Dezeen Magazine

Norse IKEA hack

Norse's hacked IKEA cabinets are named after women's rights activists

Women's rights activists like Eleanor Roosevelt, Frida Kahlo and Rosa Parks lend their names to designs in this series of hacked IKEA cabinets, created by New York City furniture start-up Norse.

Recently launched in the city, Norse produces seven designs that fit onto IKEA's Bestå storage frame and television stand.

Norse IKEA hack
Above: Norse's designs are named after women's rights activists, like the former US first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Top image: Rosa

Each design in the septet is named after an influential female – with Astrid Lindgren, Marie Curie, Eva Perón and Amelia Earhart completing the set – and can be produced in varying sizes depending on the furniture.

The company is the brainchild of Lotta Lundaas, who came up with the idea after hacking her own IKEA pieces as an affordable way to update the office at one of her first jobs in the US, after moving from her home in Sweden.

Norse IKEA hack
Mexican artist Frida Kahlo lends her name to an art-deco-style design

"We want to enable customers to design one-of-a-kind furniture, and with our patterns and finishes, they can make over 1000 unique cabinets and TV stands using the IKEA cabinet Bestå as a base," Lundaas told Dezeen.

Made using American materials and manufacturers, the designs come in a neutral colour palette and are covered in different line patterns that are intended to evoke the pared-back Scandinavian aesthetic.

Norse IKEA hack
Simple lines are used to decorate the cabinetry, with Astrid featuring vertical marks that resemble ribbed wood

"We've chosen to focus on Scandinavian design, defined by simple lines that are easy to integrate into any type of room," Lundaas said.

"The patterns span from refined and elegant to more playful, and the color palette currently consists of seven beautiful semi-sheen colours."

Among the series is Eleanor, named after the American political figure, diplomat and activist, and wife of former US president Franklin Roosevelt, The cabinet is decorated with a delicate herringbone pattern.

Lundaas chose a more minimal design marked by two diagonal lines as an ode to Rosa Parks, the black civil rights activist who famously refused to give up her bus seat to a white person.

Norse IKEA hack
Horizontal and vertical markings across Marie, based on the mid-century modern aesthetic

Rectangular patterns based on the decorative art deco-style that emerged in the early 20th century bridge over the seals of doors on the Frida design. The cabinet is named after Frida Kahlo, the Mexican artist that Norse describes as "an icon for Chicanos, feminists, the LGBTQ movement and more".

Astrid Lindgren, the Swedish children's author behind the Pippi Longstocking books, lends her name to a cabinet featuring vertical patterns that resemble ribbed wood, while the design associated with the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, Marie Curie, is based on the mid-century modern aesthetic.

Norse IKEA hack
Among the other available patterns are curved lines that criss-cross towards the base of Eva

Lundaas rounds off the list with a minimal design dedicated to the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, Amelia Earhart, and a cabinet with lines that curve towards the base for Eva Perón – the First Lady of Argentina from 1946 to 1952, who championed women's suffrage in the country.

"The interlacing pattern evokes Jazz Age glamour, while curved lines add softness and femininity to the hard edges of the piece," reads the description of the Eva model on Norse's website.

Norse IKEA hack
Amelia Earhart, the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, is represented by a more minimal design

Norse follows a host of companies and designers who have developed inventive hacks for IKEA furniture.

Examples include Danish brand Reform, which has teamed up with a host of well-known architects and designers including Cecilie ManzBIGHenning LarsenNorm to refresh designs.

IKEA itself has also jumped on board the movement, teaming up with British designer Tom Dixon to launch a collection of "authorised hacks" earlier this year.