IKEA Concept Kitchen 2025

Exploring our future relationship with food and eating

IKEA Concept Kitchen 2025 was a joint design research project commissioned by IKEA of Sweden AB to explore our future relationship with food and eating. In conjunction with IDEO and Lund University, multiple students and student teams at ID TU/e researched how interactive technologies could support the acts of growing, cooking, eating and/or disposing of food, and created experienceable prototypes of their designs. The overarching approach was to consider our relationship to the aforementioned activities from a phenomenological perspective, capitalizing on our holistic human skill-set.

The 20+ final designs were analyzed and clustered into themes. The three most promising ones were presented to IKEA’s Head of Design and Lead Strategists, and further developed throughout the year that followed. The ‘winning’ students were invited for an internship at IDEO London, where they worked on their final design prototypes for the Milan Salone del Mobile 2015 and Milan World Expo 2015. One of the students worked as Lead Developer at IKEA of Sweden AB for one year to further research the commercial potential of his design, ‘Table For Living’.

The research led to several (scientific and popular) publications and garnered a lot of media attention, spanning newspapers, international blogs, radio interviews, the Dutch Design Week and much more. This media exposure spawned several new collaborations, including with Bang&Olufsen, Mediamarkt, Heijmans (pending), and De Meeuw/Nezzt.

This specific project exemplifies our ongoing research into how to design for ubiquitous interactive systems. In this, we do not look at the technology behind these systems, but rather at our human relationship and interaction with these systems. Considering that we can embed technology in literally almost anything the form/appearance of interactive systems is no longer dominated by its physical components; embedded systems are essentially shape-less. This makes our responsibility as givers of form all the more important, as we, designers, can help avoid the feeling of ‘living in a machine’. In our research we investigate how interactive, embedded systems should appear to us as ‘phenomena in our everyday life-world’.

Through the creation of experienceable prototypes, this research explores living with technology in a hands-on way, touching on different contexts of deployments such as the home and work environments (or even working-at-home environment), the entertainment context, and the upcoming field of independent living in an ageing society. Through this research we aim to contribute to a better quality of life and as such a healthier society.

For our professional field we contribute by exploring and proposing alternative, human-centric, interaction (design) paradigms, and providing strong concepts that give expression to these. We do this by adopting an iterative, research through design approach and validating our concepts in situation. 


IKEA of Sweden AB , IDEO (London office), Lund University


€ 65,000

Related Publications

Vincent van Rheden and Bart Hengeveld (2016) Engagement Through Embodiment: A Case For Mindful Interaction. In Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction, pp. 349-356 

Rheden, V. van, & Hengeveld, B. (2015). An Exploration In Kitchen Blender Interactions Aimed At Designing For Higher Levels of Engagement. In Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Design and Semantics of Form and Movement 2015 

Numerous magazines, blogs, websites.