Part of Ikea’s appeal is that it empowers even the least handy among us to feel like we’re capable of building something. Just follow the simple visual instructions and you’ve got yourself a nice little desk or bookshelf or end table in a matter of minutes. But what happens when you disregard those instructions? When you deviate from the charmingly illustrated path Ikea has laid out for you? You can still end up with something cool! Even if it’s not the thing described on the flat-packed box.
In this case, Samuel Bernier and Andreas Bhend played with the parts from the company’s Frosta stool and ended up building a kids bicycle. Both collaborators have dabbled in Ikea hacking before. When we last checked in with Bernier he was 3-D printing elegant new shades for a broken Ikea lamp, and Bhend is known for his modifications not only of the company’s products but their instruction sheets, too. They got in touch through the Internet, decided to work together on a hack, and recently met up in Paris to make it happen.
The Frosta stool, which Bhend had modified before, lent itself to the fun new form with little resistance. "When I got the e-mail from Andreas…I just sat down in a sofa and wrote three words: Bike, Sled, House," Bernier explains. "It turned out that the stool worked perfectly [for the bike] (and when I say perfectly, I mean WTF). I was amazed by this coincidence. It almost felt like these parts were designed for this exact purpose."
The handlebars are a bit stiff, he says, but the wheels, adapted from the seat of the stool, roll like a dream. The duo put their project up on Instructables, along with one of Bhend’s Ikea-style diagram sets detailing the modification step-by-step. And what advice do they have for prospective hardware hackers, Ikea or otherwise? "Don’t be afraid to manipulate the material," Bernier says. "Your best ideas wont come from your pencil or your computer." Or even the included instructions.
[Illustration: Kelly Rakowski/Co.Design]