A new collaboration between UTS and IKEA will provide a local design hub for thought leaders, aspiring young designers and the community to innovate together to create a better everyday life through thoughtful design.
Located at the UTS campus in Ultimo, Sydney, the IKEA x UTS Future Living Lab will push the boundaries of innovation, research and experimentation to develop new design approaches and smart technologies for the unique needs of Australian life at home.
The lab will bring together IKEA expertise with 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's research on the nature of Australian domestic spaces will give IKEA a unique insight into the specific conditions that exist within the Australian context. In turn, UTS design students will work with some outstanding designers from IKEA to transform future living concepts and ecosystems into the way we will live tomorrow. Through this dialogue, the lab will investigate the future of Australian living spaces spatially, atmospherically and digitally.
Jan Gardberg, Country Manager, IKEA Australia, said: “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.
“We are excited to be working with UTS, the leading Design school in NSW, to see how young Australians approach design today. With the IKEA x UTS Future Living Lab we 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.”
“We already do a lot to improve the lives of many people, and alongside UTS we hope to take this vision even further. It’s about exploring new ways to enable a better and more sustainable life for Australians.”
Thea Brejzek, Professor for Spatial Theory at UTS said: “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.
“In particular, this exciting collaboration allows us to develop and test the futuring of integrated design approaches between interior architecture and product design that are concerned with the future of living in a rapidly changing Australian urban environment,” she said.
IKEA and UTS share a natural curiosity and desire to find solutions to meet the changing demands in the homes of today and tomorrow.
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 the global IKEA HQ in Älmhult, Sweden, and gain firsthand experience and understanding of the business and production processes, from design conception to the retail floor.
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’.