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CBS students hack IKEA furniture

Woman fixing table

Cecilie Brandt Jakobsen had an old LACK table at home, which she clad in tiles, which was about to be thrown out. The table also got some new legs, some a thrifted table. (Photo: Private)

This year’s GLOBAL case company, IKEA, has challenged CBS students to upcycle whatever old IKEA furniture they have at home. Check out three students’ creations.

News |   02. Mar 2021

Anne Thora Lykkegaard


Altogether, 83% of Danes have something from IKEA in their homes, according to statistics from YouGov. This includes CBS students.

IKEA, this year’s case company featured in the CBS’ GLOBAL Case Competition, has challenged CBS students to hack and upcycle IKEA furniture they have at home to prolong its lifetime.

“The IKEA Upcycle Challenge is about bringing new life and functionality to a piece of furniture or item that would otherwise have been discarded, thereby adding value and expanding the product’s lifetime – upcycling in a nutshell, which is close to the heart of the IKEA organization,” the challenge declares in the Facebook event.

The students had until Thursday February 25 at noon to upload pictures and a short description of their new furniture, after which IKEA Denmark’s Sustainability Manager, Monica Keaney, and Home Furnishing & Retail Design Manager, Henriette Ekholm, judged the new pieces and chose three finalists. The selection criteria were: creativity, functionality and design.

The old LACK table upcycled. (Photo: Cecilie Brandt Jakobsen)

Christoffer August Erlund Buur, who is studying for a double master’s degree in Innovation and Business Development at CBS and the University of Bocconi in Italy, was one of the students who tried his hand and got a third place in the challenge with his upcycled IKEA BESTÅ cabinet.

“I heard about the challenge through a friend who works for CBS Case Competition, and I thought it sounded like a lot of fun. Also, I looked at this ugly cabinet we had in the bedroom and thought I needed an excuse to finally do something about it,” he says.

Christoffer August Erlund Buur needed a new TV unit. A place where he could hide away all the cables and his Apple TV, but at the same time did not have to open the doors to connect with his remote control.

It was the IKEA BESTÅ cabinet, Christoffer August Erlund Buur had at home. (Photo: IKEA)

“I had some spare legs from a bedframe, which suited the cabinet perfectly, and my mum had some left-over open-weave fabric after she had her chairs re-covered. So I cut out parts of the doors and exchanged them with the fabric,” he says.

Christoffer August Erlund Buur got a third place in the challenge, and DKK 1,000 to spend in IKEA.

The two judges from IKEA say about the upcycled and hacked IKEA furniture made by the students:

“We were very impressed with the creativity and functionality of all the solutions. Upcycling is not only about transforming a piece of furniture at the end of its lifecycle into a new, useful piece, but it is also about adding a personal layer that brings extra value to the home. This was especially the case with these three solutions, which we hope will inspire others to try similar upcycling projects,” they say.

Tobias Løvkvist clad a side from an IVAR bookcase with weaved fabric and created a much needed headboard for his bed. (Photo: Tobias Løvkvist)

Christoffer August Erlend Buur says that he is both happy with the result and happy with the prize, but are there other takeaways from the challenge?

“I think I have learned to see possibilities in the things I have at home. And during the pandemic, when you really need projects, I think you can look at your furniture and see if it can be improved instead of buying something new,” he says, adding that it is not impossible that he would devote his skills to another furniture project.


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