The most essential for small space living

Imagine you have a small space with room for only the most essential things. When developing RÅVAROR, Eva Lilja Löwenhielm and her team studied new forms of small space living. We talked to the IKEA Design Manager about designing a transformable, flexible and extremely multifunctional collection.

Who would you say RÅVAROR is for?

“The collection is for anyone who is after functionality and versatility of the home furnishing solutions and appreciates straight-forward design language. The collection is ageless: it is a good choice for families living in small spaces in big cities, young people moving to their first home, singles of all ages having a very active lifestyle. The products in the collection are quite simple, low key and basic as such, but they are transformable, flexible, extremely multifunctional, and can work well within 24 hours.”

“The collection is especially relevant nowadays when people need to make most of the homes or adapt to new living situations. I have had to move from a bigger house to a small space myself recently, and I have gone through the same journey.”

Can you describe the design process? Where did you start?

“We started to work with collection by defining the essentials. What is really essential around you every day? What products around do you keep for a longer time and how do they work in different life situations?”

“Imagine you have an empty apartment and you need to put together a list of the things you can’t live without. We started with having a list of 50 essentials, from cutlery and plates to sofas and storage units. During the design process we decided to focus on furniture items, and now there are 20 most essential products in RÅVAROR collection.”

“While developing the concept and design of the collection, we took in a lot of knowledge about the new life situations, studying new forms of small space living, for example ‘container living’.”

“We have studied the special needs of single people with active social life. Those who are always moving things around – they need to make room for workout in the morning, to work from home during the day, to welcome friends for a party in the evening. When designing this collection, it was very important to have a small space as a starting point. We also focused on value for money aspect, ensuring that the products are of high quality and will last long.”

What was the most challenging part of designing RÅVAROR?

“The main challenge was to get versatility in each and every product with the right quality and keep the simplicity of the design. We aimed to add castors to as many products as possible to enhance their flexibility, but we had to drop this idea for some of the functions to secure the safety and quality aspects in the first place. But in total, this is a unique mix of easily transformable, multifunctional, movable objects that will help you to easily create space that works for you.”

The products have multi-use functions. Can you give us an example?

 “This collection has a special geometry which makes it the essence of functionality in various living situations where you want to make more with less.”

“With RÅVAROR, each item does many things. A bench on castors is also a storage shelf that you can hide under a table. You can use a tray with folding legs to serve the food, to eat in bed or to elevate your keyboard for a stand-up workstation. The moving wardrobe rack allows you to rearrange the space quickly, and you can also use it as transport trolley if you have to move to a new place.”

Anything that you are especially happy with, looking at the result?

“For me, it is the totality. I am so happy about how the collection got together. Each piece is thought through in every small detail, for example, the lacquer for the dining tables which gives them nice tactile woody feel. This collection is a perfect neutral visual base that you can personalise and adapt to your space.”

“RÅVAROR gives you a lot of value for money, which is especially valid today when people want to make more conscious choices. It is a collection of smart easy functions that have great quality and can serve for several generations in the family.”

RÅVAROR will be available globally from September 2020.