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Life at Home Report: 6 experts, 2 days, 1 house

Beyond These Four Walls

Inside this townhouse in South London, a meeting of minds from all over the world took place. Following the release of the annual {0} Life at Home Report, the door of the IKEA Open House was opened for the first time to a group of hand-picked ‘Resident Experts’ to explore the meaning of home over a two-day workshop. Each shared their unique view while we listened in.

‘The Open House was about collaboration. IKEA doesn’t have
all the answers – these two days were about pulling apart what
we thought we knew and building new insights together’

Katie McCrory, Open House facilitator and IKEA
communications specialist

The DJ, rock journalist and zero-impact guru

Meet Paola Maugeri (pictured celebrating her 50th birthday in an IKEA Milan takeover). ‘In this digital era, people need analogue connections. I’ve interviewed many rock stars, and they’re talking about humanity and our planet. I want to change my level of empathy. Inspired, I lived a whole year zero impact with my family – no electricity, no lights, no fridge.’

The millennial freelancer and campaigner

For Carl Anka, his digital sphere is where he feels most at home. ‘I use the term “transience”,’ he says. ‘As a 27-year-old living in London, I struggle to find permanence. I’m never going to afford a home of my own and haven’t had a fixed workspace for longer than six months, I hot desk. My WhatsApp is my living room space – that’s my permanent bedrock.’  

‘We stopped going to church, so we replaced that with football stadiums.
But now football is getting too expensive, how do we find
spaces where we can feel at home outside of home?’

Carl Anka

The Scandi interior design and home blogger

Hannah Trickett’s four walls hold a deeper personal significance than most: ‘I started to write about interior design when at home, following eight brain surgeries, because that became my life,’ she says. ‘My focus was thoughtful consumerism – we find ourselves searching for meaning, connection and authenticity in objects we surround ourselves with.’ 

The social trend watcher for China and Japan

‘In the early 80s, huge transformation took place,’ says Manya Koetse, who keeps watch on China’s rapidly evolving society. ‘Sleepy fishing villages became economic powerhouses. Temporary urban dwellers now live in underground bunkers but is a bomb shelter a home? Due to this feeling of “unhomeliness’” people are seeking kinship in public spaces instead.’

‘The 250 million “floating population” of China is claiming
private space in public spaces, such as IKEA stores,
restaurants and the streets. For them, home is becoming
further away from home’

Manya Koetse 

The parenting content maker and CityKin founder

From the opposite side of the world, Patrice Poltzer reflected on city living: ‘There’s tension between place. Families are foregoing a suburban existence and falling head over feet to live in a few square metres in NYC,’ she says. ‘I love walking my kids half a block to school and them being exposed to different cultures. We can’t create global citizens when confined to four walls.’ 

The humanitarian and ex-refugee camp manager

As Kilian Kleinschmidt explained, not all migration is ‘happy migration’. ‘I work with refugees and desperate migrants displaced from homes due to war and disaster,’ he says. ‘Prescribing what they want is wrong – in settlement camps, dignity is regained through choice. I’ve seen home decor shops set up, even aid items sold in return for objects to rebuild their identity.’

‘The real feeling of home is the ability to make choices. In a
camp of 100,000 refugees in Jordan, we put up tents in rows –
they tore them down and made them their own’

Kilian Kleinschmidt