Two black UTESPELARE gaming chairs standing inside a three-sided box covered in black tiles with a lightbox for ceiling.

Bringing the world of cyberpunk and home furnishing together

What happens when you combine gaming experts and experts on life at home? We sat down with Johnny Chan, lead designer at Republic of Gamers (ROG), and IKEA designer Jon Karlsson, to discuss how a collision of worlds created something quite unique: the much-anticipated range of furniture made for gaming.

IKEA and ROG have collaborated to create a range with the intention of uniting gaming lovers across the world. The range will offer home furnishing for the best possible gaming set-up and optimal performance at a price point designed for the many. But what did the process of getting from ideas and sketches to final products look like?

“Honestly, the making of this range has been one of the most rewarding collaborations I’ve ever worked on,” says Jon. “And I believe the reason for that is that the collaboration was a merge between two extremes, where ROG is cyberpunk in terms of design language, and IKEA is home furnishing and complete solutions. It gave us a lot of interesting tension to build from,” he adds.

IKEA has had the ambition to create gaming solutions for a long time but hasn’t been ready to take the leap until now. And it’s through this collaboration, Jon and the rest of the IKEA team got to immerse themselves in the gaming lifestyle fully – and all the customer needs attached with it.

“Since I’m no gamer myself, the learning curve at times felt quite steep. It was a very humbling experience, one that has completely changed my perspective of the gaming culture,” says Jon.

Three persons around a wooden table in an office setting.

A group of people gathered around a desk with a white table lamp, inside an IKEA store.

Meanwhile, Johnny learned a lot about the IKEA approach to product design.

“There were a lot of discussions back and forth, and I can imagine that IKEA felt we from ROG were a bit too demanding at times. However, our focus is hardcore gamers and the interaction between gamers, gaming gears and gaming spaces. We needed to ensure that the experience we offer through these products is the best possible,” he says.

A self-described gaming nerd, Johnny knows that the gaming lifestyle comes with very specific needs – for example, keeping the battle station cool and comfortable for gamers that spend hours and hours sitting in front of their screens. These aspects were all taken into consideration during the product development.

A black office chair on a black patterned rug, beside a black computer desk.

A person in a grey sweater sitting on a black office chair at a black desk with a black keyboard.

So, what do the designers feel about the outcome?

“I’m really pleased with the collection. It’s highly ergonomic, supporting gamers to become better at their game by having the freedom to move and sit in better ways”, says Jon. “And the collection stretches beyond a desk and a chair – it’s about allowing people to create complete solutions that show who they are,” he adds.

“I think we’ve done a great job of tackling the needs and expectations that gamers have – and delivering above that, says Johnny. Besides the pegboard for accessories, my favourite product is the V-cut design of the gaming desk – a key feature of the ROG design language – which allows set-up on either side based on the gamer’s specific needs. I also really like the custom pattern featured throughout the UPPSPEL family containing an encoded data stream,” he adds.

“These hardcore gamers have so much gear, and it needs to be stored in a good way. I’m happy we were able to create a lot of good solutions for that specific need, says Jon. “It’s been a really fun collaboration which I think can be seen in the result. This is just the beginning, and I can’t wait for the next chapter of IKEA exploring gaming.”

The IKEA gaming range will be available globally from October 2021.