Extreme IKEA hacks by Maaike Fransen

SPACE10 wanted to put a new spin on IKEA hacking, and challenged the progressive artist and designer Maaike Fransen to create interior design for SPACE10 using only repurposed IKEA products. Maaike raided IKEA and created two fantastically odd and humorous IKEA hacks. One creation was a bubbly white hangout space resembling a snowy landscape, and the other was a mobile workstation for lazy people.

IKEA Hacking is what happens when people repurpose or make modifications to IKEA products. The goal can either be to put the product to a different use than originally intended, or simply to add a personal touch to IKEA furniture for aesthetic reasons. The trend started in 2006, when people started posting pictures of their IKEA hacks online. This led to the creation of a worldwide community of IKEA hack aficionados who come together online to share their own hacks and be inspired by others. IKEA hacking is an ingenious way for people to be creative while customising and personalising their furniture.

Maaike Fransen was invited by the folks at Spacon & X, the designers of SPACE10. They had gotten to know Maaike during her time with the Danish designer Henrik Vibskov. “We love Maaike’s work. She often uses existing objects as a starting point for her art and design installations, so it was a great opportunity to bring her in to transform IKEA products into something unusual and spectacular,” says Svend Jakob Pedersen from Spacon & X. 

Maaike created two IKEA hacks. One was the “The Cloud”, which Maaike likens to a soft white Himalayan ice landscape – a hangout you can jump into. 

The Cloud

The Cloud is made of 12 transparent inflatable IKEA balls, sold as children’s toys. “I bought as many as I could find in IKEA Amsterdam, blew them all up and filled a whole room. It looked cool, but was not really appealing to lay down on, because of the rubber feeling,” she explained.

You just feel it’s a pool you can sink into! she explains.

But when she stretched a white IKEA blanket over the balls, she imagined a soft, bubbly Himalayan landscape. “I knew that I was nearly there,” she says. Her final challenge was figuring out how to attach the balls. After several attempts, she made a net out of black bands (available from IKEA’s Transport/Tools department). To that she added two little yellow stairs made into springboards. “You just feel it’s a pool you can sink into!” she explains.

The workstation for lazy people

Maaike Fransen’s other hack was a mobile work-station/chill-out cart. Once again, all the different parts were constructed with elements Maaike found at IKEA. “I actually had to steal the carts from IKEA. They are all over the place, but are not for sale at the moment. But I saw them and I had to hack them, it was an impulsive act!” she laughs.

I actually had to steal the carts from IKEA. They are all over the place, but are not for sale at the moment. But I saw them and I had to hack them, it was an impulsive act! she laughs.

The carts are designed to combine solo work with relaxation and the ability to move around the room. Each cart has a light attached, itself a hack made by combining an IKEA mirror, wooden table-ring, plastic storage bowl and a little touch-light. You just have to hit it hard. The dark pink and red pillow-rolls in the carts are made by sewing together eight IKEA towels and filling the last one with an IKEA pillow. The green and gray tables are made of two IKEA Lack tables joined together with an IKEA shelf.

About the artist

Maaike Fransen studied at the Design Academy in Eindhoven. Soon after graduating cum laude with a movie about childhood memories and a collection of nomadic accessories, she started working as a freelance designer on different projects in Europe. She is currently working on her Masters at the Sandberg Institute. 

“I like to work in different disciplines, but behind every creation there is some sort of storytelling and imagination as a base, which is what I think is most important to and characteristic of my work. I have a weird mind. I’m also often a bit surprised at what comes out of it. Humour is very important, but I can’t force it, unfortunately; it's not in every work, but I’m glad when it happens. There is not much that is better than making another person smile,” says Maaike. 

Flæsketorvet 10
1711 Copenhagen V