JU students develop IKEA kitchen products
Eight students studying on the master's degree programme Product Design at the School of Engineering (JTH), Jönköping University (JU), have developed prototypes of a series of new kitchen products for IKEA.
“Without exaggerating, this is the best student presentation I have ever seen," says Patrik Bolin, Innovation Deployment Manager at IKEA of Sweden AB.
The eight JTH students were commissioned by IKEA last autumn to develop a kitchen product that would make kitchen work easier and more fun. The students took the project one step further and developed a whole series of kitchen items, which can be used in combination with each other. Before the products can be presented, IKEA will investigate whether to start producing them. IKEA wanted the kitchen items to be simple, functional and of good quality. Also important was the low environmental impact and a low consumer purchase price. Besides that, the students believe that their kitchen series will contribute to an improved work flow, as well as save on kitchen counter space and blend into the kitchen environment.
"Very high quality"
The representatives from IKEA's product development department in Älmhult who participated in the project are very impressed with the students' final designs.
“They've delivered above our expectations. The quality of these prototypes is very high. We need young, talented people like them at IKEA," says Patrik Bolin.
He and his colleagues believe that the simplicity of the products means that people would use them extensively and emphasized that the prototype design was a good example of how to put the customer’s needs first. They also praised the students for coming up with good IKEA names for their prototypes.
Bejamin Mastroianni Gebl is one of the students in the project and appreciates having had the chance to work extensively with IKEA.
“They allowed us to be very creative from the start and then pick out the best products," he says.
Irene Ramos Lapesa, an exchange student from Spain, thinks that the IKEA project has been a fantastic opportunity, and has meant a lot to her personally.
“It was when I visited IKEA for the first time when I was a child that my interest in product design was aroused. That is why this project was something of a dream for me," she says.
Irene Ramos Lapesa wants to focus her career on sustainable and responsible design and thinks that the collaboration with IKEA is a perfect start for that.
An insight into IKEA's vision
For student Gustav Eriksson gaining insight into IKEA's vision and design process has been very instructive, especially as it has taken place during the coronavirus pandemic, with all the limitations this has imposed.
“We have all worked a lot during this project, so it feels great that it ended with such a good response from IKEA. As a designer, you are very much looking forward to the day you can go to a store and pick up what you have actually designed yourself. We'll see if it happens here,” he says.
IKEA's project with JTH 2017 resulted in several real products, but Patrik Bolin asks the students to be patient at this prototype stage. The development work with studies, material selection and tests at IKEA's product development department in Älmhult can take several years before a decision will be made as to whether they will manufacture the students’ products.