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Beyond Flatpack Culture: Towards a New Ecology of Modulari

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Year 4 - Interaction Design at The Glasgow School of Art

This project is a playful exploration that seeks to probe the absurdity at the heart of the IKEA contract with the global middle classes. The unusable furniture modelled prototypes are inspired by a machine learning model which generated assembly diagrams based on pre-existing IKEA ones.

The prototypes demonstrate absurdity at multiple scales: IKEA’s modularity does not support reuse & recycling, it could be a big obstacle to circularity, and its price point has made it an all-or-nothing lifestyle for millions of urban dwellers. The pieces are unusable. They are the equivalent of designed landfill. The underlying design values are simplistic and do not lend themselves to a more complex ecology of furniture nodes which could have multiple uses assembled in different ways, and evolving over time. Many students get the IKEA experience upon entering university then have to throw it all away like disposable cutlery when they graduate. And, at the end of this short cycle it makes you feel fundamentally bad. You can’t resell it. Nobody wants broken IKEA furniture. It is cumbersome to dispose of. 

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