A sketch of a mesh wardrobe with a drawn hand reaching into it.

Mission: A breathable wardrobe

As a designer, Maja Ganszyniec loves to solve problems. Among the new designs in the temporary collection SPÄNST is a wardrobe that tackles something anyone with an active life style knows about…

What kind of furniture would a young person with an active urban and sporty lifestyle need? Someone, who is perhaps still living at home in just one room, in a small apartment or sharing a studio with friends?

These are the questions that U.S street fashion designer Chris Stamp and designer Maja Ganszyniec asked themselves, trying to come up with new solutions for the temporary IKEA collection SPÄNST. “It turned out Chris and I had very similar ideas of the collection and its aesthetics. Since our first meeting in New York, our designs for SPÄNST have been very coherent”.

A black-and-white portrait of a long-haired woman.
Designing for a young demographic, Maja Ganszyniec.

One thing they zoomed in on is the fact that many young consumers not only are concerned with what they wear, but tend to collect and put those items in their house – beautifying the environment in the process. Whether it be apparel, accessories or art. So among the items in SPÄNST are for example transparent shoe boxes and a shoe rack for those who want to show off their skateboards or footwear.

We wanted to enhance a young urban lifestyle, and support people who are active. That was our starting point.

Another aspect is the limited space, which requires furniture to have multiple functions, such as the collection’s multipurpose sofa. On the same note, Maja asked herself: how do you dry clothes coming home from the gym, and don’t have a separate room to hide them in?

“We wanted to enhance a young urban lifestyle, and support people who are active. That was our starting point. Today, you might come home from skating, parkour, other sports or yoga for instance. And you end up with wet or damp sports clothing when at the same time you might be sharing a tiny flat.”

A four-image collage of different versions of a free-standing mesh wardrobe.
Narrowing down the choices. Sketches made during the development process.

Maja Ganszyniec came up with the idea of a breathable wardrobe that allowed you to store your gym in a both practical, yet appealing way. At the same time it was important to her not to create a closed room, but a space vibrant with energy. “You want to hide the mess, without creating a block of concrete in the middle of the room. But it had to be stable, so I tried different approaches and material such as paper. Finally, we came up with the mesh fabric that is see through and gives a nice visual effect as it changes depending on from what angle you are looking at it. During the day when light changes, so do the wardrobes appearance. I think it came out really well.”

Since Maja’s and Chris’ shared objective was so clear, and their joined vision turned out so unified, the design phase was very smooth. “This was such a fun project. I think the collection is outstanding in terms of aesthetics because it embodies the openness of IKEA to explore new ideas and concepts,” says Maja Ganszyniec.

The IKEA SPÄNST collection is set to launch in May 2018.

A woman next to a black mesh wardrobe.
Maya and a prototype of the SPÄNST wardrobe at the Democratic Design Centre in Älmhult.