Ikea designer says 3D printing to unleash new wave 'punk design movement'

By AdNews | 10 March 2014
Stockholm Design Lab founder and chief executive Björn Kusoffsky.

Björn Kusoffsky, founder of Stockholm Design Lab, is predicting a revolution in design this year brought on by a wave of new technologies like affordable 3D printing.

Kusoffsky, who will be in Australia next month as a speaker at agIdeas' Look Upstairs, part of Melbourne International Design Week, says the flood of cheap technologies has lowered the barriers to entry for creatives across the board.

The award-winning creative has worked with key client Ikea for more than 20 years, helping pioneer the Swedish furniture company's distinctive Scandinavian design, picking up accolades at Cannes, D&AD, Red Dot Design and Swedish Advertising Association Awards.

"There's this do-it-yourself, almost punk movement which you're starting to see everywhere," he said on his key theme for 2014. "Nowadays you're using the best cameras to shoot a movie and you get the movie financed and put it on YouTube.

"The quality of the films is really, really impressive, so that will of course be much more explored. That together with other means of producing nice things, like the 3D plotter, will be a really important tool for designers."

He said 3D printing had become affordable to the point where it was reaching mass market. "You don't even have to buy one these days – you can use a 3D printing studio. So that will change the way we look at product design and design in general."

The knock-on effect for brands, Kusoffsky said, was that with the barriers to production and speed to market both being lowered, brands would have to step up their game and be "even more unique and higher quality, better sourced".

"It was the same thing when computers came and suddenly everyone was a designer. In the end it's about having good ideas – that's the most important thing, and so few people have good ideas. The good idea is the most difficult thing to find and to have."

The proliferation of handheld devices will lead to a trend towards simpler, bolder design that works on smaller screens, Kusoffsky said. Simplicity is one of the key tenets of Scandinavian design philosophy – and one shared with Australia.

"I really think Scandinavian design influences Australia. A lot of countries are looking at Scandinavian design – China and Russia in particular – but the design philosophy is basically four words: simplicity, clarity, openness and innovation.

"That's the Scandinavian design culture, and it comes from being a fairly small country with large areas and being quite limited in resources. In a way that's similar to Australia, with wide open spaces and very few people.”

Kusoffsky will join 40 speakers from 20 countries at the three-day event in April, with leaders in communication, product, industrial, advertising, digital, lighting, sound and built environment sharing their insights.

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