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IKEA DELAKTIG, circular economy and aluminium

IKEA, the world's largest furniture retailer, invited industrial designer Tom Dixon to discuss doing something special. Both brought ideas to the table. Aluminium brought them together.

Image IKEA DELAKTIG, circular economy and aluminium

Something special turned into IKEA DELAKTIG, a product platform based on circular-economic principles. In simpler words, it is modular furniture that can be disassembled and rearranged into completely different pieces of furniture.

"Aluminium is the catalyst behind DELAKTIG," says IKEA’s creative leader James Futcher. 

“Initially, there were many ideas being discussed and then Tom presented this idea of challenging the way sofas are made today. And we saw that aluminium could help us make a platform that was changeable over time as your life changes,” says Futcher. “We also wanted to use a strong long-lasting material that you could easily add things to.

“This is where the idea of an open-source sofa was born. Once we started to work with the material, we could quite easily see the possibilities of how to use the grooves in the aluminium for fitting products on to.”

Naturally anodized finish

Aluminium is the right material for DELAKTIG because it is light and strong, and because adding features is easy once the metal has been extruded into a profile. “It also looks good,” says Futcher.

The finish for the frame is a naturally anodized process. This extra layer on the surface of the aluminium makes it more scratch-resistant and protects it from corrosion. Window frames typically use natural anodizing for the finish.

“Using aluminium also gives you the opportunity to make a strong knock-down construction,” says Futcher. “It will last for a long time and can be handed down in generations.”

And that’s the idea: That DELAKTIG products can be reused instead of being thrown away. That a sofa can be turned into a chair, a chair into a bed. And so on.

“I would hope to see the bed or sofa in 20 years being used in a completely unexpected functionality – one that I did not predict myself in the first place. That would be success,” says Dixon.

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