IKEA – the blue and yellow shop of hope for students, newly-weds and homeowners alike – will launch something a little different in August 2016. Known primarily for its affordable, sustainable and well-designed furniture, IKEA has taken a step into the outside world and will be releasing the SLADDA bike.
A bike you say? Yes. IKEA, in collaboration with Swedish agency Veryday, has designed a sustainable flat-packed bike made from aluminium. The brand’s iconic simplicity is captured in the grey colouring and plain bike frame which gives it a gender neutral aesthetic. Surprisingly, this 2 wheeled vehicle can be used by riders from the tender age of 12.
Now the flat-packed part got me worrying a little, but it turns out that you won’t have to play around with chains when assembling the bike because the SLADDA has none. To avoid rust and oil consumption, the bike simply has a belt instead of a bike chain. Obviously, IKEA would find a way to eliminate impracticalities and move its new product down a long-term sustainable path, but I do have my doubts on how resistant the belt is to wear.
Armed with only 2 gears, this eco-friendly machine has claimed a Red Dot award for the “Best of the Best” category. How does a bike become la crème de la crème of product design? By having customisable features. The SLADDA comes with accessories such as a basket or bike trailer. These can be added by using a click-in-system that carry everything from your puppy to your briefcase.
Oskar Juhlin, Director of Industrial Design at Veryday, claims that “SLADDA is like a tablet with apps, in the sense that you can customise it with several different accessories adapted to make everyday life easier for the user”. Increasing usability will hopefully help people switch from cars to bikes and ultimately develop a more sustainable society.
IKEA has taken us all by surprise by moving from interior home products to braving the great outdoors. It will be interesting to see if the SLADDA becomes a popular purchase, especially as IKEA has previously launched an almost-unheard-of electric bike that mysteriously disappeared from its catalogue (I’m guessing it was flop).
In Swedish, SLADDA means to skid sideways. With a prestigious design award already in hand, let’s see if this bike can make a stylish entrance and leave its competitors in the dust.