This Coworking Space Is One Giant Ikea Hack

A hammock for a desk chair? Sticking it to Ikea never looked more fun.

Ikea hacks have given rise to a palatial hamster cage made from a Billy bookcase, a kids’ fort (complete with secret room!) made from a Kura bed and a couple of shelves, a cottage industry of accessories and add-ons by non-Ikea companies, and even a pop-up restaurant (furnished with Ikea pieces, of course) where diners are encouraged to redesign their space.


The Spanish architecture firm Izaskun Chinchilla–whose most prominent work stateside was a whimsical umbrella installation on Governors Island–has embraced the Ikea hack in its design for the Utopic_US coworking space in Madrid.

The playful space was inspired by Tokyo and New York City, the architects explain in a creative statement. “The density and diversity of people and opportunities that a big metropolis produces encourages having of places with a fundamental purpose of sharing creativity,” they write. “This is why it seemed natural for us that our space paid tribute to and was inspired by great cities.”

The space is decked out in Ikea products, most of which have been put to unconventional use: Bunk beds were transformed into desk systems, hammocks became chairs, funky meeting rooms were done up like a traditional Japanese spa, and ladders and swings abound. On Facebook, the architects challenged people to identify how each product was put to use:

Do you think you could identify the Svärtra bunk bed, Fjellse bed, Beddinge bed drawer or any other of the Ikea items included in our designs checking the following images? Let us know! This is easy to repeat at home! Is an invitation to understand design as a collective wisdom! Send us your own Ikea hacked design!

But the Ikea hack isn’t just about a budget-friendly creative solution; it speaks to the type of thinking the space hopes to spark. The people working in the office are also encouraged to move all of the furniture around and re-hack it to better suit their needs. While some offices are growing up, Utopic_US wholeheartedly embraces arrested development.

“Utopic_US is an ambitious project [that aspires] to become the headquarters for [the younger] generation to transform Madrid, turning it into a capital of creative entrepreneurship,” the architects write. “We are trying to inspire the space’s users by showing how everything around them can be transformed into something unexpected.”

Flip through the slide show above to discover all the unexpected moments in the coworking space.


About the author

Diana Budds is a New York–based writer covering design and the built environment.