IKEA’s Space10 Just Launched a Couch in an Envelope

published Jul 5, 2023
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If you’ve ever had the misfortune of carrying a bulky couch up the stairs of a walk-up apartment — or seen the iconic “pivot” episode of Friends — you know what a huge difference easily transportable furniture could make when it comes to moving.

If IKEA’s research lab SPACE10 has its way, the horrors of moving furniture could soon become a distant memory and drastically reduce the number of home goods that end up in landfills. In collaboration with fellow design studio Panter & Tourron, SPACE10’s designers used AI to complete its “Couch in an Envelope” project, which imagines how redesigning couches could lead to more sustainable home solutions.

“This project began as a way to challenge problematic design archetypes,” Georgina McDonald of SPACE10’s Creative & Partnerships department said in a statement. “The couch, as we know it today, is a complicated and high-maintenance piece of furniture … however beloved it is, the couch is often a strain on people owing to its weight, the planet due to its design intricacies, and a burden on the friends who generously help us to move. The project is an agenda for change, inspiring the design community to move further towards a couch that is better for us — and the planet.”

By giving a series of AI platforms a series of prompts such as “platform,” “lightweight,” “sustainable,” and “easy to move,” the two studios generated a series of lightweight modern couches.

The final “Couch in an Envelope” design weighs just 10 kilos, and is composed of a flat base and adjustable “wings.” Because of its modular, flat-packed design, several of these couches can be put together to create more seating. 

“Comfort is primarily the main requirement when designing a couch, which can compromise durability and sustainability,” Stefano Panterotto, designer and co-founder of Panter & Tourron said in a statement. “We wanted to simplify the material composition, prioritize weight, disassembly, and circularity. We’ve envisaged something that’s 100% recyclable, without sacrificing softness.”

A prototype of the product will be available at SPACE10’s exhibition “Design in the Age of AI,” which is currently open at the SPACE10 Gallery in Copenhagen, Denmark.