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THURSDAY, September 28, 2023

Who knows what’s next?

Who knows what’s next?
FRIDAY, March 30, 2018

With hacker help, Ikea produces a couch-bed set that keeps evolving

DESIGNER TOM Dixon has conceived the “Delaktig” modular bed and sofa that can adopt different styles for Swedish furniture and home-furnishings retailer Ikea. 
Delaktig means “involvement” in Swedish, and with this set, Dixon and Ikea have challenged current norms of seating production. It ticks all the right boxes – aesthetic, affordable, long lasting and “democratic”. 
They chose to work with aluminium because it’s so well suited to the industrial process and it allows for a durable, lightweight frame. Because the frame is extruded, it works as a carrier of attachments, extensions or additions. 

Who knows what’s next?

Ikea and Tom Dixon joined forces to create a modular bed and sofa that can be repeatedly reconfigured.

Its flexibility allows you alter the comfort or add new functions – like maybe a self-made room divider, or a cosy corner for two. 
“I wanted to get involved in industrial production on a bigger scale,” says Dixon. “It’s about breaking out of the perceived boundaries of my trade and trying something new. I’ve always been anxious not be categorised. 
“I started thinking about what we can’t do here at my company, but that I would like to do or have a point of view on. For Tom Dixon the company, it’s simply too difficult to do soft seating – it’s too size-driven, too mattress-driven, and has endless comfort requirements, depending on the country. But Ikea knows and can handle all of it.”
Dixon dropped out of at school, played bass in the band Funkapolitan and taught himself how to weld and eventually produce furniture. It’s safe to say he’s never been one to think inside the box – an obvious quality that both Dixon and Ikea share. 

Who knows what’s next?

 Tom Dixon

For the Delaktig collection, though, it wasn’t their similarities that made the partnership such a success, but rather combining their differences.
“The grass is always greener on the other side,” Dixon says. “I look at Ikea and think, ‘If only I had a workshop like that, if only I had distribution like that, if only I had volumes like that.’ And they’re probably thinking, ‘If only we were smaller, everything would be so much faster and easier.’ I think in a collaboration, that mutual fascination needs to be there.”
But more than a collaboration, the collection is open for everyone to make it their own. During the design process, Ikea and Dixon decided to turn Delaktig into an open-source project. Inspired by the technology industry, they invited 75 design masters’ students to contribute their own fresh ideas. The result was add-ons that will be coming in the future.

Who knows what’s next?

“I became aware of the hacking community around Ikea – these people that turn Ikea products into something unique and personal. I knew I wanted to explore that somehow. When I saw the students’ ideas, it made me realise its potential, that our idea for an open-source platform actually works,” Dixon says.
This is a piece of furniture that can withstand the true test of time. Who knows what Delaktig might transform into from one generation to the next?

Who knows what’s next?

“You get married or you split up, and you might want a different configuration. Or, maybe you’re renting out a spare room to somebody. Don’t chuck Delaktig away if you’re finished with it – turn it into something else, something new. Or save it for the children so they can bring it with them when they move out.”
Delaktig collection is available at Ikea Bangna and Bang Yai.