How IKEA is proposing Biodegradable Furniture?

How IKEA is making Biodegradable Furniture?

IKEA, the furniture giant, replaced all plastic packaging with biodegradable mycelium “fungi packaging” as part of its efforts to reduce waste from packaging material and increase recycling in 2019. Taking the initiative further, now IKEA is planning to build biodegradable furniture with the same packaging, IKEA FRAKTA.

IKEA dedicated research and design lab SPACE10’s resident architects Katya Bryskina and Tomás Clavijo explored how the famous IKEA FRAKTA shopping bag might be used as a tool to grow, cast and shape furniture using locally sourced, biodegradable materials.

As a material, they are renewable, cheap, biodegradable and in many cases completely recyclable.Though the project is still in an experimental stage, IKEA SPACE10 is encouraging all to make their own furniture or everyday products using local natural by-product in biodegradable composite materials.

IKEA-style guide of how to assemble your furniture is designed as a step-by-step guide to turn the FRAKTA shopping bag for a mould to grow your own biocomposite products.

Biodegradable Furniture Design

What you need?

Few FRAKTA bags, an airtight zipper, vacuum hole eyelets, a hammer, a box cutter, scissors, spray glue, and a heat sealer. IKEA encourages using local biodegradable composite materials and mixing with a natural binder such as plant-based resin or bicarbonates, the vegetal fibres, of for example, wheat, corn or rice can be compressed in a solid form and turned into cheap, renewable everyday products.

The list is a significantly longer list of tools than you need for the average piece of IKEA furniture but the results sure worth the trouble. The manufacturing process is fairly simple and profoundly sustainable.

Once you have gathered everything, the guide describes in 12 steps how to cut, fold and glue to turn the bags into a sealable object that can be used as a cast.

When you’ve finished your cast, the next step is to make the biocomposite, deflate the bags, shape the design and let the biocomposite dry. The curing time depends on the binder, so before you remove the cast, make sure your furniture is completely solid.When the object is solid, you can remove the cast. The project is designed in such a way that the process can be used by anyone, anywhere (with access to IKEA, of course).

Using simple household tools and the ubiquitous FRAKTA bag means that this process could be used by anyone, anywhere, to create circular furniture from their own home. This opens up the opportunity to encourage truly democratic expansion of circular design. Tomás and Katya developed a concept and a folding logic for a parametric design platform.

Biodegradable Furniture Design

Meanwhile, Bryskina and Clavijo are continuing their experiment with various biocomposites to cook up the perfect recipe for IKEA biodegradable furniture.

Bryskina and Clavijo designed a folding logic for a parametric design platform. Using this logic, they designed five furniture prototypes, including a chair, a shelving system, two tables and a stool, each based on the dimensions of the reconstructed FRAKTA shopping bag.

The furniture produced in this way is made out of completely biodegradable material. To dispose of the furniture, simply treat it as you would with any other organic waste — head to your nearest biowaste station, or let it decompose in nature.

The project was done in collaboration with Strelka Institute

Information and image courtesy: &


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