Love it or hate it, IKEA has become an essential resource for apartment dwellers everywhere. Now, The Wall Street Journal reports that the Swedish company is making itself even more indispensable to those living in tiny urban spaces thanks to a thoroughly innovative development: Movable walls.
For the past two years, IKEA has put their concept to the test in a couple of apartments in Malmö, Sweden. The brand installed floating walls—which hover less than an inch off the ground and are attached to runners on the apartments' permanent walls—and asked residents to report back. A single father of three said that, "The apartment felt much bigger than mine, which is actually 20 square meters (215 square feet) bigger."
Mikael Ydholm, IKEA's head of research, has big plans for the moving walls, though he admits that they're not quite consumer-ready. The company is still working through safety regulations and installation logistics; ideally, Ydholm says that they hope to get movable walls in IKEA catalogs in about three years.
Until then, you can check out pictures from the 5-in-1 apartment designed and built by MKCA, which features a similar concept. The architecture firm used a 1920s co-op in Manhattan's Gramercy Park neighborhood to experiment with micro-housing. Among the custom solutions employed in the 390-square-foot space is a wall that slides back to reveal a tiny sleeping area.
Alan Tansey for MKCA