It’s that time of year again

Democratic Design Days are the chance to get behind the scenes of IKEA design and development. The annual event held in Älmhult, Sweden is fast approaching and we want to tell you more about it.

“This year we’re curious about designing for the senses. How are things going to taste, look, smell and sound?” says Design Manager at IKEA, Marcus Engman. “At Democratic Design Days we’re going to talk about what we’ve done lately and what is going to happen in the near future. And of course, we would like to invite you to meet all of our new co-labs at the same time.”

Follow the action live

In 2017, the event will be hosted in the Democratic Design Centre, the heart of IKEA design and development. But if you’re not physically in Älmhult, not a problem, you can follow here – your direct link to all the action.

Put an alert in your calendar now for 7th of June at 15:30 CET. Don’t miss the collective gasp when Marcus Engman announces who has recently been visiting Älmhult. There was a huge cheer from the audience when it was announced last year that IKEA was working with both Tom Dixon and HAY Design. Who could it be this year?

You can experience the IKEA design world first-hand by following our social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Take part in the conversation by using the hashtag #IKEAtoday.

What to expect during the day?

The design and development process at IKEA is by no means linear, and for IKEA to be relevant to all the different people all over the world curiosity is key. Inviting other designers who have a unique perspective to collaborate is one way IKEA is investigating new ideas.

IKEA is curious about bringing together industrialisation and personalisation. Is mass-produced uniqueness possible? To find out, IKEA is teaming up with Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek, whose work has always centred around these themes. He will be on-stage talking about the upcoming INDUSTRIELL collection.

This year we’re curious about designing for the senses. How are things going to taste, look smell and sound?

IKEA is curious about how to integrate street culture and sports in a casual and informal way at home. Together with Chris Stamp, owner and creative director of Stampd, IKEA hopes to gain insights about how to use the understanding of a specific subculture in the design process. Did someone say skateboard? Chris will be on-stage at Democratic Design Day talking about how he brought his minimal designs and sporty materials into his collaboration with IKEA.  

But these are just two of the design collaborations that will be featured on Democratic Design Days. IKEA wants to shake up the world and make it a better place. Tune in at 15:30 CET on the 7thof June to find out who else IKEA is teaming up with.

Deep-diving into Democratic Design

In 2016, designers were invited to re-think some IKEA classics in a live-prototyping session. Once again, in the fantastic IKEA Prototype Shop, the public will be able to follow working in-action, this time the collection in focus will be ÖVERALLT.

The two words that will feature in every event will be Democratic Design. The concept of Democratic Design started as an attempt to sum up the core of what design at IKEA should be and goes all the way back to Ingvar Kamprad’s dream in the 1940’s to make good looking furniture that anyone could afford. The idea is rooted in a tradition of functionalism and humanism. It’s the product of the playful attitude towards challenges at IKEA. Today, outside of IKEA it’s used to describe part of the company’s DNA.

There was a huge cheer from the audience when it was announced last year that IKEA was working with both Tom Dixon and HAY Design. Who could it be this year?

In a new book about Democratic Design, it says that you need to be both systematic and chaotic during the IKEA design process. That you need to ask a lot of questions along the way. What problems need to be solved? What knowledge does IKEA have and what knowledge does IKEA need and how much imagination and curiosity do they need to solve it?

Loads of interesting content will be shared during Democratic Design Days and we look forward to bringing you full reports on the day and straight afterwards. So, don’t miss it and see you out there!