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Life at Home 29 April 2022

H22 City Expo: The finalists of the global competition to build a better everyday life are chosen

Three finalists and three honorable mentions have now been chosen by the jury in the global competition for young creatives that IKEA Retail Sweden and Ingka Group announced earlier this spring. The task that creatives from all over the world took on was to design affordable and sustainable nature dwellings that fit in the temporary forest Skogen being built nearby the main site of IKEA in H22 City Expo*, Magasin 405, in the new district of Oceanhamnen, in Helsingborg. The competition is one of several initiatives that IKEA is implementing in H22 City Expo, the biggest event for innovation and sustainable urban development in the Nordic region in 2022, happening this summer, from May 30 to July 3.

The ten-day competition had more than 60 participants from all over the world being the three finalist projects:

  • Finalist 1 – “Returning to nature”, Marcus Badman, Sweden 
  • Finalist 2 – “Tree-House”, Emma Jurczynski, United States of America
  • Finalist 3 – “Cork Loop”, Otis Sloan Brittain, Portugal/The United Kingdom

One person per finalist will be invited to the H22 City Expo to participate and talk about the challenges along the journey and to see their design coming to life. The winner will be announced and prized with 5.000 euros in the IKEA Festival at Fuorisalone 2022 in Milan, 6 – 12 of June.

Through an open competition for young, creative minds from across the globe, and across disciplines, we sought to create a platform for sharing knowledge to help develop the cities of tomorrow. All participants were tasked with creating open-source recipes of their designed dwelling for inhabiting their local nature and to share these ideas with the global community. This makes it possible for anyone anywhere to download, rebuild or even hack the designs, adapting and recontextualizing them to their local nature. The finalists were found in a rich and diverse set of proposals with the help of a jury with a wide range of professional backgrounds, after a set of dynamic discussions”, says Marcus Fairs, competition jury chairman.

The jury has chosen also to give the following contestants an honorable mention for how they have demonstrated innovative and unique ideas of high quality:

  • “Porous”, Jonas Swienty Andresen and Simon Strøyer, Denmark
  • “Weavers House”, Anne Tachado and Ian Alcazar, Philippines/ Australia
  • “Thorpe”, Nicholas Davine, Jesper Olehn and Declan Ericksen, Denmark

We thank everybody for the unique, innovative and interesting contributions that clearly got the principals and spirit of IKEA design, and we look forward to sharing the open-source design recipes with the entire world, to reach the many people. And we hope that everyone across the globe will enjoy the design ideas in their local nature and make their own explorations of how to build better, cheaper, smarter and more sustainable temporary nature dwellings”, says Marcus Engman, Chief Creative Officer at Ingka Group and member of the jury.

The members of the Jury were: 

  • Marcus Fairs, founder and editor-in-chief of Dezeen, and jury chairman; 
  • Anupama Kundoo, architect and professor, India; 
  • Nelly Ben Hayoun, French designer, artist and filmmaker; 
  • Marcus Engman, CCO, Ingka Group; 
  • Nikoline Dyrup Carlsen, architect and founder of Spacon & X. 

More details about the three finalist projects:

Finalist 1 – “Returning to nature”, Marcus Badman, Sweden

Project description:

My local setting is an island in the Stockholm archipelago where nature grows wild. Today it is a rare thing to have access to such an environment. When living in a city you have little relationship to “real” nature. I´ve chosen to focus on an experience-based concept with the intention of deepening the relationship between humans and our nature. I have designed the ritual of “returning to nature”. The ritual starts with a widening perspective of the scenery. The participant takes a step up on a walking path and walks into nature from above the ground. The path directs the participant through the environment and gives him a different and stronger experience of it. Just like being nude with just a pair of socks on enforces the feeling of nudity, the feeling of nature enlarges when walking on top of it.

Jury motivation:

This proposal gives a poetic and playful take that goes above imaginary boundaries while simultaneously maintaining a strong degree of buildability and simplicity. The jury agreed that this is a design that invites to human interaction by allowing people to engage with one another. A component of daily lives that many people have missed during the rather traumatic period of the pandemic. The proposal aims with themes such as connectivity and collaboration to bring these two concepts back to the front, in the intersection between humans and nature. The design itself makes a big statement on the human footprint in nature; as humans impact nature simply by moving around within it. The raised structure of the dwelling alludes to that damage and presents it in a way that avoids all the cliches of most types of sleeping structures. The structures themselves also allow for the dwelling to play with the human senses: sound, sight and touch.

Finalist 2 – “Tree-House”, Emma Jurczynski, United States

Project Description

This proposal reconsiders the idea of a treehouse – building with nature, in nature. Inspired by a childhood dream for a treehouse, this playful structure enables a new relationship with the forest by elevating you into the canopies. Unlike a traditional treehouse, the stand-alone structure does not depend on being fastened to trees, instead, it can be constructed anywhere, in any context. Tree-House is a streamlined system built from standardized wood — a cheap, renewable and accessible resource, making it an environmentally, economically and socially sustainable structure. The ubiquity of the standardized wood enables materials to be re-used in the future when the structure is no longer in use. Tree-House is a playful provocation to reconsider the spatial possibilities of a transportable tree house that brings us closer to nature.

Jury Motivation

With an urban approach to nature, the dwelling manages to combine a brave and exciting proposal with a sense of simplicity. It is unconventional yet functional and demonstrates a high degree of applicability in both urban and non-urban contexts – regardless of what a person may perceive as their local nature. The flexibility makes the dwelling useful in a variety of settings, across the globe and for different uses. The creator has made the proposal open-minded with different layouts within the proposal that suits different contexts.

Finalist 3 – “Cork Loop”, Otis Sloan Brittain, Portugal/The United Kingdom

Project Description

“The Cork Loop inspires people of all ages to explore and connect with the extraordinary natural environments that surround us through an adaptable modular shelter and reflect upon how humans can create industries that protect the ecosystems which sustain them. The compact and lightweight modular design makes the Cork Loop simple to transport and set up, opening up the possibilities for exploration. Modules can be combined in countless ways to form different structures which adapt to their environment.

Jury Motivation

Flat-packable, modular and movable. Simple and flexible with an interesting and well-thought use of materials. Those are some of the key aspects the jury all agreed makes this proposal highly worthy of being awarded. It creates a loop-like building system that could travel around the earth and be developed, elaborated, optimised and explored in a variety of contexts. It tells a story about a profound love for sleeping in nature and has a high level of understanding that simplicity in construction is highly suitable within such a context. The proposal also demonstrates a strong sense of social and environmental sustainability.

More details on the honorable mentions:

“Poruous”, Jonas Swienty Andresen and Simon Strøyer, Denmark

Built by and with the elements – Inspired by the two main elements of the context; sand and migration, Poruous dwelling is utilising the materials available on-site; the dwelling is constructed of a series of bricks made of sand, water, seeds and adhesives and is constantly changing its character. The dwelling is a manifestation of a completely natural process.

“Weavers House”, Anne Tachado and Ian Alcazar, Philippines/Australia

The intention has been to make the dwelling ‘amphibious’ and flood-resilient, the project sits on the ground within a purpose made dock and is able to rise up to1-2m when a flood occurs, buoyed by the flood water. The material usage will depend on locally available renewable resources where possible to reduce carbon footprint and embodied energy. It pays homage to the traditions of the indigenous people living in the domain whilst remaining functional and integrated to the daily needs of the community as a whole.

“Thorpe”, Nicholas Davine, Jesper Olehn and Declan Ericksen, Denmark

An overnight residency to re-engage with our precious oceans. – Thorpe provides a new lens in reconnecting ourselves with the beautiful oceans and harbours that surround us all and impact us constantly. This urban retreat aims to act as an architectural catalyst for all, an inspiration for future engagement and re-connection with our most precious environments.

More information about the competition and the overall participation of IKEA in H22 City Expo available here: H22 at IKEA.

*The international city fair H22 City Expo is the biggest event for innovation and sustainable urban development in the Nordic region in 2022 and a major initiative by Helsingborg city in Sweden, to develop future welfare solutions aimed at improving quality of life in a smarter, more sustainable city. The city’s work with H22 consists of two parts: 1. A city-wide innovation initiative. It is about the journey towards becoming a smarter and more sustainable city. 2. H22 City Expo – A stop along the way where we shine a light on all that has been achieved between now and the summer of 2022. More about it here: H22 City Expo 2022.



Ingka Group (Ingka Holding B.V. and its controlled entities) is one of 12 different groups of companies that own and operate IKEA retail under franchise agreements with Inter IKEA Systems B.V. Ingka Group has three business areas: IKEA Retail, Ingka Investments and Ingka Centres. Ingka Group is a strategic partner in the IKEA franchise system, operating 392 IKEA stores in 32 countries. These IKEA stores had 657 million visits during FY21 and 4.6 billion visits to Ingka Group operates business under the IKEA vision – to create a better everyday life for the many people by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible can afford it. 

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Marcus Engman CCO Ingka Group

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Marcus Fairs founder and editor-in-chief of Dezeen and jury chairman

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