IKEA brings the Jam

 Music is today a natural part of our everyday life. You hear it on the subway, in stores and out on the streets – music is everywhere. When IKEA asked people what sound they associate with their homes, most mentioned things like the sound of voices or children playing, and for many, it is music.

IKEA is always looking for new ways of doing things, and the FREKVENS private brand limited collection is no exception to the approach.

FREKVENS encourages spontaneity, creativity, and mobility when it comes to sound around the home. The name, FREKVENS, meaning ‘frequency,’ is perfect to describe the heart of the collection.

With FREKVENS, we celebrate sound, we encourage togetherness, and we enable people to throw the ultimate home party.

Spontaneous sprees

Insights of how important music is in young people’s life were the starting point in the FREKVENS collection, where IKEA has engineered new solutions for having fun, together with teenage engineering.

“We know that for younger people, spontaneity is key. The idea of gathering some friends could become a reality in minutes. What is needed to have a good party at home? That’s what we wanted to investigate with FREKVENS. Together with teenage engineering, we have explored the possibilities of taking the party with us,” says Michael Nikolic, Creative Design Leader at IKEA of Sweden.

“The light and sound collection builds on teenage engineering aesthetic value, high sound quality, and well-designed products for people who love music. It is unlike anything IKEA has done before,” Michael says.

“FREKVENS is a collection with its own personality – one very recognizable to teenage engineering enthusiasts.

Throughout the collaboration, we joked that teenage engineering knew us better than we did! They added their rebellious touch to the IKEA identity, which made it feel even more IKEA. That’s why we love it!” Michael says and laughs.

“The collection introduces something new for IKEA. A sound collection with simple Bluetooth technology and stacking ability lets you create your own configuration for a great party, anywhere in the home. The other bonus is the collection has all the other things you need to get the party started,” Michael adds.

Engineering vs. mass production 

With so many great early ideas on the table, sadly we couldn’t make them all. The development process, of course, had its twists and turns.

“We did a lot of development on the factory floor directly with the electronic supplier. It was interesting to get so close to the manufacturing, but it also brought challenges,” Jesper Kesper Kouthoofd, head of design and founder teenage engineering explains.

The challenge was that teenage engineering came with a lot of expertise in these products. The factory has fantastic ability but were required to learn the teenage engineering way of working. Some of the details were hard to implement.

“It is good to put the problems on the table. We enjoyed finding ways around the limitations. It was good for creativity and to test our thinking,” says Michael Nikolic, Creative Design Leader at IKEA of Sweden.

“We are unorthodox creative engineers and it is really hard to try to rewrite

the way factories work. We want to be involved along the way so we can push things to the limit,” Jesper admits. He laughs and says, “but we got there in the end, and we are really happy now it’s being launched!”

We are equally as happy that FREKVENS has received a Red Dot Award. It shows us that design can be bigger than just the design, that togetherness makes things better. With a party collection like FREKVENS, we encourage people to be together.

 An unlikely pairing

“One thing we really appreciated in this collaboration was to see how IKEA works. We were curious of this big organization – how is the process and how is it to work with other people?” Jesper says.

The decision process is much shorter at teenage engineering so this was good for IKEA and teenage engineering to navigate and learn from unfamiliar landscapes.

“The most important thing I learned is to always work with people you like, and good stuff will come out of it. And it’s really good people at IKEA!” Jesper describes.

“Usually, we do a little more niche products, so I really appreciated working with a broader audience at IKEA – for the many people,” he concludes.

Surprise party

“I’m hoping people will start to create things with these objects and surprise us with how they use them, that’s what I want to see. Maybe using them in a context, we haven’t thought about” Jesper comments.

The FREKVENS collection will be available in IKEA stores in February next year.

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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.