Insights / Future Living
”Neighbourhoods are viewed as more important — 31% of people say it’s now more important to live closer to family and friends”
On what we’ll value the most at home
22 Jun 2022

Bisbo Steenberg has been working within retail her entire life, primarily focusing on range presentation, interior design, and sales. She’s now a project leader for IKEA’s activation, called Magasin 405, at the city expo H22 in Helsingborg in the southern part of Sweden.

— I’ve been involved in many interesting projects, but Magasin 405 is by far one of the coolest, as we have looked to the future of our homes from so many different aspects and ideas, she says.

Tell us more. What have you created?

— We are curious about life at home in the future, so we have created an interactive and engaging experience where we can explore it through many different lenses. From a more artistic perspective of the different life stages that we go through in the ÖGONBLICK exhibition, to a more specific focus in the exhibition The First Home, where we are looking at different life situations, affordability and the sharing economy. We have different more future-oriented experiences from other IKEA companies and partners like our innovation lab SPACE10 and their VR experience on how the ideal city will be shaped in 2040; What is Home, from IKEA Foundation, and mattress recycling company RetourMatras, a partner that with solutions that are the result of many years of research and development will help us take further steps on our journey in becoming a 100% circular business. Our Food Strategy 2025 come alive with an all plant-based and healthier offer.

You mentioned it, can you share more on your partners serving as good examples?

— Working with this exhibition, it’s been interesting to learn more about robotics, Bisbo Steenberg explains. This has caught my attention, as we have one robot that acts as an exhibition guide and another one that serves food to our guests. I am curious about what this field can deliver in terms of life at home. Another upcoming solution showcased at H22 comes from our Silicon Valley-based company Geomagical Labs. They are making it easy for customers to capture and furnish their homes using photorealistic 3D representations of their furnishings. Through our website and app, we will make it easy for people to take 3D photos from their rooms and experiment with home furnishing solutions to fit their unique needs. It can really change how people shop for furniture! I am also very inspired by RETOURMATRAS and hope to see much more development in recycling and turning old products into new raw materials in the near future. I hope more people, cities, and businesses will explore this field and demand action and solutions. It is a tricky area, I know, but we need more people and businesses to engage in this topic. There are no quick fixes, but all of us can and must contribute to making a real change — and I chose to be optimistic despite the challenges. 

When you look at the home of the future, what do you see? Can you share any predictions?

— Change is normal and an unstoppable force of nature. With that said, also our homes change and will continue to change. On the other hand, many things within the home remain the same. Home will always be a place to feel secure and comfortable — alone or very often together with people you care for, says Bisbo Steenberg. She continues:

— To us, innovation starts with a big or emerging problem connected to people’s life at home. The world is changing and so are people’s needs and dreams. Based on internal and external insights, combined with our solid life-at-home knowledge from connecting with hundreds of thousands of people across the world, we find new ways to make their everyday life better. In our Life at Home Report, where we’re interviewing over 30 000 people around the world every year to learn how they live in their homes, we learned that neighbourhoods are viewed as more important. In fact, 31% of people say it’s now more important to live closer to family and friends. All the while the ideal home has become cleaner, greener, and airier. These insights have helped us shape our activation at H22 and the way we are expanding our view of the home to not just include everything within the four walls, but also cities and communities.

— With that said, I see at least two trends looking to the future:

1. More sustainable homes. That is propelled by emerging technology, available for more of the many. But sustainability is also propelled by a genuine and urgent need to live more sustainably. People want to live in homes that are cleaner, greener, and airier, and it makes us turn more towards how we can invite nature into our homes. We want to promote a circular lifestyle and know we have to reuse more and share more. How can we help people live healthier and more sustainably at home?

2. Less space — in the cities and in our homes. Already today, many people live in really small spaces and even more, will do so in the future. More people need to coexist in smaller spaces — and those spaces need to be used for more different activities when people are working remotely from their kitchen tables, more people are gaming and media habits are changing so that we need less dedicated rooms for, let’s say, watching TV. So one of the things we are thinking heavily about is how can we come up with new solutions that make the most of people’s living spaces? How can we combine many activities, such as working, exercising, sleeping, gaming, and playing all in one?

— The challenges are huge. On the other hand, I am optimistic and see the solutions. We really see the grooving needs and have accordingly set ambitious sustainability goals, including how our products are manufactured, packaged, and transported and how they meet and are accessible to our customers — wherever they are.

Tine Bisbo Steenberg.

How will we use tech in our future homes? And any certain innovations you think will play a big part in our lives? 

— Products are just going to get smarter and smarter. However, we are rather talking about the evolution of the home, and not smarter homes, because it’s just a home — where digital and technology takes more space, and becomes an integrated part of our life to make it better. Science and technology are already assisting in our daily lives, and for us, it’s about how we as a company can marry technology with home furnishing. STARKVIND is a good example, a functional side table with a built-in air purifier, that helps battle air pollution that is increasing in people’s homes all over the world. The fact that it won Red Dot Design Award makes us believe that it’s possible to create functional products that solve problems and make people’s life at home genuinely better. This is something we will see more of in the future, Bisbo Steenberg concludes.