The population of Earth is expanding at a rapid pace. As such, more and more people are living in cities. This mighty squeeze can cause problems, such as less affordability, lack of sustainable solutions, and worse food security.
However, the coastal city of Helsingborg, Sweden, is there to help solve these difficult issues. They invited the world to explore snazzy ideas and incredible innovations that put people and the planet first, as they hosted H22 City Expo, from May 30 − July 3, 2022.
This was an international event, which gave industrial visionaries the opportunity to test new ideas, technologies, solutions, and business models. One of the main partners of the event was IKEA – a company whose reputation, for some people, lies in interesting flatpack furniture and delicious meatballs. However, the company’s rich history and passion for innovation made it one of the best to come up with sustainable development solutions.
IKEA, with the help of its many employees, created three different sites for the H22 City Expo: Do More (DM), Magasin 405, and Skogen.
In the northeast of Helsingborg is Drottninghög, which was a prime location for a brand-new marketplace with a difference – Do More (DM). This multipurpose facility helped integrate communities as one unit, allowing the public to use it as a springboard for entrepreneurship, employment, and self-employment, as well as other hiring opportunities.
With its flexible setup, DM allowed people to do more things that they loved. The area was a social place that acted as a meeting location and helped meld the community together, bringing producers and the community together in one place.
The revenue model allowed for growth and continuity and was split into four areas: DM Market (market), DM Äta (food), DM Odla (urban farm), and DM Recruit (employment opportunities).
Are you familiar with the experience of moving into a new home? If the answer is yes, you are not alone, as millions of people across the globe make the move every year. This emotional and often financially expensive process can cause unwanted stress as you embark on a new independent venture.
On the old harbor of Helsingborg, there was a three-floor cultural delight, and one of the key touching points for IKEA in the H22 City Expo – Magasin 405. This place encouraged curiosity, wonder, and thought exploration about the future of homes. There were many exhibitions aimed at improving the journey of moving into a new home and the subsequent memories made there, by highlighting affordable and sustainable ideas.
Every household is different, but IKEA took snapshots of different homes – from a one-room single household to a multi-generational shared room – and presented them in the ÖGONBLICK exhibition. This was a unique, interactive set that explored different moments of life and how they affect our home environment. IKEA really delved into the concept – one exhibition even featured 60 different short documentaries. Solutions were also presented as to how to stretch furniture options to fit different scenarios, potentially helping with future financial strain.
The issues explored in Magasin 405 were not just local, but global. Important social issues were emphasized, like social housing, tips on how to generate zero organic waste, solutions for how to recycle mattresses, and the work of the IKEA foundation – whose mission (in partnerships with the United Nations refugee agency and the United Nations Human Rights Council) is to improve the lives of vulnerable children. In the H22 City Expo, the foundation also looked into home installations.
For the foodies out there, there was an array of delicious culinary delights that delved into future food trends. Well-known yummy classics were adapted to be plant-based and melded with new and innovative tastes. The kitchen creations included plant balls (a sibling to the classic meatballs), flatbreads with different toppings, and waffles, along with an almost oxymoronic experience of fine-dining hotdogs.
The H22 City Expo didn't just look inside the home, but also outside, as a way of getting people to reimagine and reconnect their symbiosis with nature. Skogen was located on the harborfront in Helsingborg, a stone's throw away from Magasin 405. The need for urban recreational spaces has become increasingly apparent in the past few years, with the pandemic limiting explorations to more immediate surroundings.
Skogen provided a space where people could step into a flatpack, mobile, modular, and transportable furniture forest. This place showcased the creative minds of universities and young designers in two ways, providing a platform for their innovative and creative designs for future outdoor living.
Firstly, IKEA and Spacon & X challenged four universities – The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Lund University, École cantonale d’art de Lausanne, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology – to create new communities with flatpack first homes.
Secondly, they conducted a global competition for young, creative minds to create open-sourced designs (allowing anyone to download, rebuild, or hack the plans) for exciting outdoor dwellings. The three winning proposals included a streamlined treehouse, a walking path that allows the stroller to be immersed in nature, and a versatile cork loop with countless functions.
Overall, this exciting H22 City Expo reignited people’s love for interior and exterior design and encouraged a positive outlook for the future.
The world may currently look bleak to some, but there is hope that new innovative ideas and designs can help improve future living.
Get inspired by IKEA’s vision for the future at IKEA.com.