IKEA today previewed its seventh annual Ikea PS collection, showing at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile (Milan Furniture Fair) and arriving in European stores in August. But the bigger buzz was its move into home electronics, with the new Uppleva (Swedish for "uplifting") hybrid HDT/home entertainment center.
Integrating RCA's HDTV system into a flat-pack entertainment unit, the TV-embedded furniture "comes in three designs and will be sold first in Sweden, France, Poland, Germany and Italy in June, with a few more markets due to launch in the second half of the year," according to the Associated Press. "By the first half of next year, it will be available worldwide, with the cheapest costing about 6,500 Swedish kronor ($955)."
To test consumers' appetite for its latest innovation — which comes with a five-year warranty and integrates TV, Blu-ray, web inputs, speakers, one universal remote and, we presume, a very smart allen key —IKEA commissioned a five-country survey by pollster YouGov.
The survey found that "three out of four people want less visible cables in their living rooms and 50 percent wanted to reduce the amount of electronics lying about," AP notes, while "60 percent of the people asked have between three to four remote controls at home."
“We’ve realized that people are watching more TV and are using electronics in their living rooms more and more,” IKEA spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson told AP. “We came up with this because we found that people want to get rid of the cables and they don’t want those mountains of remote controls either.”
The 2012 PS collection’s focus, meanwhile, is similarly on cutting-edge Scandinavian furniture design that maintains the brand’s core values of quality at affordable prices, and this year’s product takes 60 years of IKEA design form, function and sustainability, combining the best of the past, present and future.
As examples of the collection's sustainable designs (see more in the videos below):
• designer Wiebke Braasch's new PS floor lamp transforms a tulle-covered '50s table lamp into a ballerina-like LED floor lamp creating lighting that consumes up to 85% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs
• Nike Karlsson’s three-seat sofa takes metal tube sofas of the '70s and filled them with pocket springs that are easier to recycle and come from the mattress industry
• and emphasizing natural materials, the IKEA PS 2012 side table and drawer use bamboo, a strong, fast-growing natural resource that helps sustain endangered forests.
With the DIY retailer moving to scrap wooden pallets and increase its commitment to sustainable wood in products, sustainability is top of mind for the brand. Heck, it's even reducing its retail footprint — at least for its new tongue-in-cheek digital campaign which compresses an entire store into a single banner ad.
“At IKEA, we never stop looking for better ways to do things. For the IKEA PS 2012 collection, we looked at our history for inspiration, and challenged our designers to bring their designs forward with innovative products that belong in the future,” commented Janice Simonsen, IKEA U.S. Design Spokesperson and lead blogger for the Design by IKEA blog. “And of course, we asked them to do it all with affordability, as we believe good design belongs in real homes — everybody’s homes.”
"Families with kids, people who live in small spaces, people with limited budgets – there's something for everyone with this collection," says Mats Nilsson, range strategist with IKEA of Sweden. "Whether it's one piece or many, these IKEA PS products are meant to inspire people and meet their needs and desires at home."
Since its 1943 founding in Sweden in 1943, IKEA has consistently delivered quality design and function at reasonable prices…and encouraged the average person’s ability to self-assemble. With 330 IKEA stores in 40 countries — and now a smart move into tech-smart furniture and more sustainable design — the company's brand recipe is obviously working well.
Below, check out Ikea's Banksy-like street art promoting the 2012 PS collection preview at the Milan furniture fair, along with promos produced for Milan — including chief sustainability officer Steve Howard on its greener LED lighting: