Monday, October 30, 2017

HDMDH* - Highly Decorative MALM Dresser Hack - my entry into THE SHOW

Chapter 1 - HDMDH*

[picture shows a 3 drawer IKEA Malm dresser hack - features decorative fronts and top, as well as a small backsplash element with accommodations for electrical and a decorative/functional leather strap for securing to the wall]

*Highly Decorative MALM Dresser Hack

I thought long and hard before I selected the image that was going to submit as the front cover for my Design Festival submission. Last year I knew I had a winner - that green, textured, funky print from ABET - which by the way is not available anymore - on another MALM dresser. It was eye catchy, colourful - on top of the design being super functional and a pleasure to use. It looked great printed and attracted the eye on a screen. 

So I guess it was no wonder I went back to the dresser for my 'artsy' hack - yea, this year, it is going to be a bit more 'artistic'? - I want to say - I was eyeing that ABET sheet for a while, it is just soooo decorative; and definitely man-made vs. natural wood grains with a flair. If you come on the 'open day' - Thursday, Jan 18, 2018, I CLOSE AT 10 PM - you can freely browse the furniture, you may even see my 'famoose' base for my SEKTION islands - and at 3pm we will have a discussion about design, and more, deeper, about furniture design. I have some 'controversial furniture design' views, and what I am doing about it. 

Hey! if you are student [but anyone is welcome, if u wanna play hookie from work, by all means] and wanna skip design class for an event during the week, then make it this! Yea! when I was graduating I had big dreams; my designs were gonna change the world; I was gonna make a difference - 10 years later I will tell you that things turned out completely different than what I was expecting.

I will tell you that back in the day, when I worked for others, that IKEA was detested. It was taking work away - instead of getting a 'custom kitchen' - and you know what, those who really need a custom kitchen, will get a custom kitchen, IKEA is not for you - they would base their design on the SEKTION box. Floating shelves fabrication was decimated - that LACK design is just so affordable and so many options. UNTIL.... UNTIL, one day, my boss bought shelves from IKEA and he told me to cut them down, reinforce them back, and cover them in a laminate. It was the best $20 bucks he spent - I say - and he made money. IKEA Hacking.... it just makes sense.

MALM dressers are great for hacking because they are just flats. If you follow some of the work I produce - or actually all - it is a modern aesthetic. I love modernist architecture, follow some interesting to me Instagram accounts - there is such a beauty in that austerity. The 3 drawer MALM dresser is just that - I reviewed MALM dressers in the past, why I like them - it is an exercise in austerity; out of necessity I think, remember, it has to fit the 'light budget' IKEA model; and really what's wrong with pricing your furniture right?.

And so this time I wanted to go completely in the other direction. I WANTED for it to be highly decorative, I wanted for it to be PRETTY.  And I wanted for that decoration for have meaning, imply function - I found it quite difficult to get away from my typical rigid design nature. 

See for me furniture HAS TO BE FUNCTIONAL. Whatever it is, whatever it is made of, whatever the INTENT - it has to be functional. Otherwise it is not furniture. I strongly believe that furniture should be owned by people, many people, AND improve their lives. And as much as I believe in ART, I think the future of furniture is very, very much tied to its functionality. The decorative elements on my MALM hack - the circle, and the strap - have a specific purpose. It is as basic as - I hate when stuff falls behind the dresser, so there should be something stopping it form falling. And I hate when electrical cords are not managed. Every design that I do - HAS CORD MANAGEMENT - and the strap? well, you know, MALM dressers were re-called because they were falling over? Yea, well this model, REMINDS YOU, to 'fix-it-2-the-wall'.

Two more Billy bookcases to design. Got to go. 


Monday, October 2, 2017

ToDo 2018 - U [can] 2 - Design Festival

Chapter 1 - ToDo 2018 - January 2018

TITLE of the show - U [can] 2.

I feel so much pressure now - the event is going to span 2 days. Whereas last year, it was kind of an opening for me - I did just one day; I had a piece on display; I did a 2 hour talk - this year, I am carefully contemplating how to structure the event.

There are several issues that I want to raise with the public - draw attention to, illustrate, inform. It’s gonna be an IKEA Hacking Convention 'part deux' - U [can] 2. Firstly, it will all be about IKEA Hacking and furniture design - the practical, philosphical and whimsical. I will be focusing heavily on DESIGN aspect of IKEA hacking - what can you, as a designer, as a maker, as a Do-It-Yourself person, can achieve by sourcing your 'base elements' at IKEA.

IKEA is an unique entity that more and more is intertwining itself into the fabric of urban environment, and by doing so, has the ability to exert great influence over lives - steer them, whether we are conscious of it or not. For starters, it is a leading global suppliers of furnishings for the masses - affordability is at the core of IKEA - that is by design, fully intentional. But being affordable does not mean that it is ‘cheap’ - their SEKTION kitchen system is amazing it what it achieves, for example; and their Billy Bookcases can be turned into a million other looks - check out my work! COME to the show!

By being such a retail giant it influences manufacturing, sourcing, automation - IKEA influences technology and models of production. Who wouldn’t want to supply to IKEA?

It is influencing Design - this one I am really thinking about. I mean, c’mon! TOM DIXON is doing it! I AM GONNA TAKE ON TOM DIXON! 

Nah.... just kidding!*

Yea, there is just sooo much! IKEA is taking baby steps in terms of ‘the Future’ but I am certain that its designers are predicting the wants and needs of millions of individuals as I am typing this right now! Just think - they introduced a lighting system that you can operate with an app on your phone - the Internet of Things. Imagine how simple that ability is - flick a virtual switch - ON or OFF. But IKEA also makes fridges and other appliances… You’ve seen those ‘smart fridges’ with built in technology, large touch screens and internet connectivity, right? I don’t doubt that IKEA is already working on that technology. Not only that, it is further contemplating the implications of that, ‘how do we expand on that?’, ‘how can we influcence the users?’. I know I would be asking those questions!

I really do think that there is a certain bifurcation in design happening - images that I study on Instagram is one example that I can cite - I want to say it is the 1% and the 99%. I know that it is often a polarizing, inflammatory statement to make, but IKEA really is kind of flattening this ‘contrast’. IKEA products feature an incredible wealth of technology, innovation, creativity - those are the commodities of the future. My work, my labour, my products, things I make - their value lies in the ‘craft+design’ - my ‘old-school’ woodworking skills combined with the creative component of problem solving in a beautiful way [or so I would like to think; you be the judge]. So we kind of overlap with IKEA at the ‘starting line of design’, and then, after the gun goes off, when we start racing head to head, we discover that we are not really racing, that we more likely skip along…. holding hands.

I am a product of IKEA. IKEA created me.


Billy Bookcase hack - still needs to be painted; Tiles need to be done; TV needs to be hung.

[picture shows a built-in Billy bookcases - an IKEA hack - done by Studio Kosnik]

*but I will try! hee hee hee.....