Luxe Code speaks to Tony Gjerlufsen, Head of Technology, SPACE10, about a digital experiment project as part of IKEA’s initiative to create a space for design during this pandemic.
A series of digital experiments by IKEA exploring new ways of interacting with the spaces we live in. With people spending more time at home than ever before, now is the time to act and learn more about the way we experience and engage with our homes. The web-based platform EverydayExperiments.com, gathers some of the most interesting technology and design studios to showcase a series of digital experiments that explore new ways of how we interact with the spaces we live in. The project is initiated by IKEA and its research and design lab SPACE10.
The explorative, surprising and playful experiments can be perceived on the platform that demonstrates how our homes can be experienced in extraordinary ways through the means of technology. Conducted by some of the world’s most innovative design and technology studios*, the experiments focus on AI, Machine Learning, Augmented Reality and cutting-edge Spatial Intelligence.
Photo by Kasper Kristoffersen
Excerpts from an interview with Tony Gjerlufsen, Head of Technology, SPACE10.
How did the partnership between IKEA and SPACE10 come about?
It began when Inter IKEA Group CEO Torbjörn Lööf reached out to SPACE10’s co-founder Carla Cammilla Hjort, to discuss co-strategising a better future for IKEA. They had gotten acquainted through an earlier collaboration with another of Hjort’s companies, ArtRebels, with whom IKEA had launched a limited product series. Carla and fellow co-founder Simon Caspersen pitched the idea of setting up an external and self-governing research and design lab to work exclusively for IKEA to explore new ways of fulfilling IKEA’s overall vision of creating a better everyday life for the many people. SPACE10 shouldn’t focus on the IKEA we know today, but for what IKEA could be tomorrow. Torbjörn Lööf loved the idea and Carla and Simon brought in Guillaume Charny-Brunet and Kaave Pour to conceptualise the idea further and to materialise it as SPACE10 as we know it today, where SPACE10 has evolved from a group of four founders to a team of 30 people from 15 different countries with backgrounds ranging from aerospace engineering to anthropology, from food design to computer science, and from architecture to digital design - creating a truly diverse and value-driven team of innovators.
With people spending more time at home, how do you envision technology to help us live better?
Technology is part of almost every aspect of today’s daily life and a driving force for innovation. SPACE10 and IKEA are constantly looking for new ways to create a better everyday life, wherever people feel at home. This also includes exploring new emerging technologies to pave the way for a new way of living: Imagine a light bulb warning you about high levels of air pollution outside or blinds that open and close based on sunset and sunrise. With the help of today’s technology it is possible to not only redefine the way we live at home but most importantly to make life better and more enjoyable.
How are privacy concerns when it comes to the use of technology in home environments being addressed?
While we believe that privacy is a fundamental human right, we also acknowledge that data is a key ingredient in creating meaningful digital experiences for people. We are standing at a very interesting moment in history, where all companies need to define what their values and ethics are in digital. The data driven economy is in full swing, but at SPACE10 we don't want to consider data as a new kind of oil to be extracted from people. We side with people and every time they use technology we have designed and developed, they show us trust - a trust that we respect and honour without exploiting them. We truly believe privacy and trust are essential. We all absolutely need to be able to have a trusting relationship with the companies we invite into our homes, and at SPACE10, we believe that building trust not only should be a given – it will also increasingly become a competitive advantage: In a world that’s saturated with data, it is not as much the amount of data that will make the difference when designing for meaningfulness, it is more the quality of it. And there, our hypothesis is, the companies who are trusted, stand to win. We believe that the way forward is to double down on openness and experimentation – to find new and mutually beneficial ways of breaking the negative cycle of mistrust that currently exists between companies and people. For each of the experiments that have been conducted, privacy and trust may be prevalent: From an active choice, not to use regular cameras to capture hand movements in “Light Gestures” to the completely privacy centred “Private Collection” that opens up for people to control themselves what they want to share.
So far what have the experiments revealed/achieved and what can we expect going forward?
We are still in an early exploration phase, therefore no decisions have been made yet whether some of the experiments will be deployed. Above all, Everyday Experiments is a playground for creative technologists and forward-thinking designers to exchange ideas and showcase early stages of their important work. For us and them a successful project would demonstrate to the people how innovations can affect their quality of life. This is something that might not always convert into commercial assets but rather meet the objective of driving technological change and developing new meaningful solutions that can make the everyday extraordinary. We aim to continue gaining insights through experimentation, and to also make those public on everydayexperiments.com.