Sunday, November 17, 2019

NEW Hashtag AND new design - how do YOU find your own work? - #peakFURN

[picture shows 2 shallow SEKTION boxes joined together; both boxes feature VEDDINGE doors; two custom side panel clad in a vintage Italian laminate - DIAFOS - cover the sides and mimic two legs in a victorian style; please note that the piece is still missing the top cover] 

[picture shows 2 examples of Peak Furnishings phenomenon - 2 floating credenzas based on the SEKTION box clad with custom side panels; credenza in the background features dark brown SEKTION boxes with green BODBYN doors and gold metallic sides and top; credenza in the foreground is made up of 2 white SEKTION boxes with white VEDDINGE doors and pale, sea-foam green side panels; both credenzas have fake legs in the Victorian style] 

Chapter 1 - Can you see the potential of this concept?

Look - same box system, SEKTION - but a completely different look and vibe. Yes, I am reusing the form for the legs - but that is beacuse I just love that shape! I think it works amazing with lots of box sizes - as demonstrated. 

I mean, I - or YOU! - can take that box and make it look like anything I want. The sizing of the boxes is absolutely stunning. The selection of doors is incredible - all installed according to instructions and come with a 25 year WARRANTY - advantage you! This is the portion where you save money.

Next step is where you blow your budget - how do you make it look like a million dollars.......? 

You hire me! hahahaha!
Nah just kidding, I am quite affordable, and remember - bulkiest parts of the project is where the savings come out of. 


Sunday, November 3, 2019

Famous Last Pressings - IKEA Sektion Hack - Peak Furnishings

[picture shows an example of Peak Furnishings concept - a floating IKEA brown Sektion box featuring green BODBYN doors clad with custom, gold metal side panels and custom gold metal top. The wall mounted - floating -design is meant to mimic a more traditional credenzas.

Chapter 1 - Famous Last Pressings

Sometimes in this line of work - Design - you have to exhibit 'professional spontaneity'. Sometimes you have to be able to go with your gut feeling that tells you that 'THIS IS IT' - if you miss this, it will never happen again. 

I occasionally stumble upon people and things that really captivate me - there is a range of certain attractive qualities. Of people I take note, and usually check out their websites, follow their social media, attend their shows, etc. Materials I buy - I think it is a sign of experience if you are able to see  just the material and given it's qualities and presentation give it a form and a function - because that is precisely what furniture design is. 

I remember the first time I was captured by ABET Laminatti products - they specialize in surfaces. Italian and still made in Italy, their products have been used by greatest names in furniture design and are emblematic of certain movements - if you see it, you know it. So it was with particular delight that I received a call from Hernan, who recently told me - 'Karol, I've moved up in the company, just so you know,' because I always call in and ask for him directly, anyways, he is always on the look-out for something special and out of the ordinary. He calls me up and says that I got to come down and see it for myself and excited I went. 

What I saw just blew my socks away! - A rare, famous last pressings! This stuff doesn't exist anywhere except on recently auctioned off POSTMODERN pieces by the likes of Sottsass and the rest of the Memphis gang. I grabbed everything that Hernan had - in my opinion, from a design standpoint, as a furniture maker - these sheets were priceless. It was the last chance to do anything with them - be creative, make with with them, maybe re-interpret something! Absolutely limitless. 

Those green IKEA BODBYN doors triggered it all - it just went so well with the gold. It is kinda of an interesting HIGH-low combination - Ikea SEKTION boxes are the cheapest as boxes go - still great quality! The sides and top are as extravagant as you can get - a combination of hard to do curves [labour- $$$] with precious, hard-to-work with materials. The design feels so rich, but the functional core of it is so common and accessible. 

I named this piece 'Queen Meghan' - yes, after that Meghan. Apparently, the wife of prince Harry experiences quite a bit of bullying from the British public because: a] she's a divorcee, b] she is an American c] she is a woman of colour. I also read an opinion that '6 immediate members of the Royal Family have to die for her to become the Queen,' and that was the only reason why Harry was allowed to marry her. You know what I say, as a Canadian and still under the rule of monarchy?' GOOD! I cannot wait for her to become the queen - there I said it. 

[To be continued]

Friday, September 20, 2019

Peak Furnishings - this is why Colour-Lights-Cabinetry WORKS!

Picture shows a wall mounted vertical storage, attached to a horizontal floating credenza. The boxes, SEKTION, feature white VEDDINGE doors. All exposed surfaces are clad in panels - some are white Forbatra, some are HAMMARP, solid white oak slabs. Floating shelf was fabricated from the offcut leftover from cladding - optimized usage of material. There is a single puck light OMLOPP paired up with a digital remote control - system was designed to be expandable, with new lights installed with ease, if wanted. The design features a single drawer face, however there is an additional hidden MAXIMERA drawer behind the visible drawer face. 

CHapter 1 - Colour Lights Cabinetry - it WORKS!

Firstly it works because it is CHEAPer - that's right, the cost is ALWAYS the main driver. I go to these fancy multi-million dollar homes and of course I know EXACTLY the reason why I am there - they want a good price on their cabinetry. The challenge is always how to put it nicely together.  If I can create a design for you and set you up for success than you can do stuff like this yourself - SAVE MONEY. 

Or I will design it in a way that offers great flexibility - any additional work can easily be done by the owner - new options and new fittings come out all the time. Your design, your built-in is never static - it's flexible - that is one of my absolutely favourite aspect of IKEA Hacking - you can get every part of your project from IKEA.

Ok, so that was cost and DIY accessibility - what are the other advantages? 

It works marvelously in small and super small spaces - I assure you that IKEA has a solution for absolutely every space, you just have to be creative [**or hire me **]. What if I can't find a solution that will work for me at IKEA? - you are doomed. You will have to go out there and spend a million dollars on a practical and very nice solution. 

Imagine that the guiding principle in any housing sale is to convince you that you can fit in that space. My intent is not only to make you fit in that space, but make you thrive. I think about everything, I imagine all of life's little and big events [babies are a major driver of renos!] and I run them thru the use of cabinetry. The example above - the couple needs dramatically MORE storage in their living space and they want it modern and flexible. They've got their personal preferences and likes. 

HEY! You know what the best advantage is of floating storage? This is IKEA Hacker PRO level tip here, hahahah!

**You can put baskets underneath for storage when you got a baby! They go away when you don't need them and the place is back to modern again!** 


Friday, August 2, 2019

Peak Furnishings - Colour, Lights, Cabinetry - what to do when you live in a shoebox - IKEA's 2019 Catalogue

Picture shows and example of Peak Furnishings, a method of designing and organizing interiors for optimum functionality - it is the 'Kosnik CLC'  method, 'Colour Lights Cabinetry'. Picture shows a long and narrow space featuring a small section of Ikea's Grimslov kitchen. Right next to the kitchen is a section of built environment featuring a small, blue-walle,d private nook that has SEKTION VOXTORP cabinets installed against the ceiling, hitting a large PAX frosted glass sliding door unit. All IKEA cabinets are clad in dark grey, chalkboard panels - only the decorative IKEA doors are visible. The entire design is completed with IKEA sourced lights, hidden behind a custom valance and controlled via remote control or a phone app. According to Karol Kosnik, this is an example of the PEAK FURNISHINGS concept. 

Here is another two pictures:

with the BARKABODA table installed! It is a flex piece - the table only has two legs and floats off the wall. 

*edit: I should specify that the GRIMSLOV kitchen came from a previous reno, just prior to the sale. 

Chapter 1 - The 2019 IKEA Catalogue

To say that I am excited is an understatement. This simple publication will influence design choices and steer purchasing of hundreds of thousands - if not millions - of individuals around the globe. IKEA is quite open about that and every year goes out of their way - they are incredibly creative - to strengthen their dominant position in the marketplace. With the advent of IKEA Family it is an obvious that it is what I call a 'Lifestyle store', that in its brilliance partners selectively with brands and organizations to further its goals - total world domination. 

Thus it only makes sense for me to make myself part of that lifestyle ecosystem - I know, in a creative fashion, wield the entire power of IKEA behind me. And that my friends, clients is to your advantage. How?

Space is at a premium these days. Real estate is expensive. Small spaces command prices that were unheard of just 3 years ago. It happens on virtually every site visit - I come to dwelling that is small, long, narrow. Often poorly lit and without any storage on the main floor. These are all disadvantages that the new homeowner needs to overcome. An expensive renovation is not an option AND even then, what could be done? - the space is simply too small to renovate. 

This is where PEAK FURNISHINGS come in. I use a method called CLC - it is an acronym for 'Colour Lights Cabinetry'. A good design relies on human psychology - a natural attraction to organizing and giving functionality to spaces - any space already has that function, but it is often very weak. My design practice focuses on bringing it out - and bringing it out in FULL FORCE. 

To be continued [hahaha! I have some quotes to do! just came in!]

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Just PICS of good solutions - no time to write anything

Chapter 1 - Just pics of good solutions. 

Picture shows two tall, one deep and one shallow IKEA Sektion  pantries with Ringhult  doors; clad in custom 1" thick magnetic chalkboard panels. IKEA lights paired with a remote control installed above doors provide additional lighting in a rather dim kitchen.  The design is very well priced, looks very modern and sharp. The magnetic chalkboard panels were chosen on purpose - it was to encourage the homeowner's two young children to get more involved in cooking!

Picture shows a microwave oven built into a SEKTION  peninsula cabinet, with a cladding made of KUNGSBACKA drawer face.

Picture shows a SEKTION peninsula layout showcasing super tight tolerances on the opened drawers. The flexibility of the install Kosnik's install system allows him to achieve solutions not possible with a traditional IKEA planner.

Monday, May 27, 2019

IKEA Hacking and the Manufacturing of LUXURY

Chapter 1 - Manufacturing of LUXURY

Ahhh! There is just such sweet delicious tension between the words 'Manufacturing' and 'LUXURY'. Ain't it? Luxury is never manufactured - Luxury is crafted by skilled individuals....

[BIG EDIT] - This entry is written from a 'capitalist perspective'; I read a book 'Crashed', written recently by a British historian - it documents the meltdown that occurred in 2008 on Wallstreet; it has dramatically altered my perception of wealth and equality] - which I believe is the main driver of our society - art and design follow. I think there are numerous, numerous, easy examples of this idea - money driving art - money driving design; IKEA Hacking is popular because it is CHEAP. No class of citizen, in my experience, has refused savings of a good IKEA Hack. That is its main attraction - it is cheaper, I just simply add the aspect of 'Design or Art'. 

As cliche I it may sound, but I have worked across the entire section of our society. 

I worked for single mothers who wrote me this breath taking e-mail telling me that they love my work, and admire my work principles and crafty attitude. They are renovating but they can't afford me - they have been burnt out by cheap shady trades and they just want a quality affordable kitchen. Hey! I got two feet and a heart - I extended her 0% credit for 6 months - she bought the kitchen and I installed. She then took a year to pay off the balance, I still charged no interest. I think sometimes it is important to recognize how to create 'maximum value in society'. I reduced stress in her life and in her child's life. My company did not collapse because I got paid so late; I made a great friend, I still occasionally advise her on her home projects  [that's the advantage! - once a customer you are always a customer - free advice for life! hahaha! shhh.... it is a secret.]

I worked for Ivy League educated lawyers who create complex financial instruments and have seen my work in a friend's home. Why did they hire me? 'It's cheaper and he does nice design' - for realz, that's it. 

The ONLY barrier to my work is simply because you have not heard of me. 


So about a year ago - I want to say - there was an advert that rippled thru the Toronto design community. It was something special - 'a dream design position'. That's right, you read that right - a DREAM design position, that is the exact wording that was used in the advert!.

 It was DREAM enough that I considered applying - before I reconsidered.

So what was this 'Dream Design Position'*? So there is this one design millwork company that I would consider quite reputable to work for; the owner is doing well and is a bit of a visionary but also a businessman; the company has a very generous budget to develop new ideas and it is well equipped with cutting edge in-house manufacturing technology. Those three points, put together, set the stage for THE EXPERIMENT: To design a new line of successful luxury furniture

Now, back in the good ole' days [say the 40's or 70's or even 80's!] that was simple. Your piece had to have those three magic ingredients - 'Blood, Sweat and Tears'. It had to be made of precious resources that at least 2 individuals lost their lives extracting the material [BLOOD] - so say 2 lives were lost while the log was pulled out of the jungle; one was crushed by the log itself, the other life was lost eaten by a tiger; [SWEAT] it was a skilled blue-collar worker that manufactured the piece - the manufacturing facility was hot and humid, and there was no AC; the piece produced was a culmination of this man's lifetime of experience; [TEARS] - the final price had to be lowered by $200 to make the sale; the salesman cried as he would take home $200 less that day.

Then, more and more, actual 'design content' of the piece of furniture started playing a role. Corporate began to bleed into the residential - architects doing most impressive American Architecture would often design furniture - for sale or personal. Manufacturing was still based in North America so the jobs were here - and for some reputable companies it makes sense to remain in North America; I mean you can't truly imagine Herman Miller made in China, can you**? Can you really have a discussion about luxury being manufactured in China - a land so foreign to North American woodworking culture? This not to say that China cannot make good quality furniture - today fabrication techniques are identical on both sides of the ocean. 

I come from behind the Iron Curtain - if you catch this reference. I grew up in a socialist Poland and am acutely aware of what it means if there is a shortage of meat or sugar. Or you only have access to local markets - yea, like 'shop 100 mile radius' for furniture'. In fact even furniture used to be rationed - TRUE STORY - my mother had to summon 4 strangers from the street outside a Polish furniture store so she could buy enough outdoor chairs for our family; there was a limit of 2 chairs per customer. NO JOKES! That is how is was at the peak of communism!*** You wanted the outside goods - that was luxury. 

Imagine how the situation reversed. 

Today it is considered luxury [price point] to purchase locally made, locally sourced products - offshoring products has really put an imbalance on pricing. The capitalist world NEEDS to be ahead of the curve to realize profits - government policies must be known in advance to steer capital accordingly. If I want to thank Donald Trump for accelerating the shift to new, more local sourcing then let it be. 

But here is the thing. The capital is returning to a land of low wages, and even lower purchasing power. **** I saw a project few days ago - an AXSTAD kitchen! first one for me! I will make it look like a million buck$! - and the owner said he got quotes for anything between 40 and 60 thousand dollars for his kitchen. Do you understand now why IKEA hacking will experience NON STOP growth? He said the contractors he considered were all dismissive of IKEA - they felt threatened by it. And given the flexibility of the SEKTION system you can design - ON A BUDGET - very spectacular designs. Essentially you want to take that kitchen out of the IKEA kitchen planner - throw in some dimensions to make it different - go for some lower cost upgrades like crowns, or feet - 'Oh you like that look of deVOL kitchens? Well there is an easy way to achieve that look with a 1" filler....'. 

[To Be COntinued]

*I did not screen-shot the Insta post, which in hind-sight I should have done.

**Ha! But that doesn't mean that we now do not have knock-offs! I once saw a replica of a Barcelona chair in a large super market chair flyer advertised for $200! Barcelona chair is licensed to Knoll, which last time I checked charges more than $6k for it. With markets opening up, China 'peacefully rising' it made sense for capital to move offshore and generate higher profits. I once did a beautiful IKEA Hack for a dentist who had a knock off of the Eames chaise-lounge so good, that at a distant first glance had me fooled. I congratulated him on his good taste, at which he point he blushed and admitted that it is a knock off. 

***Listen, I'm not complaining as a 10 year old child I rode a 50cc motorcycle to pick up milk, not wearing a helmet, with no insurance. So there were pluses and minuses. 

**** which actually means automation, unfortunately; check out this IKEA warehouse that is straight out of the movie The Matrix

Thursday, May 2, 2019

AXSTAD door Review - YES! IKEA finally has a 'SHAKER door'

[Hey! Hey! In Canada we also have beautiful GRAY AXSTAD too!]

[picture shows IKEA's new AXSTAD door laying on a benchtop. The door has been cut in half and put together. The left half has the thermal foil at the cut edge peeled back to test the strength of the bond. 

Chapter 1 - Finally! AXSTAD door REVIEW!

I mean, if that is not the most requested look for custom doors then I don't know this business. Proper Shaker kitchens exude an aura of craftsmanship and quality - and people desire craftsmanship and quality from their kitchen. I have to say that there is also a certain charm in them. 

SO YEA! A properly detailed AXSTAD door will look amazing, it will be affordable, and it will pass for Shaker*.

And that one little thing - ***the bumps*** - it's easy to overcome, don't let that sway you away from purchasing. I will be using these doors on my projects. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

IKEA Hack - Game of Thrones Style!

[picture is a selfie by Karol Kosnik. He is standing on the IKEA showroom floor, having a light coloured sheepskin draped over his shoulder, in a fashion similar to main character Jon Snow on a popular HBO television drama 'Game of Thrones'.]

Yes, I will reach out to my Craft Family on the FABRIC side to find out how I can safely dye this sheepskin darker, a'la Jon Snow. For the next seven weeks this is completely acceptable fashion. Game of Thrones here we GO! 


Tuesday, April 9, 2019

How to DESIGN and BUILD large scale built-in using SEKTION.

[Pictures taken from Karol Kosnik's Instagram account. Picture shows a large, tall, spacious trade show booth furnished with IKEA's kitchen cabinetry. Tall, 4-door high cabinetry on the back wall has a mix of grey and glass doors with lights. Middle of the booth is occupied by a large island that features back-to-back cabinetry with a mix of regular and glass doors and a marble top. There is a gilded faux ceiling installed above the island that features large glass chandeliers and a stainless steel exhaust hood.]

Chapter 1 - Go BIG or go HOME

I snapped this photo at the Toronto Interior Design show. This was the last year of AKURUMs and LIDI gray - they were replaced the following year with SEKTION and gray BODBYN. This booth just felt so opulent - the size of cabinetry alone would normally put this project beyond the scope of a 'custom work' for an average homeowner. Even myself - a failed engineering student but a skilled cabinetmaker - this scale would be quite challenging.... if it wasn't for IKEA. 

AND.... I have to dig out a photo of what they did at the launch with SEKTION the following year! That's right - IKEA's SEKTION is the perfect vehicle for large scale built-ins. You will have to skip the kitchen planner tho - solutions such as these are not achievable in the planner. ADDITIONAL advantage is that by drafting old-school you get to think about your fabrication decisions - at least that is the case for me. Cabinetry is one of those trades where 1/2" over 20 feet is important. 

IKEA kitchen cabinetry - SEKTION - makes is very accessible to cover walls with boxes, all you got to follow is with a selection of one of their doors [lots of flexibility there too! - read on!]. And you know what else? IT IS CHEAP! In Toronto, any contractor that walks through your door  - 'Kitchens start at 35k' - and you know what I say? Give me 2/3 of that budget and we will make it look like a million bucks! And we are talking all the bells and whistles - interior lights, organizers, trays - everything that you need to really enjoy your kitchen. Don't get trapped in the pretty doors - that's only HALF of your kitchen. And don't forget the access to latest lighting technology at a FRACTION of the cost. Uhm hmmm....

Alright, we are leaving kitchens behind. 

This blog entry will not be a design guide [so how to make things pertty lookin'] - instead it will focus more on technicalities - how do I plan for and easily install stacked IKEA shallow Sektion boxes? Over the course of designing, hacking and building with IKEA I developed quick, accurate and easy to do steps that are intuitive and accessible.

Chapter 2 - OK, so how do I start?

Measure your space and select your door style. This project is MODERN, but I don't see why you can't choose any other door style. The door style choice will then influence the choice of hacked or custom elements.

[picture shows a drafted elevation, a line drawing - front view - of a built-in design using IKEA's shallow Sektion box. It features 3 rows of stacked cabinets with a custom void opening that is filled with a custom box.]

I raised this point before in my video, but the nicest designs are 'balanced and repetitive' - try to sticking to the same size door to 'create rhythm' in your design - often times smaller spaces require scaling '1 size down' in the door line up for more proportional look. The inverse is true - want to take advantage of a tall space? USE THOSE 60" doors! [for 60" doors I pair up a 40" box with a 20" box OR a 30"+30"] - they are great for super tall spaces! Do you see where I am getting? ------> I am designing just with doors. 


Chapter 2 - Design is DONE, start with the WALL

Walls need prep work - don't skip on this step. The results from the wall will directly transfer to the 'face' of the design*. The hinges do come with a generous, almost 1/8" of adjustment in every direction BUT that will only save you so much. 

Another point worth mentioning is the fact that you can use the SEKTION box for MEDIA - so plenty of cables need to be run, power made accessible - how do you deal with that? You STRAP THE WALL.  I use plywood strips - they are wide enough [about 6"] that they provide support for the metal rail AND the white plastic spacers nailed at the bottom of the cabinet. Remember that the thickness of the plywood will add dimension to the side panels! - they need to be covered on the edge - PLAN ACCORDINGLY. 

[picture shows a large, open white wall that has a series of horizontal plywood strips attached to it. Lowest strip has the IKEA metal rail attached to it and two SEKTION kitchen boxes are hanging on it]

In this instance, the wall behind is concrete. I just could not imagine drilling concrete for every screw that I wanted to put in. Instead the plywood is glued [I use the PL line of adhesives, available at any hardware store] and then screwed to the concrete wall through the drywall. It is solid - in shear those plywood strips are indestructible.  Strapping also allows you to deal with any unevenness - dips or bubbles - those things are never more than 3/4" of an inch in-or-out. 

You strategically leave some gaps in the plywood to allow for cable management - think ahead - will you be ever needing to do some speakers? power? gaming? whatever? Of course - YOU PLAN for that. Notice in the picture above I left some gaps in the plywood strips - I fed all my cabling for the media thru those. 


*I think this step translates to all trades - especially hardwood floors. If you don't prep up the floor it will look like sh*t. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The WILLIAM debacle continues, but who CARES?

Chapter 1 - Exactly? Who really cares that IKEA stole that concept from me? 

I was furious when I got the news. I did feel a blatant stab in my chest, 'IKEA Canada renames BILLY bookcase WILLIAM'. But why? What's up? 

WILLIAM is the final step in the Peak Furnishings saga for the simple BILLY bookcase - WILLIAM is the final design destination, its final step in its design evolution. IKEA, the most influential furniture design company in the world [by sales volume; mostly to the poor and the savvy*], by adopting the name of my BILLY bookcase hack line, acknowledges that. 

I just have really hard time accepting the fact that this was a totally random decision that came from IKEA's design department. You know what I do before I create any Intellectual Property? I simply google the sh*t out of the topic - I scan ALL the results. You can find out very, very quickly if your idea exists - you can find out very quickly if anyone produced a YouTube video about the subject - you can hit all the BLOGGER sites with the content of interest. TODAY access to information is not an IMPEDIMENT TO BEING ETHICAL about the products or ideas you give life to. 

Instead I will make an argument that IKEA felt threatened that I was actually able to recognize the full potential of that simple, affordable box and the masses of consumers may be attracted to the possibilities that I was presenting them with. Oh yes - IT'S CHEAPER TOO!

Chapter 2 - WILLIAM is the final step of the BILLY journey. 

You know, sometimes things are not said out in the open, out loud. Sometimes it's simply a consistent trend, that if you are skilled at predicting the future, you can see the final chapter of. The final, ultimate chapter of any DESIGN STORY is the end user - you and me - but more importantly 'me', these days at least. The more granular your success, the greater it is. WILLIAM bookcase is the iBookcase - a simple bookcases for the masses that still have books or other things that they need to display. It's simplicity - in design, material choices, name [until now....] - was its greatest strength. I think that at the moment you have a professional recognize its commercial value and that design product finds a welcoming audience - BOOM! It's made - WILLIAM it is. 

Yes! I will be pompous about it!- I DO take my work very seriously and am deeply PASSIONATE about it. AND you know what, if you work hard, it's perfectly acceptable to enjoy your success! Let me tell you that it is every furniture designer's dream - WHILE STILL IN SCHOOL! - that they design an 'iconic piece' that will enter the canons of design forever..... It's usually chairs as they allow for 'most dramatic personalization vs. intimate user contact' - so you can easily vary or adjust the looks vs. comfort. When you think of corporate lounge interiors do you not think of the Barcelona Chair? And what is the epitome of an American lounge chair if not the Eames Chaise Lounge? And when you think of a 'proper dining chair', say a set of 6 or 8, do you not think about the Wishbone chair? I know I am generalizing a bit, but I am sure once I mentioned a name the image immediately popped in your head. 

But I gave up on that dream few years back. Why did I give up? Well, there is simply almost an overabundance of products, and chairs especially. Many, many, designers and makers, professional and amateur alike take up that challenge and end up spending countless hours crafting their original, unique and often commercially irreproducible objects -  sometimes with incredible results. Honestly, I sometimes end up overwhelmed looking at images of products. The effort required to punch thru, the effort to get noticed is enormous and requires great resources AND often is a simple fickle of fate or destiny.... So - what do I do? - Design chairs or play the lottery?

BUT IMAGINE that instead, very naturally, you stumble onto a very popular and accessible design [BILLY!] and over the course of some times you take it and realize the full potential of that design. MORE - countless of others can do the same - with you as a template for their design success - that in my opinion is the GREATEST SUCCESS - Accessibility, Affordability and Community! 

Historically, the WILLIAM bookcase concept is mine, I am extending the invitation to you too IKEA. Happy Birthday BILLY! 

Oh! And the most salient point of all *** if we had UBI society then IKEA Hacking would not exist ***

[ADDED LATER]  I want to make an observation here. This past Design Week, in January 2019,  here in Toronto - a pretty cool, pretty informative platform for a lot of interesting design - I went to see a talk titled 'Uncovering Canadian Design'. A panel of rather young, but clearly established brands, took questions and spoke about their own work. Few sad realization happened, for me at least - FIRSTLY and most IMPORTANTLY - you have to go to New York to make it big, Toronto is too small. That, and the power of good rendering. Jamie Wolfond, a young Canadian designer, popular on Instagram - so very much a visual footprint - raised an issue of originality - being creative in an original fashion AND how important it is for him. My guess was that most people in the audience were the 'creative types' - so usually freelancers, contract-2-contract work, occasionally slow then crazy. You know, there is a lot of people who just want to make a living out of their creativity and Intellectual Property they produce. And the fact is that they don't have - or don't want to - spend their limited creative bandwidth fighting to enforce their rights. We live in a society that should respect the creative effort by default - or at least that is my hope. 


*IKEA must be dreaming when it thinks of itself as a 'Designer Brand', it never was, and never will be - it shows their lack of understanding of the concept of Luxury Furniture, and the psychology of it. 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

The WILLIAM bookcase name belongs to me - IKEA stop stealing, it's UNETHICAL.

Yes, in 2018, I had a show titled 'U [can] 2' during which I launched the WILLIAM bookcase - 'when you take a BILLY bookcase and you hack it, you elevate it and make into a WILLIAM bookcase'. In fact IKEA steals not only that concept, but also the 'growing up portion'? No way! I can easily prove that it exactly the 'growing up' portion is *** stolen too ***. Billy to William is a natural transition - it indicates growth, maturity, prestige. Yea, I'm exactly as old as the Billy bookcase! 

You know what? I'm flattered. I agree - it is the cleverest way to change the name BILLY, and it was me and not your marketing department that came up with that - shit over luck! AND! AND! That's just a fucking awesome IKEA HACK! You hack the name and you hack the product. In my books, you just can't top that. That's clever. 

So yes. Pretty please - while the new catalogue is not printed yet - don't change the name of the BILLY bookcase to WILLIAM bookcase. It belongs to me, and is very dear to my heart - there is a whole philosophy behind it, other than your new marketing of it - could it be the ultimate personalization? - yes, but you are not the first ones to create that notion.  

Don't steal IP! You know it is unethical. 

*edit the next day - theoretically we could just narrow this spat down to a monetary transaction - that's as basic capitalism as we get, and we can't escape that. I am willing to license my WILLIAM name to you, IKEA, as a concept - so you can own in its entirety and profit from it ---> the start with a BILLY, the hacking portion, and the final ultimate 'personalization' WILLIAM/BILLY - 5 cents per individual unit sale - you can have it. Look, I can be bought and sold too - especially when an idea is good or great, and there will be larger positive implications. 

We can go at length on 'what is' and 'how to' about hacking but given the market response [the ultimate gauge of successful implementation, DELAKTIG for one] including yours [choosing to steal my name] I say I am in the right and you are in the wrong. There is no stopping human creativity and Peak Furnishings is here to stay. Get used to it. Is it going to affect your business? For sure! 

Hey! And let me offer some comment on your new name and campaign. So the only info I was able to find is that it is IKEA Canada that has changed the name BILLY to WILLIAM.  It is unclear from the website if the change is a permanent re-brand, or a temporary promotional move. There is a hashtag 'ItsWilliamNow' and the visual branding has the name BILLY crossed out and written in WILLIAM. First off, as a huge fan of BILLY, on a personal level - I don't like it. There is certain simplicity to BILLY that the name espouses and I really like that. Just from a linguistic perspective, and even a bit of a 'cultural overview' - the name BILLY is wonderfully ambiguous - I hope you made that observation and noted its appeal. Now marry that ambiguity to a visual campaign and you have exactly what your marketing department came up with. *** Now, the name WILLIAM - that sure is man.... middle aged.... British? Holy cow! You really can't escape that imagery - especially in the Western World. Is that how BILLY customers should see themselves? 

Now, how is my WILLIAM bookcase different from your WILLIAM bookcases? In every aspect - my WILLIAM is a well thought out decision, a conscious creative intervention - it is sophisticated. It is not minimalist is that oversimplified sense - because the strength of the original BILLY is its simplicity. Yes, I am upset. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

IKEA Hacker Says - DELAKTIG a DUD? - part 2 - SORRY

Chapter 1 - PLease pardon my previous blog outburst, but DELAKTIG is a dud. 

My last blog entry might have come across a bit hissy - I agree, but it was a genuine gut response. Yes, I also ride the 'emotional design rollercoaster'. This here entry attempts a more measured explanation - it would almost make an awesome script for a YouTube video!

DELAKTIG as a project has very many facets - as an attempt at IKEA hacking, I feel, it is a failure. There are many good sides to the DELAKTIG - but those aspects place it outside of the initially sought out 'category' of  IKEA hacks. On a personal level, I find the DELAKTIG project un-appealing - modular furniture is quite popular; the form is not eye-catching - Instagram design feeds are flooded with similar images - remember we are all connected and have unlimited access to the wealth of global information - this very much applies to DESIGN. 

I think IKEA is already participating in the PEAK FURNISHINGS phenomenon - it may not want acknowledge it, or it may not be aware of that fact, that it is doing PEAK FURNISHINGS, just via different collections - like Billy, or SEKTION or PAX. I think the failure of DELAKTIG proves my point. 

Anyways, I still love you IKEA and will write more.


Sunday, February 3, 2019

IKEA Hacker says - DELAKTIG is a DUD or Capitalism bites back.

[picture shows a Studio Kosnik Ikea Hack titled - 'Fainting Couch for a Teen on a Budget'.  Picture shows a tall bench based on the IKEA's Sektion box, with custom doors clad in a reflective vintage Italian laminate; the cushion is made out of IKEA's quality foam mattress from the AS-IS section - damaged packaging lowered the price on it by 50% - then properly upholstered in blue/green, slightly textured vinyl; the side panels are made of 1 1/4 clear pine with roundover edges. One could make an argument that the piece is Post Modern inspired] 

Chapter 1 - The EMPEROR has NO CLOTHES [very emotional response, bare with me] 

If you are a subscriber to IKEA Hackers mailing list then recently you've gotten some encouragement from Jules Yap to 'go out there and hack DELAKTIG', but not get paid for it. If you don't know what DELAKTIG is then watch my 2 of my videos where I talk about that particular undertaking by IKEA -

DELAKTIG Launches in Canada -  HERE

Was Delaktig a DUD? - HERE

Now in her latest newsletter to Hackers, Jules acknowledges that there has not been any DELAKTIG hacks so far - hacks done by actual hackers. Let me re-phrase this - there has not been anyone out there who felt inspired by that product enough to spend money and bring it into their space and then get creative with it - because that is what IKEA Hacking is, simplified. 

IKEA, in their attempt to influence the 'IKEA Hacking' narrative [the first step was to allow Jules run her] - spared no expense, hiring the world's most famous furniture designer Tom Dixon. DELAKTIG was launched with much fanfare in Milan - the most famous place for furniture launches in the whole wide world. The media response was overwhelming - a furniture power couple IKEA/Dixon went on an interview tour touting nothing short of furniture revolution - Peak Furnishings they called it! You would think that they made it. 

Well, we now know that laws of Kapitalism [that's Capitalism with a K, as per Karl] still hold and sales do matter. See, the way I see it, IKEA Hacking the way I defined it at my first ever IKEA Hackers convention in 2016 is diametrically different from what I call 'the Capitalist Design Model' - that's sort of been the tradition pretty much until the last 5-8 years. What has changed? First of all, I think the Design field has gotten a lot more 'populist' - as the new wave of Creatives we are decoupling from traditional models of distribution - as Designers we are now all connected so it is easier and easier to reach out to final consumers [I talked about that at my last year show - Views vs. Conversions]. Who needs the middleman to get a 50% cut of the sale? I still know artists, whom initially signed on with an agent to generate sales and now, left the country [Canada] to live in another part of the world AND they are still bound by the contract - they will never be able to shake that off. I think that can be greatly limiting. 

Do you really want to sell your soul to the devil for the the holy grail of being picked up by a large label, or being connected to ultra wealthy individuals? As a side note, may I mention that there are growing calls for the ultra-wealthy to drop the philanthropy pretense and simply start paying proper tax-rate. How'bout that for a change, huh? 

I am still very bitter about this project - yes, I use the word 'bitter'. I strongly felt that this DELAKTIG stunt was directed at the IKEA Hacking community. It was an attempt to subvert the true nature of the movement, to steer the control via media clicks right back to IKEA. And I hold the media responsible, lapping it up like a thirsty dog in heat. But those who live by the sword, die by the sword - capitalism rules supreme - sales and hacks are dismal, I've not encountered anything about DELAKTIG of value on the Internet. DELAKTIG as a concept is a DUD! 

I am just going to write about everything that I think is wrong with DELAKTIG - it foremost is annoying. AND I blame JULES for spreading the propaganda. 

A] For a project with an unlimited budget it is a complete and utter DUD - 'cause IKEA sits on BILLIONS' and they keep throwing money at this thing! -  their corporate structure is a twisted, mangled web that spans the European Union; it's legal, but how ethical? - that is why I do not feel bad for them at all, maybe if it was some small independent visionary studio, that bled dry creating this utopia, OK. BUT this is a classic case of 'boss knows best' - I understand that a company needs a steady hand on the till  - BUT - when I manage a project I always listen to the people that work with me. Being a good boss is being able to bend your own knee so that a 'lesser may reach out farther' [there is no loss of dignity, I assure you, the project just gets better; I use the term 'lesser' for reductionist simplicity - I believe that we are equals, and the most precious finite commodity that we have is our time] and encourage the best person for the job - being a good boss means letting other people achieve greatest success - that is what is best for the company. 

I guess Jules has short memory of when the Corporate was suing her

Or that time when IKEA forced an exhibitor out of Canada's biggest Design Show because they felt insecure about their product - yea! for real!

When it comes to IKEA Hacking, I am the best person for the job. Period. I self studied psychology - amongst other things - several years back. I knew that I was not going to become a psychologist, but I wanted to understand what motivates people to do certain things. How is it that a skilled [ethical?] marketer is able to convince an individual to pay more for a product that they really need to pay? Now, if we lived in a UBI society - this would not be a problem, as people would only pursue productive, net-contributing activities and so being 'duped' like that would not have consequences for them. But today's reality is that most people don't like their jobs, they are often underpaid and suffer from poor quality of life. That is precisely why they shop at IKEA - I hope you can make that connection [ I will make a video right after I publish this piece] - IKEA Hacking taps into a certain need within the human psyche - it is not just a 'design exercise'!

B] 'Let's throw Tom Dixon at this' - I wonder who made that decision. I believe in the principles of good design - so when I chose projects, I select those which will further my objective the most. Greatest results are inevitably achieved when the personal values of the executor align perfectly with the objective. This was not the case.

Why plunge your best efforts for mediocre results - because an ethical, and forward thinking organization will not just focus on the profits but also look at side outcomes. You know, personally I believe that is not just about money - I do tons of volunteer work in my community and get paid nothing for it [Yea! I've raised hundreds of children!] Honestly, my volunteering is like having a part time job - that is the advantage of country like Canada - essentially the state affords you to be the best citizen that you can be, and I encourage everyone around me  to participate - CANADIAN DESIGN is  different because it is a product of unique cultural environment - it's almost a little socialist and we lack the superiority complex - I'm sorry. 

I think creating an 'officially sanctioned IKEA Hack' should not have been just an academic design exercise - Students! STEP OUTSIDE OF YOUR IVORY TOWERS - it is not beneficial to your career well-being. I understand that today we 'design everything' - but this was a furniture design exercise that had deep and long, let's call them, societal roots - I defined IKEA Hacking as 'Accessibility, Affordability, Community' - now expand on those 3 terms and you will immediately realize why your project was not successful. We are living in a post-Design world - there is no high-priests of Design any more - the granularity of DESIGN has gotten tiny. I say it like this - first it was the Supermodels that went away [remember 90's? I do, old man here] and today it is the Super-Designer. It may be a a very humbling experience for some - the upside is that they will never exist again*. 

C] DELAKTIG, visually - SUCKS. OMG! We are setting everything else aside and we are looking just at the visual. DO this exercise - sneak a picture of DELAKTIG in an INSTAGRAM feed of one of millions of 'design feeds' - 100 images is enough. Does it stand out? Does it pop for you? 

If it doesn't - for you, who are trained and have an above average appreciation for things furniture - then how in the world is going to capture the imagination of another one!? Huh?! I know what happened - you designed for yourselves - it is common fallacy. No! Not a fallacy, most of us work this way - BUT! - you must strip yourselves of any 'pretense' - you have to become 'the common man' - you have to leave the glamour and glitter of DESIGN behind. I know that it is completely counter-intuitive - the DESIGN WORLD is a one big 'Dog and Pony Show' - but to be successful you got to play both sides. I will do New York furniture show, probably next year, and I will do Milan, probably in about 5 years - on my own terms. Hope to see you there!

D] Jules.... Jules.... Jules.... When I got that e-mail from you, encouraging me to 'go out there and do something with DELAKTIG' - in my eyes - you lost your independence. You might as well go on IKEA's payroll. I remember when IKEA was suing you! - my TV Show got cancelled!!  You compromised your ethics. 'DELAKTIG a winning concept' - according to whom? - you personally, or IKEA's marketing department? Imagine that it has been - what - two years now....? Nobody has submitted any DELAKTIG hacks? Not even a small time designer 'chose to collaborate with 'IKEA x Dixon' as an academic exercise? 

Yea, it would totally make sense for the CORPORATE, if some1 out there would go out, pay a bazillion dollars for visually underwhelming and uninspiring piece of furniture, that doesn't really fit the 'IKEA Heirloom narrative regardless of the 50% recycled aluminum content [and I use the term Heirloom loosely]' and then hack it  - but why? Just so some well paid big wig at IKEA HQ can pat themselves on the shoulder and say - 'Yes, we were successful'. That's not what IKEA Hacking is at all! It is annoying to hear your influential voice add to this! It might be the case that you are not really an IKEA Hacker, but more a shill.... Yes, there are other ways of getting rewarded other than hard cold cash.


* if you are bored, than feel free to be entertained and read up on my fictional story about the Greatest Design Conspiracy in the World - so the Design World is run by an evil duo - a greedy conservative American [in the closet] billionaire and a very flamboyant European homosexual designer who lives in a gilded modernist cube called S.U.N - together they conspire to keep the riches to themselves and keep the independent designers down and controlled via an evil, global-spanning corporation [modeled after *KEA] They control the means of design, they control the means of productions, they control the media.... 

A disillusioned product designer whom, by accident, teams up with a young, eager investigative journalist who wants to break her first BIG story. Together they sneak themselves into this one wild design party and discover the TRUTH....    **** see it here at, you may have to do some scrolling ****

Friday, January 25, 2019

I went to LOPOW and I liked it.

[picture shows a short, wooden, circular table with four legs; the top is made of open, fine bronze, mesh trapped in a frame composed of white oak, maple; this table was designed and built by Ryan Norton, as part of furniture exhibit titled LOPOW and is not for sale]

Chapter 1

I went to LOWPOW and I liked it. LOWPOW is a furniture show put on by the graduating class from Sheridan Furniture program. That's my alma mater - I write these words with fondness. I miss those long days, and an occasional night too, stuck in the studio. 


Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Goodbye MODERATION - Design Week 2019 is almost... almost here!

Chapter 1 - Design Week 2019

You know what I am most happy about in this early 2019? I am doing NO SHOWS for Design Week. That means that I got NO deadlines, NO late nights in the studio, NO sweating over perfectly crafted presentations! I am just gonna party hop....


I am just going to have fun. Already penciling in exciting events, checking out the schedule for hidden gems! Obviously will do the opening party and drag along a friend! Will have drinks, maybe we will try this newly legal Canadian drug - 'mary-juana' and get super high!?? [Not - but don't underestimate 'the warm CBD hug' - AND you should never mix alcohol with cannabis].

The Symposium - that's a long 4 hour talk - you got to stay caffeinated for that event - looks like super interesting events - The Future of Work. RIGHT??!
I'm mean it seems that work [OR Labour] is an integral part of our society - are there new things on the horizon for employees everywhere? Was considering applying to speak at it - my small contribution, 15 min + questions max; but seeing the line up now I feel dwarfed. My 'potential future boss' - I applied for a position to teach at OCADu but was rejected [tineee, tiny portion - 'joinery in furniture and concepts alike' - for which, I felt, not only was I well qualified for, but as an IKEA Hacker had original and unique perspective, if volume of sales is an any indication] - will be speaking! 

The UMBRA talk is always a good one to attend - UMBRA has a specific unique niche market which I think they do well - lots of creative people get their start having their products picked up by UMBRA! These days manufacturing of small design objects requires smaller and smaller 'MINIMUMS' making the field more accessible - if you got a good catchy concept, the barriers to get in on the action get lower with every show you put on! 

What else? 

I am not static tho - you can't really be still when you are in design - I am working on a set of club chairs - not traditional in any sense - metal and 'puffy'. Hoping to have the first 1 made just in time for the DESIGN WEEK and attach a good hashtag on INSTA - furniture is all about visuals and it's my hope that gold chair will do the trick by drawing in the eyeballs. 

And of course WHAT to wear? Yeezus....might have to recycle an outfit.....