My husband has a seriously convenient knack for putting together IKEA furniture. Seriously, sometimes I (half) jokingly suggest he start side hustling as a TaskRabbit for a little extra income. But the thing is that he actually enjoys it—and when I ask him why he says it's like building LEGOs for grownups. Well, now he might actually be able to build an IKEA LEGO, or something like it. The two Scandinavian companies are officially partnering up: IKEA announced at its Democratic Design Days in Almhut, Sweden on Thursday that it will be kicking off a collaboration with LEGO (which is headquartered in Denmark).
Both companies promise that the products they develop together will focus on a spirit of play. The collaboration was announced by Marcus Engman, head of design for IKEA; Lena Dixen, senior vice president of product development for LEGO and Fredrika Inger, business area manager for Children's IKEA. The three talked on stage about how children really understand the importance of play—but by the time we become adults, very often we forget about it, despite its role in stress relief, mindfulness and, of course, fun.
"Together, the Lego Group and IKEA we really want to enable many more opportunities for play in the home between children and their parents," Dixen told the group.
"You never get too old to play," Inger added.
Right now, the three said it was too early to give an estimate about when a product line might launch—the best answer they could give was "soon."
I asked Dixen and Inger after the program (IKEA brought journalists, including Apartment Therapy, along for Democratic Design Days), if they had any sense of whether the products they developed would focus on children, adults, or the intersection of parents playing with children: "Most likely all of the categories that you mentioned—of course kids, but also parents and adults," Dixen said.
In terms of product categories—toys, play systems, or even a (gasp) LEGO organizational system? Both said it was too soon to say. "It's early stages, it's a lot of ideas," Inger said.
For now, they say, the group is just playing around themselves, and beginning to discover what this newly formed collaboration could look like.
"If you grew up in Scandinavia, everyone had LEGO, it was part of your childhood," Engman told me of the partnership. "The very idea of LEGO is to enhance creativity amongst kids. That's something that we also support and try to do. For us, of course that's smart to merge our two ways of thinking and see what we can come up with."