February 2016, ArchiExpo visited IKEA-sponsored innovation hub Space10 located in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The space hosted a streaming of the main TED event in Vancouver on Thursday 18. Simon Caspersen, director of communications at Space10, welcomed us to the event to meet part of the community. The educational and fun-cinematic evening brought people together, including Space10 CEO and founder Carla Cammilla Hjort.
Friday 19, ArchiExpo was guided around the space for an in-depth tour with one of the architects behind its IKEA-hacked furniture design.
Spacon & X Cleans up the Mess
“It’s located in the meatpacking district, the most popular industrial area at the moment,” Malene Hvidt, architect and partner at Spacon & X, explained before the tour.
Involved in the fish industry, the previous occupants had filled the space with fish tanks and cooler systems. The building was divided into many small rooms, uneven floors and dripping ceilings.
“And broken floors and broken walls,” Caspersen added. “It was a mess.”
Hvidt agreed. “We had lobsters in big fish tanks in the room beside us, where we have our office now. So we thought ‘okay, so it’s a huge challenge, but it’s also really interesting and fun.’”
Challenges: A Listed Building, Horrible Conditions and Tight Guidelines
Space10 came with a list of guidelines expressing very specific needs in regards to space: workshops for 60 people, talks, parties, office space, kitchen, meeting rooms. “We had a plan that needed even more square meters. We also needed a fab lab.”
“There was three times more than there was space for,” Hvidt explained. “It was the perfect challenge for us because that’s what we specialize in: space optimization.”
Beyond this, it’s a listed building, so everything needs to be approved.
“Even changing tiles, if we wanted to change a tile in the wall, it needed to be the same tile,” Hvidt said. “Despite the challenges, we knew Rebel Agency shares our visions.”
Rebel Agency, behind Space10, is a small innovation powerhouse elevated by a global network of diverse experts and trailblazers.
They went through several procedures with the municipality and they had a lot of preparation to do, but once they began the work, it was finished in two months.
Spacon & X decided to break everything down. For the ground floor, they wanted everything to be interchangeable, to pack things up and store them depending on the activity. This is where their IKEA-hacked furniture comes in.
The mobile workshop pod designed for Space10 by the up-and-coming Danish design and architecture studio Spacon & X; presented by Svend Jacob Pedersen.
The Concept of Hacking IKEA
“It started by people passionate about showing how these products could be repurposed to individual taste and needs. To make it pet-friendly, for example,” Caspersen said. “This community is known as IKEA hackers.”
While hacking has always communicated a negative strategy, IKEA-hacked furniture speaks differently.
“It’s true. First, ‘hacking’ was something negative, someone going in to spoil something; here it’s different. This is merging people’s personal needs and creativity with the IKEA products,” Hvidt added.
Furbishing Space10 with IKEA-hacked Furniture
The design team and Space10 decided to hack IKEA furniture in order to showcase where the store could head in terms of furniture design.
“We are an innovation lab, but we don’t focus on product innovation,” Caspersen said. “We didn’t want to use IKEA if we didn’t like it. Then Marlene suggested we hack everything. That fit really well with the whole idea of the space.”
They left some of the furniture as-is, including products from the Ilse Crawford limited edition that they really like. No connections to the Danish IKEA, they had to be as fast as everyone else. Spacon & X had to buy the Crawford pieces immediately after their release.
“We were afraid it would get sold out,” Hvidt said.
“I remember you calling, saying ‘WE GOT IT,’” Caspersen laughed.
No doubt, as Caspersen mentioned, IKEA was pleased the group didn’t go out and get products from competitors, but the choice wasn’t mandatory.
“It was a natural part of the process. We liked the hacking idea,” Caspersen explained.
IKEA-hacked Furniture in Space10
“Space10 was a new concept. We didn’t have any blueprints on how to set up an innovation hub like this,” Caspersen said.
No previous works to base their beginning thoughts on, they let their imagination fly.
“We took the IKEA VITTSJÖ shelving unit and put other materials into it, like pine plywood and cushions, making a sitting niche which wasn’t actually a part of it,” Hvidt said. “We took fun parts of their sofa arrangements, lamps and shelves and transformed it into something else.”
They used Frosta stools, a VITTSJÖ Laptop table, planters and Sinnerlig glass jars—all IKEA products—to make the Roller Boy seen below. Their Plant Poles consist of the Frosta stools, Sinnerlig and Korken glass jars, Stolmen poles and planters; and their Lamp Hacks include Rodd, Sekond and Ledare lamps placed inside Sinnerlig, Sittning and other glass jars and vases. Armapillow brings together the Ektorp, Kivik and SÖDERHAMN footstool and cover, the SÖDERHAMN sofa, Frosta stools, PS 2014 storage modules and the VITTSJÖ Laptop stand.