Ikea’s innovation, research and design lab Space10 has announced its closure after almost ten years, coinciding with the launch of a new website to document its history and pass on useful guides and tools to others.
The project was first launched in 2014 on a three-year contract and “was not meant to last”, says Space10 co-founder Simon Caspersen. Its eventual closure comes after “months of conversations” he says, as Ikea is looking to “restructure its innovation initiatives”.
“We decided together that this was a good moment to close Space10 and give room for new adventures”, he adds.
According to Caspersen, the closure itself is “testament to the achievements of the collaboration”, as the team has “accomplished everything we initially intended to achieve”.
Space10’s main goals had included “inspiring a new innovation culture within Ikea”, which it looked to integrate into the furniture company’s different organisations.
This has included “facilitating new partnerships and business ventures”, as well as introducing concepts and strategies, such as the new store format for urban areas, and working towards a “more healthy and sustainable food menu for Ikea customers”, Caspersen says.
The experimental subject matter of its projects has spanned everything from: “flat-pack housing, self-driving cars and vertical farming, to distributed clean energy, open-source design, as well as experiments within generative AI and smart home concepts”, Caspersen says.
Digital innovations have included audio and AR collaborations through its Everyday Experiments platform; open-source modular custom-furniture platform Open Fab; and AR app Ikea Place, which allows customers to see furniture in their homes.
Beyond “projects, products or brand value”, however, Caspersen believes it is the change in culture that Ikea will “truly benefit from in the long run”. Equally, beyond Ikea, Caspersen hopes that Space10 is a model for “the value of an open, playful and purpose-driven approach to innovation”.
Testament to this spirit, he says, is the public archive of work on the website: “We founded the organisation on a wish to support and co-create with some of the most progressive talents out there, while sharing our insights, ideas and concepts openly with the public”.
As well as sharing projects, Space10 is also publishing the team’s insights reports, internal presentation templates, guidelines and team handbook, “as well as the contact information of 500 partners”, which he hopes will “inspire both people and corporations” after Space10’s closure, Caspersen adds.
“We may be closing our doors, but we want our projects, our learnings, our resources to continue to inspire and be built upon. As much as we could give away to our community, we did.”
Banner image of Space10’s Copenhagen HQ, photo Hampus Berndtson