The Future is Already Here: now SPACE10 hopes to democratise it

The future-living lab SPACE10 is thinking big in its aim to create a better everyday life for millions of people while also tackling major issues such as climate change, overpopulation, sprawling urban growth and lack of food security – all while remaining artistically free and light in spirit. Founder Carla Cammilla Hjort tells us about her vision for a future that’s already here.


Michelle Arrouas


Marie Hald

For a future-living lab, SPACE10 looks pretty contemporary. It’s located in Copenhagen’s Kødbyen, a former meatpacking district brimming with wine bars, restaurants and offices for young creatives. The open-plan office, abundance of plants, and the light, wooden furniture would fit right in at the strikingly similar co-working spaces that have popped up everywhere from Berlin to Bali in recent years. A rainbow flag flies from the top of the corner building occupied by the lab and the two dozen team members look more like urban hipsters than nerdy futurologists.

SPACE10 is funded by IKEA and its founder Carla also looks the part of a contemporary creative rather than the sci-fi-obsessed scientist you might expect to lead a future-living lab. But the future is a lot closer than we may think and there is nothing sci-fi about it, she suggests.

‘I like the saying that the future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed,’ says Carla, quoting the author William Gibson, who coined the term cyberspace in his noir, sci-fi novels. Like him, Carla is trying to see into the future – but instead of trying to predict it, she’s trying to shape it. ‘Most of what we do here at SPACE10 isn’t all that futuristic or sci-fi-like, at least not to me. What we work with is stuff that’ll be part of our everyday lives in five to 10 years.’

The lab’s work is also less futuristic than one might imagine: SPACE10’s core ethos swivels on the idea of playing around with current trends and coming up with innovative ideas, all within the field of how people live, now and in the future.

While many Copenhageners will recognise Carla as one of the city’s most celebrated DJs, companies know her for her ability to create communities. She has also spent a year in an ashram, was part of the lesbian pop duo Fagget Fairys, and launched a successful festival in Copenhagen. That might not seem like the most likely résumé to land you a gig as the vision director of a well-funded future-living lab, but to Carla – and to the chiefs at IKEA – it made perfect sense.

Carla first collaborated with the Swedish furniture giant in 2014, when she was asked to give a talk on building community. It went so well that she was brought on board to design a line for IKEA through her art collective, ArtRebels. Carla founded the collective in her twenties, when she was becoming restless with working as a DJ. Her weekends were packed, but her weekdays were empty, and she decided to launch ArtRebels as a way to help less business-savvy artists make a living through creative projects. The collective grew, and soon ArtRebels was generating creative and cultural concepts for brands, municipalities and even Mary, the Crown Princess of Denmark’s foundation, as well as working as agents for rising artists in Copenhagen and running the popular festival, Trailerpark.

Creating the colourful Bråkig (Swedish for rascal) collection for IKEA was outside of the creative studio’s comfort zone, but it was a roaring success. Only 18 months after their initial meeting, Torbjörn Löof, who had become CEO of the Inter IKEA Group in the meantime, asked Carla to come up with a bigger idea.

‘Some might think the visions are naive, but we’ll have to push the boundaries for what’s possible if we want to keep up.’

‘He called me from an airport, and at first I thought it was just about congratulating me for the ArtRebels collection. But then he said that he’d gotten a new job, that he wanted to create a better IKEA for the future, and that he’d come to think of me. There was no plan and no agenda, he just wanted me to think about it and get back to me. I immediately knew that it could be the beginning of something big,’ she recalls.  

Carla hung up the phone, and then got to work. For the next fortnight, she holed up with her business partner Simon Caspersen. They tirelessly researched, brainstormed, and generated ideas. Eventually, they came up with the idea of a non-profit, future-living lab. Simon was on a sabbatical from his job at ArtRebels to pursue his passion for documentary film-making, but Carla asked him to reconsider the career change. ‘I told him I wanted to pitch a three-year project and asked if he’d be on board with that. Then we flew to the Netherlands to present the idea.’

Four years later, Carla and Simon give us a tour of the bright, airy offices in Copenhagen, which take up three floors of a repurposed industrial building. The three-year contract with IKEA has been prolonged indefinitely, and the team has grown to more than 20 employees. In addition to the permanent staff, SPACE10 invites specialised teams to join the lab for short-term residencies. The results of the innovation lab have garnered worldwide attention. IKEA is just one of many large companies to launch innovation labs, which tend to focus on how the business model of the company might be disrupted and how the company can be part of disruptive innovation instead of becoming a victim of it.

IKEA had identified five macro-trends likely to affect its business model, and based on those, Carla and her crew – Simon, Guillaume Charny-Brunet and Kaave Pur – decided to focus on three main areas. SPACE10 would examine the potential as well as the challenges posed by circular economies, digital empowerment and social interaction. The core element of the quartet’s work is also one of the main ideas employed by IKEA in its marketing material: they want to create a better everyday life for as many people as possible.

While the team has the freedom to pursue whatever projects they find most interesting, they’ve chosen to focus partly on areas where IKEA is already an active player.

’We have been pragmatic when choosing the research areas, but mostly because it made sense to us and aligned with our own interests,’ Carla says. ‘As an example, we knew that IKEA focuses more and more on food, so it made sense for us to examine how we can ensure food security and sustainability in the future, and when we learnt that IKEA owns one of Europe’s biggest property development companies, it made sense for us to focus more on shared living. We focus on the areas that seem the most relevant to us, but those are also areas where it might be relevant for IKEA to invest.’

Within these fields, the team has developed several projects that have sparked the interest of global media. Headlines were made when SPACE10 presented three potential new versions of the popular, traditional meatballs sold at IKEA; one option was made out of insects, another from urban farming produce, and the third comprised general food waste. A large research project, consisting of a playful, colourful website with a survey that examined people’s attitudes to co-living, also caught attention. And when SPACE10 presented their vision for self-driving cars, it wasn’t those sleek, robotic machines shown by other innovation labs; they had recast the self-driving vehicle as a room on wheels. In the research report on self-driving cars, the lab presented seven prototypes, ranging from stylish living rooms to farm stands, medical clinics and mobile offices.

SPACE10 also experiments with hydroponic and aquaponic farming in its city basement. The lab has presented a vision of low-cost, sustainable homes in the form of building blocks that can be printed and adjusted to the environment, and its team mulls over concepts such as co-living – which has been thriving in communities catering to remote workers in recent years – could be recast in Asian megacities that are in desperate need of affordable housing. That project still hasn’t been presented to the public, but the crew is hopeful.

As SPACE10 has been set up as a non-profit, funded entirely by Inter-IKEA-Systems, the global owner of the brand, concept and franchise IKEA, there’s no pressure to make money. This has freed the team from the constraints of commercialism and transformed their  lab into a playground for creative minds.

‘It’s a huge plus that we don’t have to make money,’ says Carla. ‘It means that we’re able to really think ideas through instead of having to implement them immediately to fund ourselves.

‘One example is co-living – so many hip, new places are popping up, but it seems like a lot of them haven’t done their research when it comes to figuring out how to actually create a community and avoid the social isolation many people move there to avoid. With that being said, our contacts at IKEA probably wouldn’t mind if we create something that can actually make money, and they’re ready to invest when we present them with the right ideas.’

The absence of commercial pressures has also had an impact on how creatively – some would perhaps say childlike – the team can be.

‘We are allowed to focus on the solutions more than the problems and to have more positive visions for the future. Some might think the visions are naive but we’ll have to push the boundaries for what’s possible if we want to keep up with the development. And of course the aim is to present new ideas and concepts to IKEA that they’ll invest in going further – so far it seems like things are moving in the right direction and multiple projects are getting closer to being implemented,’ Carla says.

‘There’s a huge shift happening when it comes to issues such as ownership.'

She knows that convincing IKEA to pursue some of the ideas created by her lab is only the beginning. The citizens of the world will also have to adapt to a future where there will be more people on the planet, where climate change will force us to live in a different way, and, especially in the big cities, where food security will become a concern for many more. In a lot of areas, however, the mental shift is already beginning to happen. More and more people – especially Europe’s youth – are reducing their meat consumption because of its environmental toll. How we travel and how often we use airlines has been a subject of debate in recent years. The explosion in the number of freelancers and remote workers has fuelled a reconsideration of the way that we work. And as rents rise in cities worldwide, increasing numbers are experimenting with shared living.

‘There’s a huge shift happening when it comes to issues such as ownership, which has been a very central factor in how we’ve lived and worked in the past,’ muses Carla. ‘For the past century, we’ve pursued this nuclear family model where we’ve isolated ourselves in the small boxes we call our homes, where we’ve all had to have another small box with wheels on it to get to the office, and where we’ve strived for stability when it comes to work. But it’s dawning on many that that way of living can be very isolating – it creates a bad infrastructure in the cities as well as loneliness. The problem has been there for a while, but these days you see a lot more people working on creating different solutions.

‘It’s the same with remote work. At first it seemed a bit radical, but now you see big companies allowing remote work. The way we’ve lived and worked for the past century has been breaking up, and we will all be forced to join the wave of change. Most of the solutions we’re looking for aren’t that futuristic or sci-fi, and a lot of them have already become mainstream. We’re just working to make them better and scalable.’

Find out more about SPACE10 at

未来已经来临: 现在SPACE10希望普及化它

未来生活实验室SPACE10 的目标是为数以百万人创造更美好的生活,同时解决气候变迁、人口过剩、都市成长蔓延与缺乏食品安全等重大议题。同时在精神上保持轻松、艺术自由的心态。创办人约卡拉(Carla Cammilla Hjort) 与我们解释她对已来到未来的愿景。


Michelle Arrouas


Marie Hald



卡拉说:“我喜欢的说法是,未来已经来了,它只是没有平均分配。”引言出自于作家吉威廉(William Gibson) 的黑色科幻小说,其创造了网络空间一词。与他一样,卡拉展望未来,她只是没有放得太远。“对我来说,我们在SPACE10所做的研究并非全然是未来或科幻属性的。我们做的工作是那些在5到10年间将成为日常生活相关的东西。

实验室的工作其实也未如大家所想的那么未来感: SPACE10的核心理念围绕着当前趋势,并提出关乎人们当今与未来生活相关领域的创新想法。

虽然许多哥本哈根人将卡拉视为当地知名DJ,企业知道卡拉有创建社群的能力。她曾在修道院住了一年、曾是女同性恋流行乐团Fagget Fairys成员、并在哥本哈根成功地举办艺术节。这些看来不像是寻常履历表上让你能拿到未来实验室领导一职的经历,但对卡拉和宜家长官们而言,一切都合情合理。

2014年卡拉首次与瑞典家具巨头合作时,被要求对成立社群一题发表演说。这场讲座反应热烈,她的艺术搜集团队ArtRebels 得到参与设计宜家家具新系列。卡拉在20多岁,因对DJ工作感到厌倦时而成立了艺术搜集团队。她的周末几乎是忙碌的,但平日空闲着,所以她决定成立ArtRebels,以帮助那些对营销自己一窍不通的艺术家,可通过创意企划来谋生。团队渐渐壮大,很快的ArtRebels帮大型企业,甚至丹麦王储公主玛莉的基金会制作广告宣传、也替哥本哈根的新锐艺术家当代理人、并负责经营丹麦知名艺术节Trailerpark。

其实为宜家创造色彩缤纷Kråkvig (瑞典词意:叛逆) 系列,不在创意工作室的舒适圈内,但却是硕大的成功。首次会议的18个月后,同时,当上宜家首席执行官的骆托约(Torbjörn Löof),要求卡拉做出更大的计划。



卡拉挂上电话后就去工作。接下来的两周,她与工作伙伴卡西蒙 (Simon Caspersen) 闭关,不屈不饶的做研究、集体讨论并产生新想法。最后,他们想出了一个非营利、未来生活实验室的点子。西蒙正于从事的ArtRebels工作冈位休息中,去追求他对记录电影制作的热情,但卡拉要他重新思考转换事业跑道一事。“我跟他说我想做一个为期三年的企划,问他是否有愿意参与。尔后,我们飞到荷兰提出这个想法。”


宜家已发现可能影响商业模式的五种微型趋势。基于这些结果,卡拉与团队、西蒙、车吉利(Guillaume Charny-Brunet) 和璞盖文 (Kaave Pur) 决定专注在三个主要方向。 SPACE10将研究循环经济、数码力量和社会互动性所带来的浅力与挑战。四方工作的核心元素也是宜家在自家营销材料的主理念之一: 想为多数人尽可能地创造出更好的日常生活。


卡拉说: “当选择研究领域时,我们一直很务实,最主要这对我们而言是有意义的,并与我们气味相投。举例来说,我们都知道宜家越来越关注在食品方面,于是我们有必要去研究如何确保未来食安与可持续性。当我们得知宜家拥有欧洲最大房地产开发公司时,我们的研究则关注在共享居住也是其来有自的,那也可能是宜家投资的相关领域。”




卡拉说: “我们无须考虑赚钱这点是个巨大优势,意味着我们可真正思考想法,而非须立即执行它们才有收入。



我们可更关注于解决方案而非问题的本身,并得到更多未来的正面愿景。有些人认为愿景是很天真的,但假如我们想要跟上发展,就需突破界线。卡拉说: “当然我们希望宜家能认同我们一些具有创意又疯狂的想法。”



卡拉说: “当涉及到所有权问题时,会产生巨大的转变,在我们过去如何生活与工作一直是主要因素。过去100年来,我们曾追求所谓的核心家庭模式,我们将自己隔绝在称之为家的小盒子里,我们用另一个有轮子的盒子到办公室,谈到工作时,我们努力为稳定生活而奋斗。但许多人发现这样的生活方式挺孤立的,这为都市带来糟糕的基础设施与孤寂感。此问题已存在一段时间,但现在你会发现许多人正创造不同的解决方案。



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