Case Studies / IKEA museum
Seventy odd years ago, IKEA was established to cater for people’s need in the deep forests of the Swedish south. Now one of the worlds largest furniture retailers, IKEA invites the public to experience what it takes to cater for humanity, including driving forces and lesson learned, inside the very first of its kind—the IKEA museum.
With more than five years experience, in close collaboration with IKEA, designing products including the JANINGE chair, design studio Form Us With Love was invited to design three parts of the museum; the Introductory Hall, the Democratic Design Gallery and the Interactive Ball Room.
THE INTRODUCTORY HALL
Perhaps mostly recognised for his love of essentials, the founder of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad, wisely decided to focus his business on affordable needs for everyone’s home. Today, IKEA remains largely unchanged. With an ambition to set the scene as a somewhat intuitive beginning, Form Us With Love and the project team set out to build the Introductory Hall as a manifestation of IKEA’s values—a flat pack journey installed on two sheltering walls. Effectively, a line up of artistically displayed items from the complete IKEA range, leading the visitor into the main exhibition.
‘We felt that the first room of the museum should project what IKEA is all about, without feeling daunting. It should be powerful and inspirational, a mix of well known essential objects and elements of surprise. The aim is an intuitively strong and tactile experience,’ says John Löfgren, Co-founder and creative director at Form Us With Love.
THE DEMOCRATIC DESIGN GALLERY
Three floors up, in the Democratic Design gallery you are invited behind the scene, getting a fair sneak peek into what’s ahead. From first brief to final product, the public is given a chance to explore the formula behind IKEA—in the present, but more importantly in the sustained future. This installation by Form Us With Love, is all about opening up and unveiling previously untold stories about design, product development and quality control, all in place to meet the needs for the next generation.
‘As designers collaborating with IKEA, we felt that this was a great opportunity to invite the public into our world. A ‘work in progress’ atmosphere, where you can touch and feel the various materials that IKEA products are, and will be made from in the future. We wanted to make the gallery a platform to understand the “why” behind the design decisions made,’ says Jonas Pettersson, co-founder and CEO of Form Us With Love.
THE INTERACTIVE BALL ROOM
On the top floor of the museum an interactive sculpture is to be found. A large scale pipe construction, designed by Form Us With Love, vertically descends through the atrium, all the way to the ground floor. Inspired by marble runs, the installation allows young (and grown up) visitors to drop and follow the journey of a classic IKEA ball from the mandatory kids play room featured at all IKEA stores.
‘We believe IKEA’s attention to the youngest generation is worth embodying in the museum, that is why we proposed a playful installation running through the building, mirroring what we as designers experience as true and progressive IKEA DNA,’ John Löfgren concludes.
Process / Explore
IKEA – Kitchen
Our collaboration on the JANINGE collection had a profound impact on our understanding and admiration of the IKEA universe. We were therefore thrilled the day kitchen range manager, Gerry Dufresne, asked us to do an in-depth study of the kitchen. Together with product developer, Anna Granath, we began to unfold the complex world of the heart of the home.Read more
Punāh is an initiative by one of India’s major manufacturing conglomerates,
Godrej and Boyce, focusing on re-thinking the use of industrial waste materials. This year, Form Us With Love was invited to Mumbai as curators, designing the first ever Punāh exhibition, shown at the London Design Festival Sept 2016.
Process / Futurise
Gottsunda is a civic concept created for a municipality of Uppsala, just to the north of Stockholm; and was part of Santa & Cole’s range.
At a glance the piece seems harsh and unfriendlRe: FUWL books 160113, mail 1 of 2.y, yet there’s a visual warmth and realism to using moulded concrete. It’s a material we’ve all seen so it gives off a familiarity and durability of course, which a piece for public areas requires.
Form Us With Love undertook a lengthy process of research, holding workshops with residents of this specific municipality—one that some might describe as an impoverish neighbourhood. And the interactions from the meetings of the inhabitants of Gottsunda became the fuel for making the bench a piece that wants people to sit, talk and discover that there’s more to folk than face value.
To make this happen, the studio set a series of heating loops within the bench, as they once did on the benches of Stockholm’s more exposed subway stations, using the warmth created as a byproduct of the cooling process of making electricity in nearby power plants.
To sit down alongside someone you don’t know and sharing a warmth instead of an uncertainty is something public architecture needs more of. Spaces that are inviting and generate a sense of shared pride and belonging should be encouraged on a wider level from those who plan such places.
Process / Concept
We went from big to small and big again. We held onto this idea of a high sofa and armchair collection. We sketched endlessly and forced through iterations, to move fast into CAD models and physical mock-ups. The idea was the design and shape be capable of creating an impact yet be comfortable and inviting. A rounded seat typically brings character. Using a straight line in this case changes everything for the worse; too hard as a silhouette.Read more
Process / Prototype
Building a box should be easy. Four sides, a top perhaps. Corners. However, as a studio, we do tend to sweat the small stuff. As a result, it took many CAD drawings to find the quality we were looking for when designing Greenhouse 2016 and its simple box-like stands for the exhibitors.Read more
Process / Qualify
IKEA – Odger
After a domestic chair for public use and a tech dining chair we dived headfirst into the realm of wood-polypropylene, initially started by product developer Åsa Hederberg back in 2014. Odger is an exciting, two-part chair—now at its very final but most important, qualifying stage.
Qualifying Odger, is the time when our hard work in collaboration with quality developers, Karin Engquist and Nikolay Pishiev, finally come to life and where no details are too small to revisit. But equally qualifying is the part of the process when we begin to enquire into the multifaceted production, in it’s actual materials with the correct surfaces and treatments. Under the qualify lens, the surface of Odger has proved both beautiful and challenging, meaning that we have to get the surface of the woodplastic as resistant as possible without jeopardising the unique appearance and tactility.
A key element of qualifying the Odger chair is also testing the intuitiveness in which legs and shell are mounted, using handles instead of screws. In order to get this assembly as close as possible to the consumer mind—new, yet well grounded—many handle prototypes have been made to reach that perfected self-explanatory goal. With rigorous quality control, seat and legs can now effortlessly be assembled with a new mechanism, a innovative Odger key/handle.
Thinking / Excursion
We asked Ben about his experience in Hong Kong and he replied, “It is what it is! In Hong Kong there is a culture of starting production and going from there. “In Europe you talk about projects that might not happen. In Hong Kong people are doing projects and hardly ever talking about them.” So, it is easier to make things here? “Yeah, everything’s just there close by. It is much easier to have a conversation with the right people and start production; talk to different manufacturers, ask around town.Read more
We were in Mitab’s factory in Tranås and were impressed by the welding robots. Marcus, who was in charge of the factory told us that they didn’t really do so much with them at that point in time. They’d been used in the past to weld shopping baskets, but there wasn’t so much demand of that anymore. Poor robots eh. No jobs anywhere. Humans coming in and taking their jobs…Read more
Thinking / Problems
You try to locate the sensors, looking for those dark coloured lenses usually placed in the stem of the faucets. But you can’t see anything! It’s ‘minimalism’. You place your hands a wide as you can, moving frantically to try to maximise the chance for a reflection to hit the sensor—it still doesn’t work.
You are patient and take a breather; since the sensor might need a few seconds. Still nothing. You realise you still have soap in your hands and begin to panic. Next, you move closer. Perhaps the sensor could not quite get the signal you were trying to prevail from a distance? Half your body is doubled under the faucet, like a large bird in a small box, which remains unresponsive. You see sense, and pull your hands away to try again rationally. Other people have washed and gone by now. Your frustration is apparent. And you’ve been staring at yourself in the mirror, soapy hands dripping, for a couple of minutes. You feel stupid. A master of nothing.
Automatic faucets have hidden lenses which are designed to look for different things, hence the confusion. Some sense how close you are, or by how much you move your hands, and others just require a really strong presence. Most of the time they are just not intuitive enough, bad design making your life difficult.
Thinking / Publications
Greenhouse is an iconic part of the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair where young designers show work that have not yet been produced, to connect with partners, experts and producers. Each fall, designers and institutions from across the globe apply with prototypes and ideas to participate in the exhibition. In jury this year, John Löfgren […]Read more
TALLINN DESIGN FESTIVAL
Along with a fine panel of design peers, Form Us With Love was invited by Estonia Design Center to participate in the Tallinn Design Festival, with the aim to push the discourse of what design can really become—monitoring and discussing the changes in the design world.Read more
Thinking / Mistakes
In 2009, Comforty Living invited a number of renowned European designers to compete for a contract — Andersen & Voll from Norway, Philippe Negro from France, to name a few. We were invited to Warsaw to each design a sofa. The best piece was then picked by a jury and put in production.
Comforty Living is a brand divided in two parts; Comfort Living and Com40. The later being a manufacturer of sofas for IKEA. The challenge however, was not to make an IKEA sofa but quite the opposite. Comforty Living wanted us to present ideas for a premium sofa—working to virtually no restrictions.
We took the brief very literally and began researching the boundaries of a sofa and how to go beyond it. Our solution became something closer to art than a piece of furniture. We did not win the pitch, but cherished the fact that we had enabled our creativity to run past what was commercially viable, something which designers rarely get the chance to do. That ‘behind every great product is a string of failed ones,’ is a cliché. However, in the case of the ‘sofa and beyond,’ we actually aimed to fall short, which put us much closer to the target.
Studio / About
SANKT ERIKSGATAN 106
113 31 STOCKHOLM
+46 8 218 002
Form Us With Love, is the international design studio founded in 2005. Since its conception, the studio has burned with a passion for design and its democratic potential. Its belief is that we all have a right to meaningful design.
At the studio’s core lies a process that blends traditional creative practices with a lean, strategic application. The central intention is to evolve with the needs of each project, its place in the market and the ever-changing needs of real people.
Today, the work of Form Us With Love falls into three areas: Consultancy—an engagement in products, ranges, collaborations and spaces for clients around the world, Ventures—disciplined and holistic approaches to launch and build brands, Civic—based on knowledge transfers and sharing of experiences, actively contributing to the broader spectra of design.
SANKT ERIKSGATAN 106
113 31 STOCKHOLM
+46 8 218 002
Studio / Join us
Join usDesign Assistant info
We’re blessed with a vibrant office culture, with co-workers from around the globe. Hands on individuals who share our common goal of not only producing relevant, beautiful design but helping our collaborators to work, produce, function and think more effectively.
Periodically we open the studio to a batch of selected international applicants for an intensive period of workshops with the aim of finding one or two who’ll remain with us as interns for two times five months.
They’ll be immersed wholeheartedly into Form Us With Love, as part of our design team. It’s not uncommon that this internship develops into something more permanent, with our current team boasting many ex-interns as full-time colleagues.
We are growing, with a steady recruitment every year, the studio is now looking to further expand the team. With new projects, from both existing and new International clients—it’s time for the studio’s annual Summer Workshop.
Join the studio during a couple of days for insights into process, creative methods and client experiences, an exchange that could lead to landing a design role at the studio. Applicants must hold a BFA in Industrial Design, have a good spoken and written English and be entitled to work in Sweden. Last day to apply is October 25. For more details, Download the attached PDF.