Although IKEA products have become synonymous with various levels of hackability, the company has been yet to celebrate the “IKEA Hack” movement under their own brand, at least until now.
Back in 2013, the Swedish house wares giant started a project along with IDEO, Lund University’s School of Industrial Design and Eindhoven University of Technology called “Kitchen Revolution 2025″. The project was aimed at exploring what the kitchen of the future would look like and include new behaviors (such as food production or off-grid living) into the final design.
Unsurprisingly, a group of first-year Masters students from Lund University’s School of Industrial Design chose to capitalize on the growing IKEA Hack trend to create a modular product design that allows users to easily construct and change the design of their kitchen cheaply and efficiently without sacrificing aesthetic value.
The first-year Masters students who were on the project team, which includes Linus Hagberg, Philipp Süssmann and Niklas Papen, began their research by identifying existing trends that are likely to continue over the next decade (hacking and customization) and interviewed young families who were in the process of remodeling their kitchen with existing products from IKEA.
“In their mind, IKEA is offering kitchens with a high functionality at a low price,” said the team.
“But there is missing a personal touch. IKEA is offering mass produced products which always involves the ikea look and cannot consider the unique personality.”
Upon further research, the team identified an opportunity to design a kitchen system with as much flexibility and freedom as possible for the user to “design and continuosly modify the kitchen in an effortless, inspiring and joyful way.”
The resulting solution – which sounds straight out of the IKEA catalog – is called IKEA HACKA.
Consisting of a modular frame system made from beams and joints, the HACKA allows users to easily customize their kitchen design and be able to build around existing appliances or environments – almost like an adult’s building block set.
In total, the system features four different types of joints for connecting different combinations of beams. These include a 3-Beam Joint (the 3-Beam is the will be your most common joint in your frame. Just using this one you can build a basic frame structure), a 4-Beam Joint (the 4-Beam-Joint will come to use when you build longer frame structures. This joint achieves to add legs in a connected frame layout), a 2-Beam Joint (the 2-Beam Joint is the most flexible one. It will be used to add extra beams in your structure. It can also be easily installed in an existing frame) and an L-Joint (the L-Joint is used to attach planes, surfaces and furnitures as well as any objects).
With any combination of the joints, a user is capable of setting up beams at any length, and – through the use of an included jig and measurement guide – cut beams to size easily using a standard handsaw … which obliterates the need for any heavy-duty power equipment.
“IKEA HACKA is the future kitchen that bridges the gap between the hacking movement and the modular systems of today,” adds the team.
“Its flexibility helps people to create their own solutions, and makes it easy for them to “hack” it to suit their unique needs and style.”
As a part of the project component for IKEA, the team imagined dozens of possible combinations that can be created using the HACKA system:
Currently, the team has setup an outdoor kitchen that utilizes their HACKA system in Milan for a part of an IKEA exhibit. The low-tech kitchen design offers a simple outdoor solution for food production and preparation using elements of Swedish and Italian design. As a part of the execution under the IKEA sponsorship, the team has included a range of IKEA products in the final design.
“We want to help people see the possibilities so they feel inspired to create something with the system and try to hack it themselves. It’s not just a modular system with building blocks, but something that ist meant for hacking – something you can make your own.”
Read more about the project in-full by heading over to IKEA HACKA.
Read more about CAD, product design and related technology at
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