From grandfather's fishing boxes to playful storage
When product developer Petra Kammari Enarsson was a young student and often moved, she used to furnish her apartments with old fishing boxes given to her by her grandfather who lived on the west coast of Sweden. Years later, when Petra was developing the new EKET storage series, those boxes came to mind. How could she make the series as flexible as the boxes?
New technologies, new hobbies, a new family member ... both small and large changes affect life and people's needs at home. Not least when it comes to all the things that we need space for. Petra Kammari Enarsson is a product developer at IKEA and often visits the homes of customers to experience their everyday living and how good storage can make life at home a little easier. She remembers a family in Copenhagen which expanded every other weekend with the daughter from a previous relationship.
”She didn't have her own room, but the family had a solution where she had a loft bed in the living room and her private things were in a chest on the floor”.
Petra thinks it's a good example of how more and more people are living in small spaces, and that a large part of everyday living takes places in the living room where we want things to be both practical and stylish.
Flexible furniture for new needs
Another obvious trend around the world is that many people move more often - just as Petra did when she was young.
”The problem is that a lot of storage furniture is so inflexible – upon moving or new needs arising, they can't be adapted. This means storage isn't optimal and it's difficult to keep track of all your things”.
These insights inspired Petra and her colleagues to start looking at a more flexible and personal storage solution – something that can easily be updated so that people don't have to buy new furniture as soon as something in life changes. Petra then started to think about those fishing boxes she had when she was young and which were so easy to stack and move as needed. What if you could make a piece of furniture which consists of various smart modules that can be easily moved around, removed and added to?
Building with blocks
Petra and her team started by ordering cardboard boxes in various sizes. They took the boxes to different room environments where they moved them around like building blocks – stacking and combining them in various ways. The team also researched detailed facts about storage: on average, how many magazines do we have at home? What’s the ideal height for people to put down their mobile phones?
”Many of us put keys, telephones or bags in a specific place when we come home. We usually do it automatically, without thinking about it”, says Petra.
The height that seems to suit most people is 80 cm, so a shelf at that height was a given in the mix of shelves, drawers and cabinets in different colours and styles that eventually became the EKET storage series.
”I'm so pleased that we chose to prioritise playfulness and freedom of choice with all the colours and sizes of EKET”, says Petra, who's looking forward to visiting more homes. ”I think that the customers will find lots of exciting combinations that we haven't even thought of!”.