No allen key required: Ikea’s new click-together furniture makes self-assembly a doddle — so will flat-pack rage …
Renters rejoice. Ikea furniture now has a wedge dowel that makes it quicker and easier to assemble and take apart — without an Allen key in sight.
The news comes as a three-part BBC 2 series, Flat-pack Empire, takes a behind-the-scenes look at the success of the Swedish furniture giant, which opened its first UK store 30 years ago.
Ikea’s dowel looks like a timber screw. Its milled, precision-cut grooves fit snugly into pre-drilled holes in, for example, the back of a tabletop. It’s a click-fit system, so you don’t need any tools, and it is said to cut assembly times by 50 to 80 per cent.
It is already being used for the Eket small table, Regissör cabinets and the Lisabo table and stool. Arriving in April is Ikea’s versatile Platsa click-together wardrobe system.
The company says the new joint means you can dismantle furniture easily and reassemble it somewhere else.
“Everyone from solo renters to families needs furniture that is flexible and portable,” says Ikea creative leader Jim Futcher.
Ikea also has a bigger trick up its sleeve. Just arrived in store is an ambitious sofa system called Delaktig — meaning “involvement” in Swedish — described as the company’s “most challenging yet”.
Designed with London’s Tom Dixon Studio and 75 design students, in a kit of 25 parts, it has an aluminium frame and tubular legs that click together, with screws only to hold them rigid.
You then click on whatever parts you wish — backrests, and/or side arms, small tables, lighting and so on.
Basic Delaktig is affordable, and supremely versatile to suit change of use in a room. Prices start from £55 for an armrest to £405 for a three-seater “platform”.
“You get married or you split up. Or maybe you’re renting out a spare room,” suggests Dixon. “Don’t chuck Delaktig away if you’re done – turn it into something else, something new. Or save it for the children so they can take it with them when they move out.”
On the TV programme on Tuesday evening, Dixon stressed that his design was fundamentally a bed with add-ons for a sofa and so on. This had caused problems for Ikea, as beds must withstand more rigorous flammability tests than sofas. Nevertheless all has been sorted, and the programme showed Futcher quite happily snuggling down under a duvet.
THE QUALITY’S THERE
Industry experts say the savings made by flat-pack furniture do not come from lower production costs but by dramatically reducing the price of transport and warehousing.
“People think flat pack means inferior furniture,” says Matthew Long, senior furniture and upholstery designer for Habitat.
“But quality furniture can also come in designs that are easy and quick to put together and take apart.”
His new lightweight Nadia bed, priced £550, is handmade from Indonesian rattan and comes in four pieces that are held together by simple clips.
The Holding Company sells a chrome-framed storage system that is super-easy to assemble. From £35 at Argos, find fabric wardrobes with canvas roll-up covers over slot-together frames.
Or consider furniture that folds flat for storage and transport. New on the market is FoldSmart’s folding wardrobe system, with a no-frills design in several finishes.
Pieces simply unfold with slot-in back and clip-on hinged doors, and can be assembled “in minutes”, it is claimed. A single wardrobe unit 40cm wide costs £234.
Finally, the Muji foldable lightweight oak veneer table is arriving at the end of the month, in two sizes, £250 and £295.