Sneak Peek - IKEA's PS 2017 Prototypes

While in Älmhult we had the chance to view IKEA's PS 2017 collection (in prototype versions) and talk to Product Developer, James Futcher about the ideas behind the collection which he worked on along with Creative Leader, Marcus Engman and their team of designers ( Hanna Dalrot, Ida Pettersson, Paulin Machado, Sarah Fager, Nike Karlsson, Jon Karlsson, Ola Wihborg, Mikael Axelsson, Marcus Arvonen, Ina Vuorivirta, Gustav Carlberg, Truly truly: Kate and Joel Booy, Maja Gansyniec, Thomas Sandell, Matali Crasset, Henrick Preutz and Monika Mulder).  Here's what he explained:

"This year's PS collection 2017 is all about comfort and it's about exploring what comfort is because today comfort is very static, thick and bulky, how can we look at defining comfort in a different way. So that's one of the challenges for the PS collection. But also to make a collection that is young, funky, it has an attitude for the new young, many that are moving into the cities. So the big starting point for the collection, to really make sure we work with democratic design, was to have workshops around comfort and solving life at home for living in small spaces and to really brainstorm those ideas. But before the designers could put pen to paper we actually took them all to factories and suppliers to understand materials and techniques so then we could really develop in the IKEA way and that's when we're best on the factory floor, to really understand material and techniques so that we can design products that will solve people's needs at home, but also products that we can make."

"One of the products we've been working on, is a quite interesting chair here.  We decided to work with a lot of known materials that we can understand and work with, metal, wood and textiles but here we were presented with a technique called "3D knitting" and you see it a lot on flyknit night trainers, and it's a way of knitting a frame for a chair without any stitching, very lightweight, very thin and if you sit on it, it's very comfy."

 "Also when we talk about in the living room, not every home needs a TV and a sofa, what could be a place for relaxing, cocooning and being together.  A rocking chair to spend time on your own or with the family. "

"Not everybody is sitting by the dining table for dinners anymore.  If you live in a small space you eat perhaps in front of the TV, you work. But how could we have a folding table that was really smart, at the right height that one could eat from, work from, but if you live in a small space, what do you do with it when you don't need it. This table folds up in a really nice way and then you can just move it when it's not in use. Also, when living in a small space, you might not always have an extra chair, but why not take the camping industry with their folding chairs with great solutions and make a great indoor folding chair that you want to have in your home. Designed by Jon Karlsson, there's also a loveseat option as well. And that's where I think we're really good at IKEA when we're on the factory floor but looking at known techniques, so taking the mechanism that works and then redesigning it."

"Looking at the fashion industry, it's very popular today to see quilting, it's a really nice expression, it looks fun, young and funky, kinda pop. But then you could cozy up and throw it over a bed or a sofa, but having a nice soft material on the inside that can evoke the senses, you can stay cozy with."

Also when we talk about comfort that it's not so good to sit in the sofa all afternoon, that it's good to move around, here we're looking into a kind of home furnishing kind of yoga mat that you could lay on the floor, make the floors comfy, you can sit and lay on, to encourage that move of jumping around and play, and having fun at home.

"Another product that is also fun, is looking into life at home and how people live in other countries. In India it's very popular to have a product that's called a divan, a sleeping/sitting solution, so what our interpretation of a divan would be that you could sleep on it, sit on it, and then you could also take the pads off of it and put them on the floor to sit on, roll them up and lean up against the wall, so to really challenge new ways to living in the fluid home with different product types.

"One of the biggest challenges when we talk about the upholstery industry is it's very big foam and how everybody's sofa looks the same and the younger generation want to have their personalized products and how can we do something in a different way and how Australian designers, Kate and Joel Booy have come up with something quite radical way that you can make your own sofa," says Futcher.

 As Kate and Joel explain, "Yeah what we really broke down, as James said was what is the comfort part of the sofa? These are just cushions, which when you sit on them are really soft and comfortable. We were playing with materials and we were like how can we break this down and when we folded it (like a butterfly) together we got this nice form and we were like, okay, let's make it like a giant cushion bed almost. They just strap on with bungee chords to the frame, it's super minimal and by being so tight like this it really creates this volume that's really great for comfort. And there's so much there to make it your own and it'll be interesting to see what people will do with it. The final outcome of how the pillows will be supplied, is not all worked out yet, but the idea is that perhaps people can use some of their own pillows, use some of the ones that are available, and create their own design."
The chairs intended for indoor use, are split in half so that, you can have one or you can join two together to make a complete sofa. "

"And the other thing we designed, says Joel Booy is this rug. We were looking at nature and how grass flows around a hill and these kinds of things, to give this feeling of comfort visually. The softness of it and it's a bit organic, and works well with the metal of our sofa. "

The IKEA PS 2017 collection will have 35 products which redefine comfort to make it more personal, and will launch in August of 2016.

Jan Halvarson

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