Fast Company Features Student Design Alternatives to Ikea Dressers
Freshmen Design Thinking and Communication students design dressers that reduce the risk of tipping
Ikea’s recent recall of 29 million of its Malm dressers has placed renewed focus on the injury risks present when children climb on furniture. To prevent such accidents from occurring in the future, consumers have been encouraged to secure their dressers to a wall.
What if there was an alternative?
Working with the product safety group Kids in Danger and the advocacy group Shane’s Foundation, freshmen engineering students in the Segal Design Institute’s Design Thinking and Communication (DTC) course were challenged to work in teams to design their own dressers that improve upon Ikea’s recalled model. Their final mock-ups were recently featured in Fast Company.
Students employed their design thinking skills developed in the course to come up with alternatives to Ikea’s current line of Malm dressers that maintain the company’s aesthetic while offering more stability and less risk of injury. One project, called SafeSlant, was designed to shift the dresser’s center of gravity while also limiting how far the dresser drawers could be pulled out. Alternatively, the Safe Shelves system does away with drawers completely, opting instead for a set of rotating shelves within an exterior that uses a wide base to prevent tipping.
Another idea, dubbed the TipStop Dresser, was designed so that the top drawer had eaves that reached the floor, ensuring the dresser’s weight remains balanced even if a child climbs to the top drawer.
"Basically the idea was to keep the dresser looking as close to a stock Malm as possible," said TipStop Dresser team member Blake Strebel. "We thought of a design that made the drawers childproof, but then that discourages kids from dressing themselves, so we came up with an alternative that makes the dresser stable, even when a kid has pulled out all the drawers.”