AI helps IKEA design a modular couch that can be transported in a big envelope

Ordinary people don’t really think about thinking of new ways to innovate pieces of furniture like tables, chairs, beds, and couches. Most people probably just think of buying something that is practical, comfortable, and does what it’s supposed to do. But product designers are always out there thinking of new ways to make things like these more portable, more interesting, or basically, just better. The addition of generative artificial intelligence into the equation has helped them come up with out-of-the-box concepts that later on get turned to prototypes.

Designer: Space10 and Panter&Tourron

If you’ve ever thought the day would never come when you can pack a couch into an envelope (a big one though), then you are apparently almost wrong. With the help of AI, a Copenhagen-based design company was able to come up with a speculative design for a modular couch that can be packed into a bag and transported easily. The flat-packed furniture was soon turned into a prototype that is on display at the Copenhagen Architecture Festival. Although it will probably be some time before we actually see this available, it still brings up interesting possibilities.

When they found out the right keywords and iterations to help the image generative AI tools like MidJourney and DALL-E, they were able to start on a design for the ideal flat-pack couch. The final design output showed a bench type of couch that can fit in two people comfortably and includes adjustable wings and cushions. When you need to move or transport it, it can be flat packed and put into a tote bag that’s shaped like an envelope so no need to hire movers and be stressed with moving that couch.

They went beyond just having a design and created a prototype since AI cannot determine whether something will actually be usable, let alone comfortable. While we probably won’t be seeing this in the market anytime soon, it can start a discussion on how they can come up with products that are able to solve the pain points of the current ones in the market. Of course there is still a lot of discussion going on about AI but using it as a tool is something that designers can really explore.