Ikea launches ‘future living’ lab in Sydney

Ikea and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) have launched an innovation lab that aims to develop new design approaches and smart technologies for the unique needs of Australian life at home.

Located at the UTS campus in Ultimo, Sydney, the Ikea x UTS Future Living Lab brings together Ikea expertise, academics and students from the UTS Interior Architecture and Product Design programs, as well as designers, design organisations and the community to generate new ideas to produce prototypes, exhibitions and events.

The lab will investigate the future of Australian living spaces spatially, atmospherically and digitally, with the resulting research expected to give Ikea unique insights into the specific conditions that exist within the Australian context.

“As a company, we are firm believers that great ideas can come from anywhere and anyone and that collaboration is the best tool to drive innovation on a global scale,” Jan Gardberg, Ikea Australia country manager, said.

“We are excited to be working with UTS…to see how young Australians approach design today…[W]e want to channel the next generation of designers to explore the issues that are changing the industry and Australian living, whether it’s sensory design, sustainability, personalisation, smart technologies and more.”

The collaboration will also provide practical experience for the next generation of Australian designers. As part of the program’s inaugural year, the students will have the opportunity to travel to Ikea’s global headquarters in Älmhult, Sweden, and gain first-hand experience and understanding of the business and production processes, from design conception to the retail floor.

“The emphasis Ikea puts on sustainability and their understanding of how we live with technology very much aligns with our aims, expertise and interests at UTS. That includes the Ikea ambition to be a restorative and regenerative ‘circular economy’ business,” Thea Brejzek, professor for spatial theory at UTS, said.

The launch of the innovation lab follows previous successful collaborations between Ikea and the UTS School of Design. In recent projects, UTS students were invited to bring an Australian perspective to renowned British designer Tom Dixon’s ‘open platform’ Delaktig range, while a second student workshop explored how to improve the living room through the senses and ‘invisible design’.


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