IKEA, Tom and Parsons School of Design

What if you dress it, add wheels, take it outside, add storage, make it vintage or add technology? What could this open source platform for living do for people living in small spaces or with kids? And how can it evolve during a lifetime?

These are some of the questions twenty students at Parsons School of Design in New York got to work with during the four-day workshop with IKEA and Tom Dixon.

One of them is Sarah Templin, a graduate student in industrial design. “I think it is exciting to see how the construction of the platform is made to be repurposed and used for tonnes of other ideas than a sofa or bed. How this project, with its open source thinking, can help people make a place their own – a home,” says Sarah.

DELAKTIG is designed to help people cope with all the unknowns of the everyday and all the potentials of today’s together/apart life and new technology. It’s made for your friends and family to relax and socialise, with the possibility to use as a bed and tailor the function to suit your living situation.

I think it is exciting to see how the construction of the platform is made to be repurposed and used for tonnes of other ideas than a sofa or bed.

The changing living situations in life got Sarah and her fellow student Danielle Connelly to think about the needs of new families. “When you have a baby your life, including your home, changes dramatically. So we decided to focus on new families and how the platform can cater for all the needs that come when you have a baby”, says Sarah.

Part of the aluminium profile, designed by Tom Dixon in collaboration with IKEA for the DELAKTIG collection.
Part of the aluminium profile, designed by Tom Dixon in collaboration with IKEA for the DELAKTIG collection.

With ANKNYTA, Sarah and Danielle designed DELAKTIG into a nursery platform for new families living in small spaces. It has place for sleep, bonding, nursing, feeding and changing nappies. But it could easily get reconverted into a sofa when the baby phase is over.

Inviting students during the process of DELAKTIG has meant sharing a journey before knowing the final result, but also offering an insight into product development at IKEA and the possibility to work hands-on with a platform which is for real.

Alfred Zollinger, Director of Masters of Fine Arts Interior Design at Parsons, believes this is a good pedagogical approach; to include interaction with real situations in the education. “With DELAKTIG, the students get exposure to a project that is immediate and where all parameters are nonfiction. It’s been very interesting to see the waves of progress among the students when thinking outside the box and how they find their way back on track again,” says Alfred.

Students from Parsons school of design worked with ideas responding to small space living, loneliness, the need for comfort and meeting challenges of waste and natural disasters
Students from Parsons school of design worked with ideas responding to small space living, loneliness, the need for comfort and meeting challenges of waste and natural disasters

Judging from the final presentations, the students seemed triggered by the challenge of creating ideas that are not already on the table and to solve problems of everyday life for the many people. The final presentations on how the platform can be used covered both ideas on responding to small space living, loneliness, the need for comfort and meeting challenges of waste and natural disasters.

“As designers, they need to be able to go out in the world and quickly deliver. In a project like this they get to try that out because there has been no time for doubt, which is good for their future,” says Alfred.

Some of the ideas will be presented during the Milan Fair 4-9 April, where IKEA and Tom Dixon will showcase the DELAKTIG platform for the first time.