Future living and design democracy with IKEA’s research lab, SPACE10

If IKEA can be credited with bringing design to the world, then SPACE10 has our future in its hands. Founded in November 2015 as an external think-tank for IKEA, the Copenhagen research lab is dedicated to exploring how humankind might live in the next few decades – information that is then fed back to IKEA in myriad forms. With teams researching and experimenting around three themes: Circular Societies, Co-existence and Digital Empowerment, the lab is far from the traditional model of a lumbering trend-forecasting agency producing unrealistic visions of utopia. Relatively small, with a core team of 20 and an evolving team of freelance residents, it delves into realistic possible futures for our society and then presents its findings in art and design projects that aim to engage everyone, not just board members.

“We like to think we see patterns where others see chaos,” says Kaave Pour, creative director at SPACE10. “We start with playful research, explorations into big themes and trends, and work with people and communities in that field – experts, universities, start-ups, designers to unpack them. Then our job is to find the interesting patterns in that and move them forward into things we can actually design, build and test, to validate ideas and see if they’re ones we should bring to the masses. Instead of trying to solve everything in one big, complex solution, we break it down into smaller projects.”...more