In Poland’s greenest city, IKEA has transformed a 120-year-old apartment building into the Home of Tomorrow—an experimental, plant-filled showcase of sustainable design solutions that aims to redefine the way we live at home.

Polish designers Joanna Jurga, Paulina Grabowska, and Justyna Puchalska created the 2,700-square-foot concept home in response to looming global issues including climate change, dwindling natural resources, and indoor air quality—a growing concern for those spending more time indoors amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

A plant-filled oasis greets visitors upon entering the Home of Tomorrow. Over 600 plants are located in the home’s core.

“We tried to showcase the beauty of this building, whose history should not be hidden,” says designer Justyna Puchalska. “We also wanted the design to be relatable—after all, not many people live in a place where everything is perfect.”

The global furniture powerhouse gave the designers “a blank page to explore how we want the future, or our living habitat, to look and function,” reads a press statement. “The Home of Tomorrow has a renewable metabolism—almost all of its components and materials can be reused and recycled.”

The Home of Tomorrow is the first IKEA project of its kind, and it was launched in part to raise awareness of the company’s eco-friendly initiatives ahead of its first store in Szczecin, scheduled to open in early 2021. Until then, the temporary Home of Tomorrow will host workshops and a town hall where residents can work with local authorities to discuss waste management solutions.

The designers carved out a dedicated space for lectures and meetings for social initiatives.

An ideas board proclaims “Join Us!” in Polish.

The rooms are organized by function—from a Home Farm that displays scalable urban farming solutions to a Creative Zone where experienced carpenters lead workshops on repurposing and modifying home appliances and furnishings.

In the Home Farm, a variety of edible plants, algae, and fungi are grown with aquaponic, hydroponic, and aeroponic methods designed to cut water use by 95% compared to traditional farming.

Home aquaponic systems are showcased on IVAR racks with KUGGIS containers connected to an aquarium.

KUGGIS containers are used in this microgarden to grow a variety of microgreens.

To outfit the space, the design team combined existing elements from the historic building with secondhand finds and new contemporary IKEA furnishings. Only eco-friendly materials were used in the renovation process, such as solid wood, formaldehyde-free plywood, glass, and recycled plastic.

In place of “unnecessary” decorative items, the designers opted to fill rooms with houseplants.

“It shows how to create the healthiest interior possible,” says IKEA in a statement. “These days, we spend most of our time indoors, which has become even more apparent during the coronavirus pandemic.”

Ingredients from the Home Farm are used in the open kitchen and dining room, where classes are held to teach visitors how to make zero-waste vegetarian meals. Visitors are even welcome to open the fridge and take something home.

Food prep waste is separated into large containers and composted.

Although each room serves a specific purpose, the spaces are designed to flow together in a circular system of food, waste, water, and other resources.

The designers worked in close collaboration with local activists, residents, and students to shape the home. Students from the local Academy of Arts “hacked” IKEA projects to give them new functionality.

“Working with students made it possible to engage local residents in the creation of this space,” says designer Joanna Jurga. “We wanted this place to be made by them and for them.”

Tucked away in a corner is the Relax Zone, which promotes well-being in the home through light therapy and aromatherapy. The student-designed seating and pillows simulate the experience of being hugged.

This Home Sun installation is designed to simulate sunlight. It emits Ultraviolet-B light, which encourages the body to synthesize vitamin D3, and a ceiling-mounted infrared panel radiates gentle warmth so visitors can both see and feel the artificial rays.

A second installation made of 100 TRÅDFRI light bulbs allows visitors to experience the effects of different colored lights.

The Home of Tomorrow is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in downtown Szczecin, and it will operate until the opening of the new IKEA store in 2021.

Spirulina, a type of nutrient-rich algae considered a superfood, is grown in CYLINDER vases used as cultivation containers. The Home of Tomorrow provides free, live spirulina cultures and fertilizer to visitors.

In the Planning Zone, IKEA employees provide free design advice for creating practical and eco-friendly kitchens.

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