IKEA’s new “no limits, no rules, no waste” range

22 October 2016

IKEA vases

Every three years, IKEA launches a new PS collection – a themed collaboration with an assortment of top designers. The 2017 collection has just been unveiled, and it is squarely aimed at the younger generation. It focuses on ‘freedom at home’ and describes itself as ‘no rules, no restrictions, no limits.’

Well, maybe just one rule. No waste.

Because the other reason why the new collection is distinctive is its focus on recycled and new sustainable materials. For a company that has talked ambitiously about its circular-economy aspirations, it should only be expected.

Sustainable materials, efficient design and high functionality are part of the context

But that doesn’t mean the PS Collection is cast as the ‘worthy-but-dull’ range, with lots of eco-messaging and lectures about the state of the planet. The theme is “experimentation” and “freedom comes with living just as you please.”

Sustainable materials, efficient design and high functionality are part of the context. After all, true creativity and possibility thrives in the face of limits.

So what sort of things are we talking about?

IKEA Kitchen
IKEA

The new KUNGSBACKA kitchen, from designer Anna Granath, is a stylish focus for any kitchen. It also happens that the cabinet doors are made using recycled PET plastic bottles and recycled wood. The entire thing is 99.9 percent recycled (it is human, but churlish, to wonder about the 0.01%).

IKEA chairs
IKEA

Then there is the ODGER chair, the result of a collaboration with the designers Form Us With Love. The chair has a rounded shell, made with 70% recycled plastic and 30% renewable wood. It will come in white, blue and brown with wood finishes.

One of the interesting aspects of the design process for these items was the idea that designers should get onto IKEA’s factory floor as well as those of its suppliers, to get close to the reality of different materials and manufacturing processes.

IKEA vases
IKEA

That led designer Lina Vuorivirta to produce new vases, beautiful multi-coloured mouth-blown glass where every piece is unique. How did they come about? On a visit to suppliers in China, the PS team realised that imperfect or damaged items were being thrown out. So the decision was made to melt the glass back down to turn into the vases. The different mixes of leftover material is what makes for the varying patterns.

Such principles have seen other interesting innovations, including ones focusing on the re-use of IKEA’s own packaging waste.

So, for instance, the SKRUTT desk pad. The plastic film used to wrap IKEA’s delivery palettes at stores in Italy and France was turned into granules and then used to produce this item. Circular economy principles indeed.

Of course, the ultimate aim will be that such principles provide the underpinning context for all IKEA’s ranges, something that the company is working towards.

Nevertheless, in the short term it is worth celebrating that the company’s latest new products – the ones sold for a young and dynamic customer base – are based on colour, life, creativity, great design … and sustainability.

 

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