ikea’s SPACE10 envisions a flat SOFA, WITH THE USE OF ai


IKEA’s research lab SPACE10 envisions a recyclable sofa that weighs 10 kg, and is designed to fit snugly into an envelope for effortless portability. In collaboration with Panter&Tourron, the team challenges design archetypes with artificial intelligence, reimagining a couch as a lightweight, versatile, comfortable, and sustainable item. Typically, sofas are associated with comfort, relaxation, and a cozy atmosphere, but they often come in the form of large, heavy, and bulky pieces, usually fixed in our living rooms.


Challenging these norms, the Couch in an Envelope project seeks to liberate the furniture from its historical form, introducing a concept that is flat-packed and modular, and users can easily carry it around. The project is part of the Design in the Age of AI exhibition at SPACE10 Gallery in Copenhagen, which is on view until November 2023. The display presents speculative design concepts from recent SPACE10 projects, exploring the role of generative AI as a creative design tool and even a collaborator. This could make us think beyond conventional boundaries, leading to the creation of furniture and products that are better suited for the future of home living.

you may soon be able to carry your sofa around with IKEA's 10kg 'couch in an envelope'
all visuals by Panter&Tourron for SPACE10



the couch in an envelope: disassemble it and carry it around


The conventional design of a typical couch made up of many components pose challenges for recycling, leading to many unwanted couches ending up in landfills. To address this issue, governments are implementing guidelines to manage the hazardous chemicals found in couch waste. In the case of Couch in an Envelope, the team aims to minimize these negative environmental impacts by challenging established material choices. This conceptual couch is envisioned with an aluminum frame, cellulose-based fabrics, and mycelium foam, all completely recyclable materials.


The tool-less and screw-less design makes this concept couch easy to assemble, disassemble, and recycle if necessary while remaining lightweight, facilitating easier transportation.‘We’ve envisaged something that’s 100 percent recyclable, without sacrificing softness,’ explains Stefano Panterotto, designer and co-founder, Panter&Tourron.

you may soon be able to carry your sofa around with IKEA's 10kg 'couch in an envelope'
transport your couch easily in an envelope-packaging



Moreover, the adjustable wings of the couch can be raised or lowered to accommodate two or three people comfortably. The modular format can combine multiple couches, creating a larger seating area. ‘It’s designed with freedom of space in mind,’ says SPACE10’s Georgina McDonald. ‘A single couch could live in a shared apartment or open-plan space. Or in a multi-module configuration, it can create a semi-architectural space. It’s designed with our contemporary habits in mind, and ready to adapt for the ones of tomorrow.’


The design process began with the team entering prompts like ‘a couch designed for nomadic living’ into generative AI platforms Runway and Midjourney. As they shared, initially, it was challenging to escape the conventional shape of a couch whenever the word ‘couch’ was used. This revealed that human biases and design conventions are deeply rooted in large language models and algorithms. However, Panter&Tourron explored different prompts such as ‘platform’, ‘lightweight’, ‘sustainable’, ‘recyclable’, and ‘easy to move’. Through iteration and exploration, they gradually transformed the design elements, aiming for a lightweight, adaptable, and circular form.

you may soon be able to carry your sofa around with IKEA's 10kg 'couch in an envelope'
easy to assemble, disassemble, pile, or transport

you may soon be able to carry your sofa around with IKEA's 10kg 'couch in an envelope'
think beyond conventional boundaries





you may soon be able to carry your sofa around with IKEA's 10kg 'couch in an envelope'
combining comfort and functionality






project info:


name: Couch in an Envelope

designer: IKEA research lab SPACE10 and Panter&Tourron