In September, following eight years of research and design, Ikea’s innovation studio Space10 closed its doors. Known for its boundary-pushing ideas and future-facing approach, the studio has left behind an inspirational legacy – so inspirational, in fact, that the team decided to preserve their work on an archival website that could live on beyond Space10’s closure.
The team felt that there was only one company they could trust with such an important and mammoth task: branding studio Barkas. With over 600 collaborators on the studio’s books by the time it called it a day, Barkas stood out as one of its oldest and most trusted partners to co-create the website.
“Barkas has been our closest creative partner of all,” Space10 co-founder Simon Caspersen tells CR. “We’ve worked on so many projects together – from films and our identity to creative concepts and even a cookbook. Barkas became almost an extension of our own team, and deep relations have formed over the years.”
Together, Space10 and Barkas compiled the former’s impressive portfolio of work, stretching all the way back to its founding in 2015, and began developing a website on which it could live. Given Space10’s forward-thinking projects, the design needed to be able to do them justice in the years to come.
“Our approach to designing Space10’s website was driven by the desire to create a timeless and clean yet creatively engaging platform,” explains Morten Rosendal, senior digital designer at Barkas. “We aimed to strike a balance that felt both familiar to Space10’s identity but also adding a few new elements to the digital experience.”
As such, the overall design for the site is considered, thoughtful, and pared back. Minimalist for the most part, there are more surprising elements scattered across its pages. One such example is the idle screen on the homepage, which displays a piece of work by Space10 that bounces across the screen, reminiscent of old computer systems and DVD players. “The idea was to create a subtle touch of nostalgia and playfulness to the site – and a small nod to the point that sometimes it’s good to look back in order to move forward,” Rosendal says.
Elsewhere, an overlaying news module and overlapping case images create layouts which Rosendal describes as “brutalist” in style, juxtaposing with the otherwise clean visual approach of the website. Much like Space10’s own practice, these features strike a balance between simplicity and out-of-the-box thinking – a fitting tribute to the studio’s legacy.
Speaking on what Space10 leaves behind, and the impact it’s set to have in the future, Caspersen says: “Over the years we’ve realised that Space10 has become a source of inspiration for millions of people, so we wanted to ensure that anyone can still explore our ideas, insights and design concepts long after we cease to exist as a lab.” As part of this, the studio has decided to make its templates, documents and code open source, reflecting its philosophy of “collaboration over competition”. He adds: “We have received so much from our community, and it only makes sense that we give back.”
Luca Rasmussen, partner at Barkas, says that creating a timeless digital archive is a “bit of a paradox”, given how technologies, solutions, and aesthetics come and go. However, he is confident that Space10’s vision and approach – summed up in its decision to “pay it forward” with the open source library of resources – will stand the test of time.