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Ikea hires a dog for its latest collection. He’s the ulti-mutt designer

His name is Mr. Chuck, and this is his design statement: *Pawprint*

Ikea hires a dog for its latest collection. He’s the ulti-mutt designer
[Photo: Ikea]
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Stressed out? The Australian outpost of Ikea has created a limited-edition collection, called “Mindsets,” that’s designed to take your mind off the extraordinary pressures of the day. The activity kits are free to the public, but only 1,885 were made, so they were distributed on a first come, first served basis by signing up online. Oh, and one was created by a dog.

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The brand partnered with five local artists and designers to create kits that take about 15 minutes to assemble and come in flat packs. And to round out the experience, each collaborator created a Spotify Playlist that can be played while doing the activity.

[Image: Ikea]
Each of the projects came out of specific findings from Ikea’s 2019 Life at Home Report, which gathers data and insights about domestic life around the world. The Mindset projects address a specific aspect of the report, which found that Australians feel they don’t have enough private time in their homes—this has no doubt been exacerbated by the coronavirus lockdowns.

While the series is designed to address a serious problem, the activities themselves are delightfully quirky. Mr. Chuck, a mini Dachshund based in Adelaide and an Instagram celebrity, “designed” a simple puzzle in the shape of a paw print, which is meant to give dogs and their owners an opportunity to bond by putting the pieces in their correct spots.

[Image: Ikea]
Another fun project is a xylophone, created with Emma Watkins, who is part of a kids’ musical group called The Wiggles. The instrument, which is made from wood, is designed to be assembled from scratch and played.

[Image: Ikea]

There’s also an abstract sculpture made in collaboration with the street artist Fintan Magee, an easy-to-build birdhouse designed in collaboration with award-winning landscape gardener Jason Hodges, and a puzzle that doubles as a coaster from Christine Gough, Ikea’s head of interior design in Australia.

The Mindsets are a clever way to engage with customers during a moment of crisis, particularly since stores have had to shut down for extended periods of time. More broadly, the kits remind us that it’s important to take mental breaks from the stresses of living through a pandemic.

About the author

Elizabeth Segran, Ph.D., is a staff writer at Fast Company. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts

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