As the largest furniture retailer on the planet, it’s not surprising that IKEA’s products can be found in practically every home, apartment, and office interior. Now, the Swedish behemoth is hoping to change the way we use spaces with Space10: a new R&D department dedicated to exploring future possibilities for the retail industry, workspace design, and urban mobility. Through Space10, IKEA will develop space-saving concepts that will also save us all time.
As more and more autonomous vehicles start to roam around our roads, we may have to reconsider the way the built environment is structured. With IKEA Lab’s Space on Wheels concept, some services that currently take up stationary space inside buildings will soon have the option of going mobile. Today, ice cream and food trucks are about the only two mobile services that people are familiar with. These models are heavily influencing Space10’s rolling drug dispensary, which could effectively eliminate trips to the drug store in the future.
It doesn’t stop there. Space10 is taking things further with ideas like a mobile hotel, which would allow individual guestrooms to move around the city. Imagine a businesswoman getting an extra hour of sleep solely because her room can be in transit to the airport while she gets ready. Once she arrives, a weary traveler with reservations at the same hotel could simply board the same room and start relaxing before they have even left the airport grounds. Even large groups of tourists with long lists of places to see would benefit from this system, as they could always start their days just outside the next attraction, cutting out the work of figuring out how to get around.
Space10 also hopes to bring this kind mobility to the office with its Flexible Workspace concept. Even with the latest advancements in video conferencing technology, there are still times when in-person meetings are necessary. With a mobile office, an inconvenient crosstown meeting suddenly becomes much less disruptive to one’s day, as people are able to work right up until they get to the meeting location. A company in possession of several of these mobile offices could position them all throughout a metropolitan area at night in locations close to where their employees lived. Come morning, work and the commute could begin at the same time, with all units meeting at one specific point during the day. In the evening, the commute for some employees could start an hour (or more) earlier than usual, as their shift could continue until they got close enough to walk home.
An increase in mobile services could also change the importance of amenities when it comes to real estate and choosing a place to live. Fresh food markets, grocery stores, and bank branches on wheels would turn currently undesirable neighborhoods into very desirable places by cutting down on travel time.
Who else would benefit from all of these on-the-go services? In short, nearly everybody. Busy professionals with days that involve multiple stops could get more things done on their way home without stopping. Errands could even be done during the day when working out of a mobile office.
Although IKEA is known for their space-transforming furniture pieces, the ideas coming out of the Space10 Lab are poised to make time just as manageable for us.