What makes a home?

Whilst over 200 journalists from all over the world were visiting IKEA in Älmhult for Democratic Design Day they could see an exhibition that explores our understanding of – the home. The exhibition is a visualisation of the latest IKEA Life at Home Report.

In this film Mathias Worbin, Creative Leader at IKEA of Sweden, walked our reporter Tanya König through the exhibition, discussing the most important learnings from the report.

Better Shelter

Upon entering the exhibition, before delving into the Life at Home Report, visitors meet the Better Shelter, a temporary shelter designed to help the millions of people worldwide who have fled armed conflicts, persecution or natural disasters.

The question addressed here is “and what is a home for the people that don’t have one?” This is the result of a collaboration between the IKEA Foundation and the UNHCR Refugee Agency.

The shelter resembles a house, with semi-hard, non-transparent walls and is a flat-pack construction. It is currently being used in Botswana, South Sudan, Niger, Greece, Djibouti, FYR of Macedonia, Iraq, Nepal and Ethiopia.

Life at Home Report #3 – what makes a home?

The first Life at Home report was published online in 2014. It was a global survey, interviewing 1000 people in 8 cities. The 2016 report interviews 12,000 people in 12 cities focusing on changing attitudes to the home. Why does IKEA invest so much in the Life at Home Report? Because: “exploring what makes a home is the first step of democratic design.” The survey is an opportunity to identify the starting points for creating better homes in the future.

The four different areas of the Life at Home Report: place, relationships, space and things, are explored in the exhibition.

exploring what makes a home is the first step of democratic design

Place is interpreted with an immersive 360-degree film by the Danish Gehl architects. The film focuses on the relationship between the built environment and people’s quality of life.

A sensory-based installation allows the visitor to experience how light, sound, touch, smell and taste affect them. The new IKEA survey shows that senses affect our feelings of home. Brains are hardwired to connect a specific smell, sound or touch to their feelings about homes.

We can see the report broken down into numbers: we learn that in Shanghai 49% of people think it’s more important to have good wi-fi than social spaces in their homes. A great illustration of how the home is much bigger concept than what we normally define it as.

Prospecting the future at IKEA

On top of the Life at Home report, the exhibition also explores, as described by Matias Worbin, “the different ways to go forward at IKEA.”

Students at the design school ECAL, in Lausanne, Switzerland were invited to collaborate with IKEA. Design Manager Marcus Engman has asked them to explore the question: if you only had 50 things to furnish your apartment, what would they be and look like? Their work is on display in the exhibition. Read more about the student’s findings here.

The “Room for all exploration” is a creative take on what a future home could look like. A full scale test of what we learned from the different parts of the report. It’s a home where the space for all the regular functional areas of the home are minimised, all to create more space for the things you really want to do in your life.

And lastly, displayed were the outcomes of a session where the whole design and product development department at IKEA examined and reflected upon the Life at Home Report. As Matias Worbin says in the film: “At IKEA design is teamwork so it’s super important that all the designers and product developers have the same foundation from the insights and learnings from the report.” During the workshop the design teams draw on their own experiences related to the findings of the report and share them with the colleagues. Read more about this workshop here.

See the full Life at Home Report #3: what makes a home?