Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Confessions of an IKEA Hacker - What about the Billy Bookcase? - Design Festival Entry

[picture shows a Studio Kosnik designed fireplace with media on-top, /w flex-panel; flanked by series of hacked, built-in Billy bookcases, featuring OXBERG doors, custom base, extra trim and crown mouldings] 

That's my entry to the ToDo 2018 Design Festival. I put it there so it lures the eyes, hopefully. But I do think that this is a nice design - the bookcases fit well, and the fireplace is media friendly [there is a hidden cavity that all the cables run to].

But for the show I am gonna produce some free-standing pieces - more like a nice piece of furniture - a bookcase that all you would need to do is just attach it to the wall. One is going to be modern - very modern. The other is going to be 'Fancy French' - I don't know why I keep calling it that, I guess when I am imagining the final piece, it draws heavily on those rich European interiors that populate my Instagram feed. Yea, I am a definitely a fan of 'trim' - I think a nicely design trim work can elevate the space dramatically, for a comparably low cost. I make it look like a million buck$!

Chapter 1 - The on-line listing is up for ToDo2018 - check it out!

I am gonna start the countdown to the show - that’s how much time I got to prepare, on top of doing working ‘regular job’. I am not complaining - I find that I resolve great deal of design challenges while designing and building for clients - and this show is not going to be different. I am a designer, creative-mind, first and I want to showcase that within the parameteres, resitrictions, of all the work that I take on. Often times it is on the aesthetic portion of it - I sneak in my passion for furniture design into it, by experimenting, see my Instagram to see what I am talking about. But a lot of the times it is just good, practical resolutions to problems like cable management and organization, or viewing angles, or ease of upgrades, etc. Often times I make some outrages suggestions that, as I put it, ‘are only limited by the cost to execute’ - we are not talking about some super fancy designs, more like ‘this, in my opinion, would be the absolute optimum solution for the use of this space’ - and it is often the combination of the flexibility of product and price point of IKEA.

Friday, January 19, 2018, is my PRACTICAL day - I will talk about SKETION and BESTA. I will talk about why I think those two are my ‘GO TO BOXES’. You know, IKEA Hacking is so incredibly popular with the DIY crowd that there are literally thousands of good and great hacks out there - just use the great GOOGLE search engine. It proves that there are some handy AND creative people out there - but they are amateurs, even when done by pros.


I know. I know. There are countless pro installers out there, BUT it is a rare occurance that the DESIGER ALSO INSTALLS. Usually those jobs are separated. The designers will work within the very restrictive IKEA PLANNER TOOL - make sure that there are no 'red areas' and stops. The installer gets a print out and does it.  I think that disconnect is a great barrier to creativity.


I mean, think about this - how many times will an individual design and install an IKEA Sektion kitchen? How many? 2 tops! I say! Now someone like me, who works with these boxes, over and over and over again. And thinks about how to optimize them and be more flexible with them ALL THE TIME - I tend to notice things - things that work really well… I notice things that improve your experience - small things that when resolved initially will down-stream produce a great installation experience - not just that! a great design! I will tell you, that IT IS THE GREATEST pleasure when you adjust your doors or drawer fronts - as that is the last step - and all the gaps are even and balanced and the design looks flawless… It is inspirational. That’s all I can tell you. When you step away from a project and you say to yourself, ‘You know what? I am done. Done. Done. Done.’ Because there is nothing absolutely that you can add or change anymore. Everything is perfect. That’s when I walk away from the project.

I think SEKTION especially - because it comes with SOOOO MANY styles of doors and panels and accessories - is great for desiging and hacking. It means less sourcing out and more of focusing on making it look nice, NO!, making it look like a million buck$. Hahahaha! 

Yeezus! I am just having too much fun.

Chapter 2 - Yea, it is scary.

Because it is really serious. In some ways my career will be defined by these events that I put on - it all has to be top notch content. And some topics.....? Controversial...... Non-main stream. But I think it is unavoidable - some things are changing and taking on new directions and it just HAS TO BE SAID, someone has to be first.  

Why? Because I think I make the right observations. Maybe because I am *********. Yea! I am gonna reveal something personal about myself, which I think will be a big step forward for me, and hopefully inspire others.

I look back on my school experience with fondness, I was already a father - back when it was still Sheridan College, Craft + Design program. In my class, I met a very, very wise Indian man - he was Canadian, but born in India. I think he told me that he was a Buddhist. And he was an architect, with several years of experience under his belt, about 10 years older than me. I was attracted to his 'cool and wise' demeanour - I confined in him many times and he become - jokingly - 'my colour guru'. In his design practice he was already experimenting with 'form and colour', while I was still stuck in the 'structure and grain' phase - that's what I would call it.

AND HE TOLD ME - and that is precisely why 'Buckskin Baby Review' was created - over 120 pieces were written!; my 'de-stijl days' happened; large portion of my creative, unsold undertakings were built; this is why 'IKEA HACK' - he said - 'Karol, if it DOES NOT EXIST, and you feel very strongly about it - then you should CREATE IT.'

Yep, so here I am - 'creating'.

Hopefully it goes well.