What do you need to make your balcony a little nicer, cosier or more organised? To find out, we handed over the reins to people without any previous experience in product development. And the result? Well, we’re not sure if it’s a trellis, a garden arbor or a storage unit. We named it SVANÖ arbor bench, but what you want to call it and how you want to use it, is completely up to you and your balcony.
“We knew we wanted to create something useful for people who live in small spaces but weren’t sure what it should be,” says Jerry Svensson, Product developer.
For inspiration, Jerry and his team threw the normal workflow out the window and formed an online group where they asked the members to contribute. They also turned to visitors at the IKEA museum in Älmhult, Sweden for help. Both groups injected the process with thoughts and experiences from different walks of life in different countries and cultures.
One thing that became obvious was that if you live small, you often have to use the space you have for more than one thing. And when every corner of the home is full, it’s natural to turn to the outside, like the balcony (if you’re lucky to have one).
“So, we realised we didn’t have to create something that was extra small as long as it was multifunctional,” says Jerry.
Many of the suggestions solved several everyday needs at the same time. Like an extra seat for friends or alone time. Somewhere to hang laundry, a place to store stuff or even grow things.
“The things people use their balconies for are countless. No wonder we were a bit puzzled regarding what we should call SVANÖ,” laughs Jerry.