At a festival exploring urbanization, Ikea positioned itself as a leader in urban space.

Ikea took over a warehouse in Milan’s Lambrate district during Salone Del Mobile for the Ikea Festival: Let’s Make Room for Life. The Swedish furniture giant teamed up with three creatives to visualize the living room of the future, plus host talks, workshops, parties and even morning yoga.

The transformation of the warehouse into a makeshift Ikea Festival celebrated the functions of what could be interpreted as a living room. “We believe that the living room is the heart of the everyday life,” Sabine Berntsson, manager of product development for Ikea’s Living Room project, told the Innovation Group. “Many activities take place there, and at the same time you’re wishing for the personal space. It’s a public room, but also a private room. It has functional needs but it has an emotional component to it. That is our definition of the living room.”

Ikea’s future living room is designed to address increasing urbanization. By 2050, 70% of the world’s population will live in cities, according to the UN. “It will mean people will live in smaller living spaces, and we have to find a solution to this,” Berntsson continued. “It may mean that we may not even have a traditional living room as we know it and that our homes will become more fluid.”

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Swedish interior stylists Anna Lenskog Belfrage and Pella Hedeby created four room installations at the Festival, based around the themes of growing, creation, harmony and compact living. Each room has a “calm space” for relaxation.

“People want to slow down and live more sustainably in homes where they are able to relax and feel calm,” the designers explained in a press statement. “That’s what we feel too, and have strived to visualize in our living rooms.”

Openhouse, a biannual design and culture magazine, created a living room that revolved around socializing and connecting with people. Meanwhile, British design Faye Toogood focused on play and creativity. Her room included a slide and flooring that used Ikea’s instruction icons as a print.

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The Ikea Festival was also an opportunity for the brand to show off its existing and new products. The Delaktig collection designed by British designer Tom Dixon officially launched at Milan Design Week, and is a multifunctional sofa and bed that can be configured in multiple ways. The idea is that it can adapt to any sized homes and situation throughout its lifetime.

“One product needs to fulfill many wishes,” explained Berntsson, as consumers living more urbanized lives increasingly want multi-purpose furniture. “It’s a smart solution that many more people will have the need for. At the same time, consumers still will want affordable and beautiful products. The Delaktig is a great example.”

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Ikea Festival stage filled with Tom Dixon's DELAKTIG collection

In addition to the furniture and design displays, Ikea commissioned Swedish tech and synth creatives Teenage Engineering for live performances exploring sound, light, and crowd interaction, for a true festival experience. Ikea’s warehouse festival showed the many ways design brands can get creative to address the oncoming urbanization of society.

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Teenage Engineering

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