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Quick Clicks> IKEA Life, Gensler′s Mil, Graceland II, and a Green Empire

Hem Sweet Hem. We love this quirky story from our friends at Curbed. The Swedish-based IKEA is well on itsway to worldwide domination of the budget-furniture market -- and who doesn't love wandering through the cavernous stores and imagining life in the mini habitats arranged throughout the store? Photographer Christian Gideon sure did. His latest project documents what life might look like if you lived in one. Subsidy Switch. LA's Mayor Villaraigosa promised not to spend any taxpayer money to a proposed football stadium in the city, but the project's lead architect is another matter entirely. According to LA Weekly, the mayor is sending $1 million slated for the city's poor to lead-architect Gensler as they prepare to move their offices from Santa Monica to downtown LA. Elvis Goes Danish. Think living at IKEA was strange enough? Well, the Historic Sites Blog hopes to top that. Apparently there is now a replica of Graceland in Denmark. Yes, Denmark. If those photos weren't enough, the BBC has a brief video of the Danish dupe. Empire Example. According to gbNYC, the Empire State Building plans to be in the LEED when it comes to retrefotting historic buildings. Though owner Anthony Malkin, the man behind the green curtain, didn't set out to achieve the green label for one of the city's highest profile building, he's apparently changed his tune.
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QUICK CLICKS> Highway, High Speed, Detroit, Heated Sidewalks and Ikea

Vancouver Chooses Their Way Over Highway. Vancouver officials are considering permanently closing two viaduct bridges after temporary closures for the 2010 Olympics went smoothly. The city is the latest to join a growing number of places proposing highway removal, including Seattle where the debate is heating up.

High Speed Rail to Slow Down. The government didn't shut down, but President Obama signed off on a $1.5 billion cut to high speed rail to reach a budget deal. High speed rail has been a top transportation priority for the administration, which had been funded at $2.5 billion per year. Are US Cities Like Detroit Really Dying? The short answer is no. An infographic at Fast Company Design looks at migration in Detroit and finds that there's been an influx of residents in the city's core, surrounded by decline. John Pavlus writes, "The undeniable truth is that downtown is flashing the signs of a comeback." Keeping Things Hot. The city of Holland, Michigan heats its sidewalks with waste heat diverted from a local power plant. The system eliminates the need for shoveling and keeping downtown lively all-year round. Fits? Alan Penn, professor of architecture at University College London, suggests that IKEA deliberately designs its stores to be confusing to encourage impulse buying.