STUDIO ELFA – Trends, needs and challenges within storage

Welcome to Studio Elfa

What trends, needs and challenges are needed when it comes to storage solutions? And how does the need for storage change over the course of life? Studio Elfa is our unpolitical think tank where these issues have been explored by gathering insights from customers and consumers.
Here, we also hold conversations with and gather foresights from leading experts in architecture, fashion, interior design, trend analysis, ethnology, and the real estate industry.Please read and be inspired by their forecasts and visions about i.e. the future of living, historical and economic perspectives on storage solutions and the impact of climate change on our consumption behaviour and lifestyle.

Christine Dalman
Elfa Storage Expert

This year's contributors to Studio Elfa are Nina Campioni, fashion journalist, Anders Larsson, architect, Jannice Wistrand, certified interior designer, Jörgen Ramnelöv, trend forecaster, Caroline Stark, real estate broker, Ella Johansson, professor in European Ethnology, and Christina Dalman, storage expert at Elfa. In the form of chronicles, their observations have been collected in a small booklet.

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Jörgen Ramnelöv, Trend forecaster 

REFLECTIONS ON NEW CONSTELLATIONS AND COMMUNITIES

The Accommodation of Tomorrow

I have been researching and forecasting the future of living for quite some time, and there are many exciting visions and concepts to learn more about. An example of this is multi-generational housing, where two or more generations of adults from the same family share a house or property permanently. Concepts have been developed, but so far only a few test projects have been completed. The same is true of new types of collective housing and co-housing, but these have not yet made a greater impact. However, this will be needed in the future, and we can already see more “compact living” due to urbanization, a poorer world economy and difficulties in entering the housing market. 

New family constellations are also causing an increase in so-called “flexible housing”. Bi-weekly housing solutions are increasing since children of divorced parents often divide their time between both parents, and so needs might differ from week to week. This will lead to an increased demand for flexible storage, as things go back and forth between the parents, requiring us to make maximum use of our space with smart storage solutions. For example, housing with sliding walls. 

The Coronavirus pandemic has forced more and more people to work from home. This has led to discussions on whether the home will become the new office to a greater extent than before. But how will we handle this in the future? The popularity of a study or a home-office was disappearing, but perhaps it is now back to stay? However, despite advantages such as flexibility and more productivity, ergonomic aspects and the blurred boundary between work and leisure may mean that employers will want to lure their employees back to the office. In addition, the social aspect and team spirit are more easily harnessed at the office, and knowledge and skills are better transferred, which may be preferable. 

 

But I will leave this unsaid. However, I can say with certainty that the connected and smart home is already here. Everything from lighting, to multimedia and kitchen gadgets can now be connected to the internet. Personally, I cannot think of anything that I would not want to have connected. To me, connected storage spaces would be a dream. Perhaps in a few years, Elfa’s drawers will have sensors that can keep track of my clothes’ sensors so that I can easily find that favourite sweater. The future will tell. 

Jörgen Ramnelöv, Trend forecaster 

REFLECTIONS ON GUT FEELINGS AND PRACTICALITY IN EVERYDAY LIFE

It’s a deal! 

That general feeling of well-being when you step into a home is what decides whether you ought to bid on this new place or not. That unidentifiable feeling – you may even call it a “gut” feeling – indescribable, but key. But what is it that gives you that nice feeling and atmosphere? Maybe it’s the floor plan, and the airy feel of light flowing through the place. Those are important, but high on the wish list are also elevators, balconies, and the possibility of flexible, practical and stylish storage. A walk-in-closet is always appreciated. However, housing from different eras has offered different types of storage solutions, as trends have come and gone. You may like the period feature, but it does not always match your needs. 

“My recommendation is to consult both sides of the brain when making a decision to buy.”

When purchasing a new home, I often get questions about storage. It is an important parameter when choosing new accommodation, and can even be a deal breaker. “What is built-in, what is there? Did the sellers leave wardrobes? Is there a storage room or basement? How can we expand the storage space?” No, we cannot get enough of good storage, as we have many things that we need to make room for in our everyday lives.

More storage space is often requested. I get to hear quite creative solutions and “out of the box” ideas on how to solve that. Both men and women attach great importance to this, and I notice that the more experience you have of purchasing homes, the more possibilities you can see. 

Many people think about it from an aesthetics and practical perspective. “Where can all our clothing and textiles be stored? What about our outerwear and shoes? Will they fit in the narrow hallway? Where will awkward and bulky household utensils fit?” Laundry options and laundry storage are another space thief in the perhaps less glamorous part of everyday life. But they are oh, so important! On the other hand, few reflect on the fact that mobile storage, such as free-standing storage and hinged or solitaire wardrobes, takes up a lot of expensive living space. 

My recommendation is therefore to consult both sides of the brain when making the decision to buy. And to keep asking storage questions, because I am well aware how much time and energy goes into getting the optimal storage solution or dream wardrobe. 

Caroline Stark, Real estate broker 

Read more about Studio Elfa’s experts

Anders Larsson

Award-winning architect, active in both Sweden and Denmark. Runs ALoCo architectural firm.

Nina Campioni

Journalist, author and presenter. She is one of Sweden's largest fashion bloggers with experience from magazines, Swedish Television and has her own podcast.

Caroline Stark

Real estate agent and partner at one of Sweden's largest real estate firms, Bjurfors. With extensive experience of selling both villas and condominiums in south of Sweden.

Jörgen Ramnelöv

Trend scout and works at the external analysis and trend agency Docere, which carries out analysis assignments, training and runs the trend site Buzzter.

Jannice Wistrand

Feng Shui consultant and certified interior designer. She is the founder of the consulting company Simplicity and her blog Addsimplicity is one of the Nordic region's largest in interior design.

Ella Johansson

Professor of European Ethnology at the Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology at Uppsala University. Previous positions include Humboldt University, Berlin and the Swedish College of Advanced Studies in Uppsala.

Christine Dalman

Elfa’s Senior PR Specialist and Storage Expert for the past 30 years.