The Uppleva, Swedish for experience, neatly packages video and audio electronics and furniture into one smart unit. Based on the popular BESTA series, the cabinet will house an HD LED TV, CD/DVD/Blu-Ray player, and integrated sound system with wireless subwoofer all controlled by one remote. The TV with built in wi-fi also features a light sensor that automatically adjusts brightness. To top it all off, the cabinet solves the problem of hiding all the cords.
Like other IKEA products, the line will offer options such as four sizes of TV in either a white or black finish. The cabinet itself will come in white, black, beech or walnut finishes.
In an interview with Co.Design's Mark Wilson, designer Francis Cayouette explains that Uppleva is a throwback to when the first televisions were housed in cabinets:
“As you know in the '50s and the '60s it was quite normal to see a TV or a radio built into a cabinet, probably because it was easier to bring the technology into homes,” Cayouette tells Co.Design. “Then the electronics came out of the box to become products on their own, expressing more and more the performance and the technical features with fancy and sometimes over exaggerated details. This [is] probably due to the fact that the electronics are normally sold on a shelf, competing side by side for their technical and hi-fi design features. But now technology is so much a part of our everyday life that we don’t need to see it as a separate technical product,” he says. “The electronics don’t need to look technical anymore.”
Launching in Sweden in June 2012, the Uppleva will be available in stores worldwide this fall with a starting price of about $960 USD.
The Swedish furniture giant's decision to enter electronics is surprising but also brilliant. Although the line won't reel in serious audiophiles and gadget geeks, UPPLEVA will appeal to anyone else who wants a home entertainment system without having to make three or more separate decisions about what to buy and where to put it. And not to worry, while the cabinet will require the usual assembly, the electronics will not.