Once an act of bricolage subversion, Ikea hacking seems to have abandoned the Do-It-Yourself attitude of the origins to establish itself as a customization practice “within the system”. Hence, the sense of redesign is no longer to challenge a mass-market catalogue with weird surprise effects, rather to update its products with high quality designs and finishes.
The kitchen sector is an excellent test bed for measuring the trend towards sophistication in the wider Ikea-related industries. Founded in 2014, the Danish company Reform collaborates with leading designers and architects – Müller Van Severen, BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group, Sigurd Larsen and NORM, among others – to accomplish a bold mission: to extend the life cycle of an Ikea kitchen thanks to new coatings to be applied to Ikea’s original frames, and hence to turn the piece’s into a timeless classic with the same status as other icons in design history.
The same desire to democratize custom-made kitchens, making them accessible well beyond the high-end market range, is shared by Superfront. The Swedish company offers a wide choice of modular fronts and countertops, together with a wide range of accessories such as feet and handles to be selected online through a special configurator. Beyond their specific features, these design solutions let the customer implement its bespoke touch, transfiguring the most popular and predictable layouts and fighting against early obsolescence.