Starting next month, some flat-pack college dorm furniture may be more design and environmentally-savvy than that table you bought last year that you swore would be handed down to your grandchildren. Thankfully, the flat-pack furniture in question won’t take too much of a dent out of your wallet in the case that you want to purchase it anyways.
Swedish furniture giant IKEA has recently unveiled a new range of furniture designs under their Home Smart collection that are not only among some of their best-looking designs to date but are also capable of wirelessly charging compatible smartphones.
Utilizing the wireless charging standard Qi – which currently has more than 80 compatible handsets and covers on the market – the new furniture pieces are the latest step that IKEA has taken towards making their business practices more environmentally-friendly. The move towards creating easily-accessible wireless charging decreases the need for chargers that are thrown away over time.
“A key principle that manufacturers of furniture with built-in wireless charging technology should consider is that the furniture is designed to be easy to disassemble for upgrade, reuse, repair or recycling,” said Julian Kirby of Friends of the Earth in an interview with the BBC.
“Disposable electric toothbrushes are one example of a terrible product design in those respects – it’s virtually impossible to separate out the tech from the batteries and plastic casing which means valuable and often toxic materials are dumped in landfill or burnt in incinerators.”
In total, the Home Smart collection will start with floor, table and work lamps before expanding into more traditional furniture items including bedside tables and also independent charging pads to add to existing pieces of furniture.
Although the company has an expansive catalog that spans multiple product categories, this is the first time they have announced a Smart Home product. As a part of their move into creating more complex designs, the designers have also considered the end of life of their Home Smart collection to keep in sync with their environmental goals; the Home Smart designs will be easy to disassemble and dispose of or reuse properly.
The Home Smart collection will go on sale in the UK and the USA in April of 2015.