Siri Skillgate in Tokyo
Siri Skillgate in Tokyo

From outer space to buzzing concrete jungle

A lot has happened since. The IKEA team has travelled to Japan to gain knowledge and inspiration for the upcoming collection, RUMTID – an exploration of what the needs of future urban, small space living will be. Wanna know what it’s like to sleep in 2,5 square meters? Keep reading!

From Mars to Tokyo capsule

A couple of months have passed since the Mars Desert Research Station visit in Utah. Remember?

”For the RUMTID collection, we are looking to be inspired by the extremes that come with going to space – a reality for astronauts and space explorers, one that a few years ago was looked upon as impossible. We’re interested in learning from these extreme scenarios and connect them back to Earth, focusing on urbanization and small space living,” Siri Skillgate, a recently graduated designer from Lund University School of Industrial Design explains.

The journey has continued. But this time in Tokyo. The IKEA team visited the historical Nakagin Capsule Tower, slept in capsule hotels, discovered a rooftop for beehives and learnt about the concept of social housing. Siri describes some of the highlights from the trip, and how the collection is evolving.

A 2,5-squaremetre retreat?

Get your key at the front desk, a small bag of toiletries, a bathrobe, a pair of slippers and a two-piece pyjama set. Sounds like you’re off to a relaxing spa, right? But no, this is actually the complements to your stay at a capsule hotel in Tokyo.

“Each floor has about 2-3 levels of small pods, like a little nook that you climb into,” Siri describes. Capsule hotels, created to provide the mere necessities to go to sleep, are nothing new in Japan. They’ve been around since the 70’s, and started out as a convenient way for businessmen to stay the night in the city when working late.

“I actually found it to be quite cosy. Traditional hotels can feel a bit outdated in my opinion, considering the fact that a lot of people never actually spend time in the hotel room, but rather out and about exploring the city they’re visiting” Siri smiles.

Siri Skillgate at a capsule hotel in Tokyo
Siri Skillgate at a capsule hotel in Tokyo

A city of contrasts

The one thing that struck Siri the most in Tokyo was contrasts. “All of the houses have the exact same measurements. Everything felt really structured and organised, yet each one with its own distinct character. There’s this tension between limitations and creative solutions in order for homes to be functional. It’s subtle, yet clever,” she describes.

Coming from IKEA, it’s interesting to explore how a city can become an extension of your living room or kitchen

The relationship that people have to their homes in Tokyo versus their immediate surroundings is also contrasting. There’s a large culture around eating and socialising outside of the home, whereas the home is a very personal space – not for show. “Coming from IKEA, it’s interesting to explore how a city can become an extension of your living room or kitchen,” Siri says.

Mother Nature, mobility & modularity

Overall, the experience has been invaluable for the development of the collection. “In Tokyo, there’s a literal built-in thinking around small space living that allows for modularity and mobility. We felt really inspired by all of the interesting solutions in people’s homes and at the capsule hotels – in particularly when it comes to storage.”

Stay tuned for more stories from the team’s trip to Tokyo!

About the RUMTID collection:

The collection is divided into four different launches and will be available for a limited time starting 2020.