They’ve previously popped up in New York, London, Shanghai and Nairobi. But, for the team at IKEA’s Copenhagen-based research and design lab Space10, a recently opened not-for-profit creative hub in New Delhi is a completely unprecedented venture. Open until April 2020, the platform is located in The Dhan Mill, an industrial area of Chhatarpur with former grain warehouses that today stand as a compound of stores, cafes and studios. The site selection is a nod to the Danish headquarters, an old fish distribution depot in Copenhagen’s trendy meatpacking district.

Why continue to open office so far from home? According to Kaave Pour, managing director at Space10, ‘We want to be where the future is.’ He continues, ‘India has a young, educated and tech-savvy population and will soon be the most populated country on Earth, with a fifth of the world’s youth living there. India is also one of the most diverse countries on the planet with the fastest growing economy. We therefore consider the country extremely inspiring and as the ideal place to learn and explore new sustainable and scalable solutions that can help combat real problems for real people.’

For the interior design of Space10 Delhi – headed by Space10’s Kevin Curran – the team’s objective was to find a balance between the lab’s existing identity and the new location. ‘Space10 Copenhagen is rooted in Scandinavian design,’ says Curran, ‘So when having to design our new lab in Delhi, I wanted to be true to Space10’s identity while embracing and celebrating the rich, colourful and vibrant design traditions of India.’

A wide collection of locally-made ceramics and figurines – crafted 50-m from the office by Claymen’s Aman Khanna – dot the interiors. Adorning the floors are hand-tufted carpets are from Jaipur Rugs, designed to reflect the rosy architecture of the Pink City; also colourful are the brightly painted restrooms, a collaboration with graphic artist Kunal Anand of Kulture Shop. Meanwhile, Scandinavian references can be identified in the staircase and railing painted Space10’s signature blue, and the furnishings, constructed by IKEA from rattan and leftover bamboo.

The driving mission behind Space10’s work is finding solutions for present and future societal changes that will affect people and the planet. Interdependence, a site-specific work by Delhiite artist and in-house IKEA designer Akanksha Deo Sharma, is the fullest embodiment of this in the space. Sharma worked with Indian fashion house 11.11 / eleven eleven to create the textile installation using traditional techniques. Hanging poetically from the hub’s high ceilings and symbolizing an intertwined ecosystem, it functions as a quite genuine introduction from Space10 to the community.