Ikea has unveiled SilviaBo, a collaborative project with the Queen of Sweden and construction firm Skanska to provide affordable and accessible modular housing built for elderly people with disabilities and dementia. It is a further development of Ikea’s BoKlok housing project, (which was recently rumoured to be popping up in Worthing), the project is also a collaboration with Skanska, a company known for its low-cost modular homes. This new initiative partners with Queen Silvia’s foundation that trains nurses and doctors in dementia care, and hopes to offer homes that are created with the needs of the elderly in mind, versus homes that have to be adapted as an afterthought.
A fifth of the Swedish population is over 65, the SilviaBo website states, and by 2050 it will be closer to a quarter. As the country attempts to gear up for an ageing population, this project addresses the costs of adapting existing housing stock and the relative ineffectiveness of doing so, by designing the homes to be accessible from the outset without “being perceived as an accommodation for the elderly and the sick”. The description claims there are 100 measures that make SilviaBo homes unique, from ramp entrances to colour-coded way finding, accessible bathrooms, wheelchair parking and secure outdoor areas.
Though there isn’t a fully realised SilviaBo house to show as of yet, renders show chic Scandi-style buildings and interiors that contrast the typical old people’s home aesthetic. They are also, of course, filled with Ikea’s Omtänksam product range designed in conjunction with ergonomists, physiotherapists and researchers, for greater accessibility. The range so far includes items such as chairs, rugs, lumbar cushions and jar grippers, but is planned for expansion into more bathroom, bedroom and kitchen products. In related news, Ikea Israel also recently revealed ThisAbles, a collection of 13 designs that offers hacks to existing Ikea products to make them easier to use.