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Are these guys the ultimate IKEA hackers?

Meet Reform, the Danish start-up transforming mass-market kitchens into designer models

  • Are these guys the ultimate IKEA hackers?
  • Are these guys the ultimate IKEA hackers?
  • Are these guys the ultimate IKEA hackers?
  • Are these guys the ultimate IKEA hackers?
  • Are these guys the ultimate IKEA hackers?

Text by Mandi Keighran Photography⁄Erika Svensson

Fancy a designer kitchen on a budget? Danish start-up Reform has the answer – hack one of IKEA’s. 

“We didn’t invent the concept of IKEA-hacking,” says Jeppe Christensen, an entrepreneurial economist who co-founded Reform in 2014 with engineer-turned-kitchen manufacturer Michael Andersen. “People have been doing it for decades.” 

Reform’s take on the idea, however, has far more design cred than your regular Pinterest upcycling project. Since launching to the public last year, the company has collaborated with some of the world’s leading designers – from BIG’s Bjarke Ingels to Henning Larsen and Norm Architects – to transform IKEA’s range of modular kitchen elements with contemporary tops and fronts. Since then, they’ve sold to 14 countires and have also started hacking IKEA bathrooms and wardrobes.

“IKEA kitchens are good quality and it does huge quantities, which makes it very affordable,” says Andersen. “Competing with IKEA in modular kitchens is an uphill battle, so when Jeppe came to me with his idea to create designer tops and fronts to add to IKEA’s existing elements, it was
a revolution.”

By piggybacking on the base elements of IKEA’s modular kitchens, Reform can deliver a designer kitchen more cheaply, easily and quickly than building one from scratch. 

IKEA elements are standard across the world, so clients can talk to the kitchen consultant at their local store to plan the kitchen’s layout and order the base elements. By the time they come to Reform, all that’s left to do is add the special façades, with replacement doors from around €100 (NOK945).

Currently, there are five collections available, including BIG’s industrial-style series, which has sleek black tops and oak fronts, plus black seat-belt nylon for handles; an elegant oak and copper fit-out by Henning Larsen; and, a soon-to-launch aluminium collection by Berlin-based Danish architect Sigurd Larsen.

Reform is based in Copenhagen with showrooms in New York and Berlin, and there are plans to open up in other major cities. “Hacking IKEA makes our business scalable globally,” says Andersen. “Eventually, we want to own the world.” reformcph.com

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