Sold! Ikea to add wireless charging to its furniture

I know you can be a bit sniffy about Ikea, but in my office I’m surrounded by nine Billy Bookshelves. I’m trying to remember if my desk is an Ikea one as well. Might be. And if it were, or if I were about to buy an Ikea desk, I would soon have the option to let my desk charge my phone for me.

With smartphones being such a natural part of our lives, we want the charging part to become a natural part of our homes. That’s why IKEA has created a range of wireless chargers that make mobile charging a lot more accessible, yet a lot less obvious.

How do they work? IKEA has made that part pretty easy. Simply place your phone on the plus sign. That’s it. All wireless chargers come with a USB outlet, making it possible to charge additional devices too.

“We wanted to make charging a natural part of your home, so we chose side tables and lamps – the kind of furniture that’s used frequently – and turned them into wireless chargers. Not only do they make your home more beautiful, they make it easier to charge wherever you are. Now you can have a charger that helps you read the Sunday crossword.”

IKEA Introduces Wireless Charging– Making Life at Home More Convenient – Wireless Power Consortium press release (2 March 2015)

So you get a desk with a big + sign on it. Leave your phone on that and, if the technology gods allow, the phone will be charged. It’ll depend on your phone, on whether you’ve just spilt coffee all over your desk, it’ll depend on all sorts of things. But if it works for you, it’ll work well and you’ll have paid from £30 for the furniture. That seems a bit low: bet you it’s £30 for the charger and then something more for the wood.

Read the whole press release for more.

Intentionally awkward office furniture for writers

With shelves that are a little out of reach and a chair that requires balancing, the idea is introduce a “bearable discomfort” to make life a little less smooth–and a little more healthy.

This Deliberately Inconvenient Furniture Forces You To Be Active And Not Just Lie On The Couch – Adele Peters, Fast Company (26 August 2014)

Right. I’m thinking that I might be able to solve that “shelves that are a little out of reach” design by pulling the bloody things closer. But:

French designer Benoît Malta, by contrast, is creating products that are purposely a little less convenient, so people are forced to get up more often. And even if they stay seated, they’re forced to sit in an active way.

“Domestic activities are less and less physical,” says Malta. “I decided to work on different typical daily situations like turning on a light or reading email on a computer, and I tried to design objects that modify our habits and try to engage the body differently in everyday life.”

Read Peters’ full piece for photographs of example designs including a chair that you have to balance on rather that flop over. I don’t expect to flip over it either.