Sustainable Driven Design

Traditional Japanese Joinery Techniques inspiring Ikea modern and sustainable design.

These days we see more and more products in the market, scientific research, engineering projects, and buildings driven by a sustainable approach.
This approach includes, among others, recycling products or parts of products from different industries, cleaning polluted air, creating innovative solutions based on new technologies to clean oceans, and others focus on saving or creating energy from different or more sustainable sources.
Today, I want to share one of these projects that I have liked especially. Ikea is redesigning a line of products to make them easier to assemble, more cost-competitive and more sustainable.
They are using a new/old concept to put together the different parts of their furniture based, not on screws and other small metal bits, but on wooden joinery techniques based on geometry and to me, inspired by traditional methods.
Japanese Architecture and furniture makers have used these ancient techniques for hundreds of years, creating resistant and beautiful joints in their woodwork. It’s said that a traditional Japanese wood house is 100% detachable and movable and also well known to be earthquake proof.

This change is meant to make the process simpler to the user when assembling and disassembling, using a fewer number of elements and making the different parts more resistant for multiple uses. All of this makes the production and whole life of the product much more sustainable!
And in my opinion, it creates a beautiful piece of furniture and a stronger design concept.

Here is a short documentary from Ikea about the production methods and the different challenges they faced.

Credits, images courtesy of Ikea and “the Joinery”

It is great to see modern design taking off from the principles of traditional architecture and craftsmanship that very often are the most sustainable and time-proof options, tested during centuries and adapted to the context. Taking that knowledge and improving it by the use of new technologies and new inputs is, in my opinion, a smarter choice than reinventing the wheel every time.
Hope you enjoy this article as much as I have and take some time if you have to study the beauty of the Japanese traditional joinery work in these other videos and in this post from mostcraft.