Goodbye to the Allen key
Flat-pack furniture that just clicks
RENTERS rejoice. Ikea furniture now has a wedge dowel that makes it quicker and easier to assemble and take apart — without an Allen key in sight. The news comes as a three-part BBC 2 series launched last night. Flatpack Empire takes a behind-the-scenes look at the success of the Swediish furniture giant, which opened its first UK store 30 years ago.
Ikea’s dowel looks like a timber screw. Its milled, precision- cut grooves fit snugly into pre-drilled holes in, for example, the back of a tabletop. It’s a click-fit system, so you don’t need any tools, and it is said to cut assembly times by 50 to 80 per cent.
It is already being used for the Eket small table, Regissör cabinets and the
Lisabo table and stool. Arriving in April is Ikea’s versatile Platsa clicktogether wardrobe system.
The company says the new joint means you can dismantle furniture easily and reassemble it somewhere else. “Everyone from solo renters to families needs furniture that is flexible and portable,” says Ikea creative leader Jim Futcher.
Ikea also has a bigger trick up its sleeve. Just arrived in store is an ambitious sofa system called Delaktig — meaning “involvement” in Swedish — described as the company’s “most challenging yet”. Designed with London’s Tom Dixon Studio and 75 design students, in a kit of 25 parts, it has an aluminium frame and tubular legs that click together, with screws only to hold them rigid. You then click on whatever parts you wish — backrests, and/or side arms, small tables, lighting and so on.
Basic Delaktig is affordable, and supremely versatile to suit change of use in a room. Prices start from £55 for an armrest to £405 for a three-seater “platform”.
THE QUALITY’S THERE
Industry experts say the savings made by flat-pack furniture do not come from lower production costs but by dramatically reducing the price of transport and warehousing.
“People think flat pack means inferior furniture,” says Matthew Long, senior furniture and upholstery designer for Habitat. “But quality furniture can also come in designs that are easy and quick to put together and take apart.” His new lightweight Nadia bed, priced £550, is handmade from Indonesian rattan and comes in four pieces that are held together by simple clips.
The Holding Company sells a chrome-framed storage system that is super-easy to assemble. Visit theholdingcompany.co.uk. From £35 at Argos, find fabric wardrobes with canvas rollup covers over slot-together frames.
Or consider furniture that folds flat for storage and transport. New on the market is FoldSmart’s folding wardrobe system, with a no-frills design in several finishes — visit foldsmart.co. uk. Pieces simply unfold with slot-in back and clip-on hinged doors, and can be assembled “in minutes”, it is claimed. A single wardrobe unit 40cm wide costs £234. Finally, the Muji foldable lightweight oak veneer table is arriving at the end of the month, in two sizes, £250 and £295. See muji.eu for more.
Taking the “flat” out of flat pack: Woolwich-based RCA graduate Nick Rawcliffe’s sculptural, ergonomic Tupac chair costs £249 and comes in 18 parts, precision-milled from birch ply, that simply slot together and can be taken apart easily. Other pieces...
No sweat: left, the two-seater Juno modular sofa, priced £649, is easy to move around and arrives with you fully assembled. Extra pieces cost £229-£249. From made.com
Smart storage: fold-flat wardrobes simply unfold in situ. From £234 (foldsmart.co.uk; 020 7043 2199). Matching pieces available
Click fit: Ikea’s new wedge dowel, said to cut assembly time by 50-80 per cent