Tom Dixon x Ikea x UTS Design Students hack Delaktig

Tom Dixon x Ikea x UTS Design Students hack Delaktig

Delaktig is an open-source sofa concept, designed by IKEA in collaboration with renowned British designer Tom Dixon, featuring an endlessly configurable modular furniture collection made-up of sofas and accessories.

It was launched in Australia in April 2018, as an open source ”platform for living” which can be personalised to people’s constantly changing wants and needs.

In the spirit of challenging design conventions and the upholstery industry, Delaktig invites anyone to add to it, or completely change it.



I wanted to do a coffin, but they really didn’t like that idea. That was a very bad idea actuallyThey said ‘lets do a sofa, and I said, No, I’m not doing a bloody sofa, I’ll do a bed. ” …………….. Tom Dixon



Co-creation is very normal now, particularly in the digital world. I could imagine it’s going to become much more popular in the physical world as well.

Delaktig is an experiment that challenges the conventional methods of creation and distribution of furniture and explores the notions of adaptability and future-proofing.

Ultimately, Delaktig celebrates sustainability, longevity, flexibility and creativity.”………………………….. Tom Dixon



” Ikea dominates in beds in the European market ………………………..  “One in ten Europeans were conceived on an Ikea mattress

For me, a bed is furnishing number one. It takes up the most space, you spend the most time in it. It’s the only piece of furniture that everyone has — if you’re camping, or put in a prison cell, or in hospital, that’s all you’ve got, right? So that’s sort of unit one.

The more people that get involved in Delaktig – the better. I think that’s how a modern business should work.” …………………….. Tom Dixon



Smaller homes, more activities happening simultaneously, and new ways of socialising through technology is continuously shaping our daily lives.

Ikea and Tom wanted to know what this meant for upholstered furniture.

So Delaktig was created for better socializing solutions in a modern world where everything is constantly in lux.

Its versatility allows you to cope with some of those unknowns of everyday life; whether it be cramming for your next big exam or date night.

In contrast to traditional upholstery production and design, the Delaktig frame is made in an industrial manner.

That is one of the reasons why Ikea and Tom chose to work with aluminum.

It’s great for the industrial process, and its raw aesthetics makes for a durable, lightweight frame.

Because the frame is extruded it works as a carrier of attachments, extensions or additions. Its flexibility allows you alter the comfort, or add new functions – like maybe a self-made room divider, or a cosy corner for two.

The range’s aluminium frame allows for personalisation through clip-on items, such as side tables and lamps, but the range is the first that Ikea has formally encouraged customers and companies alike to modify or add to.

It started with a pitch to Ikea for a cot and a coffin, but they thought that was inappropriate.

We had a rethink and just thought: bed sofa.

With the battle-lines drawn, Marcus and Tom’s discussion moved to other industries: automobile, smartphones, how low-tech and old-fashioned the furniture business is, and then they agreed to create a platform for furniture piece number one: the bed.

We know the bed is the perfect unit of furnishing – in as much as everyone needs a bed. It doesn’t matter if you’re in prison, you’re camping, you’re in the army, you’re on your deathbed, everybody needs a bed.

It’s pretty much the only thing you need in furniture. We won’t be making the bed, Ikea are doing that for us. But we will be making the bits on the side.

marcus engman and tom dixon


Delaktig, the Swedish word for ”involvement”, is largely about collaboration.

Normally, Ikea works with one designer or one design team. This time around they wanted to really open up for co-creation in every sense.

Tom spent time in car factories when researching for a new functional and sustainable furniture line for his collaboration with Ikea. From there, he looked at smartphones, where people are constantly downloading and changing the applications and interface to suit their changing needs.

He then got to work on the project with seventy-five design students around the world as part of their Masters degree, a great way to look at design through another generation’s eyes and needs.

Contributing to a global community of Ikea hackers that already edit and modify Ikea designs for every-day life, Tom and Ikea have been doing workshops with the world’s most innovative art schools to see if Delaktig, rather than being a complete finished piece of furniture, could be the start of something much bigger – a kind of ecosystem with unlimited possibilities.

The results to date have been diverse and inspiring. It’s turned into a raft, it’s turned into a double decker bed, a sofa system for airports.

It’s a bed first but it can turn into anything. The bed becomes a sofa with our additions and even more with a network of sub-suppliers that will feed into this platform.

Ikea Australia and the University of Technology Sydney collaborated to open the Tom Dixon designed Delaktig bed-sofa collection up to Interior and Product design students from UTS, challenging them to personalise the range to reflect life at home in Australia.

To demonstrate the versatility of the range, Ikea held a 48-hour innovation workshop challenging UTS students to use the Delaktig platform to solve common struggles at home in Australia.

Eight students ( 4 x product design students and 4 x interior design students) were selected to take part in the Workshop which was mentored by Ikea’s Interior Design team together with the UTS Design Lecturers

The students had a live working session / conversation with James Futcher from Ikea of Sweden as part of the workshop.

James was the creative leader for Delaktig and worked on the other international student workshops with Tom, so shared his knowledge and feedback with the students during the workshop


The UTS Lecturers were –

Dr Thea Brejzek, Professor for Spatial Theory, Director Interior and Spatial Design, Faculty of Design, Architecture & Building, University of Technology, Sydney
Tom Fereday
Monika Proepper – Academic Tutor at The University of Sydney School of Architecture Design and Planning


The IKEA Australia workshop supervisory team comprised Christine Gough ( Interior Design Leader ) and Sue Schaffner ( Visual Merchandising Leader ) who helped lead the workshop alongside Tom Fereday and Monika Proepper.

Rachael Guinness and supervisor Christine Gough




The UTS Students were –

Group A:  Laura Touman and Angus Easthope
Group B:  Merena Nguyen and Sari Tredinnick
Group C:  Emilia Lin and Ben Styles
Group D:  Rachael Guinness and Monica Colla



Workshop Model making


At Ikea we are both curious and eager to find solutions to meet the changing demands in the homes of today and tomorrow.

Collaboration has always been at the core of our work, so we wanted to learn from the designers of the future and see how they would innovate and contribute their own fresh ideas to Delaktig.

Following workshops New York, Tokyo and London we wanted to see how up and coming Australian designers would work with the platform.” …………… Mark Mitchinson, Ikea Australia


merena nyugen with her hacked delaktig prototype models



UTS Student Completed Projects & Exhibition @ M2 Gallery,  Sydney


Design has a major influence on the way we live.

Working with Ikea and Delaktig the students were able to really challenge their thinking linked to the needs and desires of Australians – for example, the desire for personal space in increasingly urban environments and smaller homes, the impact of technology and the need for the home to continually evolve.

The result of the innovation workshop are a range of conceptual ideas that reflect how the students view and understand the world and how we live in it.” ……………. Thea Brejzek, Professor for Spatial Theory, UTS, School of Design


( back l-r ) Angus Easthope, Ben Styles, Emilia Lin ( front l-r ) Laura Touman, Monica Colla, Merena Nguyen, Sari Tredinnick. … ( not present Rachael Guinness )


So, this is the plan – you can go to Ikea and you can buy yourself a Delaktig bed. It’s an affordable bed. If you want, you can add components to make it into a sofa. Once you’ve got this bed sofa you can add on our hacks, other people’s hacks, or you can hack it yourself.

It’s an interesting idea, as a designer you’re always trying to create the perfect iconic product to sell and market. Here we were doing the opposite, it was: How can we make the perfect base for people to do what they want? It’s both thrilling and terrifying. ” …………………….. Tom Dixon





Tom Dixon’s own Hacks

This functional standing floor lamp can clamped onto the Delaktig to transform the frame into a functional workspace for the limitless enjoyment of creative pursuits, tv dinners, and occasionally – work.

With an optional heavy-weight aluminum base stand, this functional, practical and beautifully engineered task light takes its inspiration from generations of draughtsman’s and machinists lamps.

Reduced to a series of cylinders, tubes and junctions it is arranged in a minimalist sculptural composition and Made from raw aluminum.

An attachable Magazine Rack cut from a heavy-weight sheet of raw aluminum, polished and anodised for maximum durability and the storage of printed manifestoes on adaptable design.


An attachable back panel designed as a simple scallop edged surround, functional as support and headboard alike.

Cut from a heavy-weight sheet of raw aluminum, polished and anodised for maximum durability and a minimal silhouette.

Delaktig 1 Seat needs 1 back panel, Delaktig 2 Seat needs 2 back panels, and Delaktig 3 Seat needs 3 back panels

Tom has produced heavy-weight task lamps, coffee tables and magazine racks that can be clamped, slotted or bolted on at will, to mutate the sofa into a work or entertainment space.

Made of substantial and durable aluminium plate the hacks are robust enough to last a lifetime.

Made from extruded raw aluminium, both the frame and the hacks are said to be “robust enough to last a lifetime”.

A series of grooves running down the structure allows users to clamp, slot or bolt the hacks onto the sofa to change it into a space suitable for work, entertainment, or sleep.

These grooves enable the Delaktig to be transformed from a single bed into a chaise longue or a three-seater sofa – but it also has the potential to become a twin bed, a bunk bed, or a four-poster bed.

Tom Dixon worked with Swedish textile design company Bemz to create three luxury soft upholsteries, including a shower-proof striped sofa cover, an electric blue boucle throw, and an Icelandic sheepskin cover known as “The Beast”

Bold in black and white, Delaktig is transformed by our Bemz x Tom Dixon Stripey cover for the urban jungle.

Printed in high visibility camouflage, it’s a taste of far-off safaris tailored in the same material used on luxury yachts.

Designed for occasional outdoor use, Stripey is a hard-wearing life-proof fabric, shower-resistant but not to be left out in the rain.

The Bemz x Tom Dixon furry cover is our most extravagant offering, a one-of-a-kind, bespoke cover made of deep brownish black Icelandic long-haired sheepskin.

‘The Beast’s’ ample hyper-materiality transforms the sofa into a moody, dark and tactile animal – a mad sculptural intervention and our must indulgent hack.


Part of the reason we started the Ikea project was that we were fascinated by the hacking culture that exists around it.

After a bit of research, we saw that Bemz were the pre-eminent aftermarket adapters of Ikea products. Alongside producing a few high-end custom attachments for our own living platform, we felt Bemz would be the right partner to deliver three distinct covers beyond what Ikea themselves would usually produce ” ………… Tom Dixon



The general idea is that, just like with your iPhone, people can build apps around this sofa which will allow them to adapt it for a longer life.  The success of this will be if, in 30 or 40 years people have changed its functionality, it’s still survived rather than just being discarded

You get married or you split up, and you might want a different configuration. Or, maybe you’re renting out a spare room to somebody.

Don’t chuck Delaktig away if you’re finished with it – turn it into something else, something new. Or save it for the children so they can take it with them when they move out.”…………………. Tom Dixon



Delaktig 2.0

Ikea has just announced that together with Tom Dixon the decision has been made to continue the Delaktig journey, this time by challenging thinking and conventions of the modern bed.

Set to launch in 2019, Delaktig 2.0 brings Tom’s innovative approach to a bed frame that can be set up and personalised in different ways.


We are excited to see how and who will take on the challenge of changing and adapting the Delaktig platform and are looking forward to launching Delaktig 2.0, which sees us turn the platform into a double bed.

Continuing the journey with Delaktig 2.0 is about developing products that respond to new ways living, together or alone, but side by side, driven by urbanity, new technology and changing values.

“We understand the complex everyday situations where household constellations, activities and needs change on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. That’s why homes, and products, have to change with the people living there.

Through Delaktig and soon Delaktig 2.0, we are challenging traditional ideas and looking to create news ways to share different ways to liberate us from strict norms about lifestyle and how we live at home.” …………………. James Futcher, creative leader, Ikea of Sweden




About Delaktig

Delaktig is an open-source platform that challenges design conventions. Delaktig is never static.

With Delaktig, Ikea and Tom Dixon wanted to challenge the norms of seating production as it is today. Affordable, with a beautiful aesthetic, long lasting and democratic were just a few of the boxes that had to be ticked.

Delaktig, consists of three bases that can be added to and adapted to respond to personal needs and tastes. The collection includes a range of add-ons including a side table, armrests, backrests and lights.

In April, the Ikea Delaktig sofa platform received a RED DOT Award 2018 for Product Design.

Red Dot Award is an internationally organised competition, which reviews the best products of the year.




About Tom Dixon

Tom Dixon became a famous figure in the design world in the mid-1980s, we he was referred to as the “talented unstrained designer with a line of welded salvage furniture”.

By the late 1980s he was working for the Italian furniture giant Cappellini for who he designed the iconic ‘S’ chair.

Tom was appointed Head of Design by Habitat in 1998, where he later served as Creative Director until 2008.

Today, Tom Dixon runs his own design studio and has very much become a household name.

His work has been acquired by museums across the globe, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, Museum of Modern Art New York and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.

” I worked for ten years as creative director of Habitat, which was owned by Ikea at the time, so I had a much deeper insight into what they do and how they do it, than most other designers. 

In that context, when I started my company and after ten to twelve years working as an independent and building my own brand, I did miss the affordability, mass production and the might of working with experts in that field.

So those two factors and also the fact that realistically I don’t think that we’ll ever do beds because of the logistically they are complex with comfort levels and various mattress sizes in different territories.

It’s not the sort of thing that we’d be able to do properly because Ikea dominate in this area. In that context, it was the right person to go to.

I also like that more luxury fashion labels are working with high street and doing something that is mutually beneficially stretching themselves. I loved the Commes des Garcons and H&M collaboration.

The learnings were more about the mentality towards change and working with a company that has resources to pull on and can make big decisions that have got global impact.

They spoke about that earlier in regards to the amount of glue they use (referring to how Ikea is now developing a more environmentally friendly glue which will reduce 2% of their emissions). You learn a hell of a lot from the work methods and the way they are organised.

There is also a kind of second generation in Ikea coming through now and they are intent on changing the way in which they work. There are bigger openings.

The hacking idea three or four years would have been impossible because they were keeping their secrets.

We were talking about this project once it (hacking) started. 

Why would we do that for, when there is nothing to buy, so why would we talk about it? 

But in the modern world, that’s what you do. You also have access to vast amount of data of what goes on in people’s lives and how they live, which you never get in a small company.”  ………………………… Tom Dixon




About IKEA

Ikea Head Office and Marketing Centre in Almhult Sweden – is also where the Delaktig product devel0pment took place

Customers around the world have embraced the Ikea concept since its inception over 50 years ago.

Ikea is the world’s largest home furnishings retailer with over 355 Ikea Group stores in 29 countries, employing more than 149,000 co-workers.

In 2017, there were a total of 817 million Ikea store visits globally, and the Ikea website was visited 2.1 billion times.

The Ikea vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people and offer well-designed, functional and affordable, high quality home furnishing, produced with care for people and the environment.

Ikea achieves this through clever product design, cost-effective manufacturing, buying in bulk and transporting in flat packs.

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