Hack Your IKEA Kitchen with Danish Architects

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Here's a way to hack your out-of-the-box kitchen into something a bit different. Copenhagen studio Reform has collaborated with three renowned architects - BIG, Henning Larsen and Norm - to design a series of cabinet fronts, worktops and handles to fit an IKEA kitchen.

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in our home. But interestingly, it is often overlooked when it comes to design. We want to change this. Our goal is to give everybody the opportunity to experience extraordinary design at affordable prices.

- Jeppe Christensen, founder and CEO of Reform

The concept is the same as that of Superfront, another IKEA hacking brand that I wrote about back in March, only with the addition of some design heavyweights standing behind it. It has all the convenience of a quick trip to your nearest giant blue warehouse, and none of the monotony of having a kitchen that looks the same as everyone else's. All of the structural components are the same - the shelves, drawers and myriad accessories that IKEA offer - but visually these designs look completely different to the ones you've seen in-store.

BIG's redesign includes fairly standard oak and white cabinet fronts, finished with a composite top and, notably, fabric handles made using seatbelts. I was sceptical but they look pretty cool! I like the idea of hooking a finger into the loop to open the cabinets, though you have to wonder how well they hold up against dirty hands.

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For several years we've been flirting with the idea of making custom designed kitchens. But in reality we often end up with custom made kitchens that are quite expensive. That's why the thought of making a kitchen which is exclusive in every way except the price appeals a lot to us.

- Jakob Lange, Head of Design at BIG Ideas

Reform x BIG | Hack your IKEA kitchen

Henning Larsen went for a wood/metal combo: their cabinet fronts are available in oak with a copper band, or in a choice of white or black with a steel band. In addition to looking nice, the metal bands serve to show you where to press in order to open the cupboards (which don't have handles). If you choose the copper version, the material will patinate over time, slowly changing colour to look really interesting.

Norm Architects also did away with handles, opting for sleek cabinet fronts in a diverse choice of materials: fiber-concrete, bronzed tombac, sawn oak and smoked oak. Like the copper on Henning Larsen's design, their bronzed tombac will patinate over time and gain a pretty gold sheen.

The new designs are due to be released on 1st September 2015. Until then Reform are being coy on the topic of price, describing them only as 'affordable'. The entire point of IKEA is to bring good design to those who can't pay for the designer price tag, so it remains to be seen whether this is a viable way to personalise your out-of-the-box kitchen, or whether they've taken a previously affordable concept and put it out of reach of the very people it was intended for. If you're interested in hearing prices once the collection launches next month, you can sign up for an alert at the bottom of this page.

To see more on Reform's new designs you might like to check out this short video.

All photography courtesy of Reform.