Ikea’s Space10 reimagines the humble plate, encouraging use of local materials

The design lab continues its experiments with AI, with an interactive map that highlights locally abundant materials in regions across the globe.

3 July 2023

Last month, Space10 used generative AI to rethink how we design sofas, specifically trying to tackle their ineffective, bulky size by developing furniture that can fit into an envelope. Now, it’s moved into the kitchen with an interactive map that encourages designers to produce tableware from materials that are more readily available in their local region.

The creative studio Oio has partnered with Space10 to produce Products of Place, a project that presents 140 dinner plate concepts using local materials as a jumping off point. Space10 has used ChatGPT to collect data points from agricultural residues, construction waste and manufacturing offcuts to help identify materials that might be locally available. The overall aim is to create objects with fewer product miles and lower emissions. The final concepts and data points have been collected in an online interactive map for designers to explore.

Space10 continues to show interest in what it calls an “AI-powered design process”, where AI is used in the developmental phase to present unexplored solutions. Both Oio and Space10 acknowledge it is an imperfect process and that the biases fed into AI models are often carried over into the final product.

Space10’s Alexandra Zenner says: “Human curation is still required to decide which concepts are good and should move into development. This new AI integration isn’t perfect – and we want to be transparent about the weaknesses of these platforms, as well as their strengths.”

“With Products of Place, we glimpse into a future where AI could be used as a tool for exploration and imagination, rather than pure efficiency,” says Simone Rebaudengo, co-founder of Oio. “We see the results of this new synthetic process as a starting point for unimaginable products, rather than the final step. The results prompt surprise, delight and sometimes discomfort, in the diverse materialities of our planet’s urban environments. Not all iterations of the plates are viable.”

GallerySpace10 / Oio: Products of Place (Copyright © Space10, 2023)

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Space10 / Oio: Products of Place (Copyright © Space10, 2023)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating from the University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, Indie magazine and design studio Evermade.

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