And the Democratic Design Award winners are…
Of course, each design requires teamwork—those people that help realise the IKEA vision of creating a better everyday life for the many people. “From the factory producers to the product development teams to the designers, it’s important to show the difference in how we work within design compared to others,” says Marcus Engman, Design Manager at IKEA of Sweden AB.
it’s important to show the difference in how we work within design compared to others
And fulfilling all five principles of Democratic Design is not an easy task, so in order to give exceptional products the extra attention they deserve, IKEA of Sweden presented the Democratic Design Awards in August, with a big party to celebrate.
“This was the second year of the awards,” says Marcus. “We are always evolving and doing things better, and that includes this as well. It’s another step in our continuous work to only develop products that we love. We’re still learning and it’s great fun.
“It’s about showing off the great work in Democratic Design”, Marcus continues. “We are not only making things – we are making things better.” From the nominations, which are put forward by each product development team after careful analysis of all of their products, a jury made up of seven managers meets to debate and vote for the winners.
“There is a lot of discussion, because we all come from a different approach and angle when it comes to Democratic Design,” explains Marcus. “It has been thrilling to select the winners. Excellent design for a low price is always a goal – and this year, there were a lot of good examples and major achievements.”
Here are this year’s award winners:
Best Democratic Design News
This is a series that makes you feel at home, no matter where you are. “This year, we focused a lot on living around food,” says Marcus. “This series is approved for both office and restaurant use all over the world, so the quality is really amazing.” Plus, combining great quality craftsmanship with IKEA classic visible fittings cuts costs and makes assembly even easier. “For many years, we’ve used invisible fittings and this can make the costs go up,” he explains. “Here, we use visible fittings, which are attractive and actually part of the design. They’re copper plated and add a bit of sparkle.” NORRÅKER products feel effortless, familiar, and homey, and make dining great for even more of the many people, and for a long time.
Best innovation in material and technique into final product
Fire retardant interior lining fabric for upholstery
An unseen hero that not only enables us to live up to the highest safety standards in the world, SKUMMESLÖV gives our entire comfort range a significant competitive advantage, while eliminating the need to use chemical flame retardants. “No one has succeeded in fireproofing upholstery before,” says Marcus, “and this will be a big thing. It’s a low cost, amazing innovation for the future.” Good for the planet, good for the many people and good for us.
Best product improvement
NORDIC FRUIT WATER
With all natural flavours and 50% less sugar, the NORDIC FRUIT WATERS are healthier, more sustainable and a more cost-efficient product. A higher dilution rate also makes supply more efficient. It tastes great too – of raspberry, pear, and lemon. Good taste really is good business.
Best innovation in life at home
NORDLI & MORIK
It’s a modern paradox: mobile technology means we’re more dependent on cords than ever before — and we know that nearly everyone charges their phone by the bed. These innovative yet intuitive products meet new needs and solve old problems by using embedded induction to charge phones. Bedrooms just got a whole lot smarter.
Lightweight board material
ÖVERTAG is how we describe our competitive advantage at IKEA of Sweden—low costs, low prices, high volumes, good logistics and production processes through better investments, good quality, and overall togetherness with our suppliers.
This year’s winner of Best ÖVERTAG is M-Board, a unique, next-generation board material that truly closes the loop. It is created from waste material and utilises a completely new production process, using less material while producing a strong, low-price board. It successfully encompasses every aspect of what true ÖVERTAG is.
Best new Breath-Taking Item
FLITIG & TUFFING
Cot and bunk bed
“These two products bring things to a completely new level for IKEA of Sweden,” says Marcus. “There’s a lot of regulation in terms of design for kids, and being able to achieve this quality, at this price, is really amazing.” FLITIG and TUFFING overcome challenges IKEA product developers have struggled with for years and were both developed with child safety in focus—and for both products, mesh turned out to be just the right solution. The first one uses mesh because it’s safe, transparent, soft and lightweight. The second one combines mesh with metal and a lower height than usual to create a low-cost, low-weight product. Both are great examples of how we can create low prices without compromising on our high Democratic Design demands.