Ten years in the future, the world will be a very different place. (Read how). What does that mean for us, for the design of kitchens, and the people who make them – and how will we be able to live a sustainable life at home?
To find out, IKEA collaborated with IDEO and design students School of Industrial Design at the Ingvar Kamprad Design Centre at Lund University, and the Industrial Design department at Eindhoven University of Technology.
One outcome of the 18 month long collaboration is the Concept Kitchen 2025 exhibition at IKEA Temporary, open from April 9, Milan.
The exhibition is just one part of an ongoing investigation by IKEA into how people’s relationship to food is changing. It serves to tangibly show what we might be doing in 2025: how we’ll be growing our food, storing it; how we’ll be cooking, eating, living and working in the kitchen.
The technology consists of a camera and projector positioned above the table and induction coils underneath the table surface. Networked together, they allow the system to recognise objects and their movement and to project a display.
This is ‘Casual Technology’: tools that give us control and guidance when we need it, but are otherwise hidden - a surface simplicity that minimises distractions and allows for mindful engagement with food..
Near-instantaneous food delivery from autonomous vehicles and drones means the end of the weekly shop, so we’ll store less, but it’ll be higher quality.
While existing fridges waste energy and hide our food, this modern pantry makes food visible, keeping us mindful and inspired by the food we’ve got around us – so we’ll waste less of it.
It’s ‘Casual technology’ - unobtrusive, embedded, yet aware, helping us to save energy and food waste.
Here’s how we might be storing food in the future…
The pantry features wooden shelves that contain hidden sensors and smart induction cooling technology.
Visually referencing the market stall, these counter-level shelves keep fresh, perishable foods like eggs and fruit front of mind and close at hand.
Meanwhile terracotta storage boxes are naturally cool, perfect for foods such as garlic, potatoes and carrots.
Multifunctional, modular and inexpensive to produce, these storage containers allow food to be wirelessly cooled to just the right temperature.
Double-walled glass cloches keep food visible, so we don’t overbuy.
Insets made of porcelain, wood or slate keep food fresher for longer, and can be detached to use as tableware.
The magnetic, stainless steel-gadoliminium alloy base is inductively cooled by the shelves. But if the container is placed on the kitchen table surface, the induction system switches to heating.
The container’s temperature is ‘remote controlled’ by food packaging.
To set the right storage temperature, we detach an RFID sticker from its packaging, put the food inside the container and the sticker on the outside.
Sensing the presence of a container, the shelves will simply ‘read’ the sticker’s RFID storage instructions and adjust the temperature accordingly.
As we become more conscious of the environmental impact of household waste, we’ll recycle and reuse far more. Cities will encourage that too, charging residents for non-recyclable rubbish by the kilogram.
This waste and composting system helps us live more sustainably by making us more aware of what we’re throwing away, and helping our municipalities dispose of that waste more efficiently.
Here’s how we might dispose of food in 2025…
Organic waste washed from the sink into the composting system is blended, the water extracted, and it’s then compressed into a dry, odourless puck. These pucks can be stacked for pickup by the municipality.
The waste water doesn’t flush away: it contains nutrients that can be safely used to feed our indoor plants.
We’ll separate non-organic waste by material. The can, bottle, or container is crushed, scanned to identify what it’s made of, and for contamination.
Waste is then vacuum packed and sealed in a bio-polymer tube. A thermo-printed label records what we’ve disposed of and potential future uses. Depending on how wasteful we’ve been, we receive an energy credit or debit.
Water’s set to become more precious in the next ten years, so we'll need to use it more responsibly. A ‘Mindful design’ solution makes us conscious of our everyday decisions, and helps us make better-informed choices about how we use water.
Here’s how we may treat water in ten years…
Our sink has two plug holes: pivot one way for ‘grey’ water that be reused for washing up and watering plants, tipping to the right…
… sends badly contaminated water (black water) through to the sewerage pipes for treatment.
In August 2013, IKEA invited students from the School of Industrial Design at the Ingvar Kamprad Design Center, Lund University, and the Industrial Design department at Eindhoven University of Technology to answer the questions: What will life around food look like in 2025? And will we be able to help people live a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle?
Here’s the story behind the brief, the research, the resulting student projects and four IDEO internships.
We believe working in design is about steering fluently through a constantly shifting landscape of needs and demands. Fast advances in culture and technology spark new behaviours and desires demanding pioneering products and services. At will, a designer can be a creative transformer and communicator alike – thinking, beyond the familiar – operating, with moral intelligence.
Course Supervision / Direction:
Claus-Christian Eckhardt and Anna Persson
The Department of Industrial Design at Eindhoven University of Technology performs research on and provides education in creating intelligent systems, products and related services.
In this project students focused on creating opportunities for people to engage in expressive and rich interactions with future kitchen appliances and food.
Course Supervision / Direction: Jelle Stienstra
To encourage students to look further afield for inspiration, we created videos featuring interviews with experts including an arctic explorer and an urban farmer.
To teach the students more about the design process, we created a toolkit, containing fold out guides for researching as well other helpful techniques. Here’s a summary of the key steps:
The best way to reveal insights and opportunities is to go out into the real world and see how people behave in their environment.
What did we see and hear? How did we feel about it? What does it mean?
How do you turn inspiration into ideas?
How to turn stories into concepts?
To many people brainstorming is synonymous with undisciplined conversation. We’ve found that
conducting a really good brainstorm involves lots of discipline and takes a fair bit of preparation.
Prototyping is a great way to communicate
a concept with minimal investment. It allows
you to quickly identify what may need to
Throughout the project the students unearthed a wealth of knowledge and ideas. Click below to explore the students’ perspectives on how we’ll behave around food in 2025. These products, services and technologies both inspired the Milan exhibition, and will inform future product development at IKEA.EXPLORE THE STUDENT PROJECTS
Synthesising the student projects, we identified six themes we believe are crucial to understanding how we’ll behave around food in ten years. Read more here.