(Video link here.) Recently, while discussing  a particuarly stylish Ikea creation, our friend Maria remarked: “I figure Ikea’s stuff is only good for about 5 years.” Suddenly, we flashed on all the discarded particle board Ikea storage units we’d seen on New York City streets. In the long run, Ikea can simply be a waste of money.

Soon after, Anthony Giglio told us about an old friend from Asbury Park who launched a “funky company called Soapbox, founded on his angst with Ikea furniture assembly”.  At that very moment that Anthony had been assembling “maddenning”  Ikea shelving, platform bed and dresser for his daughter’s new bedroom and was at his wit’s end. (We know of couple’s who have almost split up assembling Ikea products.)

So right away we took a look. Soapbox makes veneered plywood boxes with wonderfully-designed connectors that allows for assembly without screw-drivers and Ikea angst. They are available in a range of woods — maple, cherry, walnut —, different color hardware, and your choice of leg heights. They can stand alone, stacked or afixed to the wall in various permutations that can change as your life and needs do. And since plywood is WAY more durable than Ikea’s fiberboard storage, you are buying quality goods that will last.

soapbox is a stylish, durable ikea alternative

We noticed that the cool connectors themselves were not for sale on Soapbox‘s site and emailed mastermind Rob to ask why, as we imagined the ways we could use them for our own 3/4-inch plywood constructions. Here’s what he wrote:

…Mainly we don’t think it’s a large enough audience of people that would cut their own wood. We thought about it and felt we would run out of customers willing to “construct” their own furniture versus customers willing to assemble their own. Add to it the tolerances in all the 3/4-inch materials and it would lead to complaints about the accuracy of the hardware.

All this added up to: we need to control the product in order to ensure the quality I was trying to achieve.

soapbox is a stylish, durable ikea alternative

H-m-mm. We get it; the quality issue is what started Rob off in the first place and admire is gumption in pursueing a solution. Still, we’d bet that there are people who we willing to take a chance on those connectors (even with disclaimers). And many who would want the complete furniture kits.

We hope Soapbox will find a way to sell their swell connectors in the future; we’d love to play around with them.


(In the meantime, there’s always IndieFurniture’s connectors, which aren’t quite so cool, but work for 3/4-inch wood. Muuto’s connectors have sleek design but appear to work only on 1/2-thick wood. )

Related posts: 16 REALLY clever uses for binder clips
customizable upright holders for storing…just about everything
an artist hacks ikea’s ‘billy’ bookcase
cool clamped-together shelving + a noguchi-esque clamp
more clipped-together shelving: indie shelving’s clamps + manifesto

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One thought on “soapbox: stylish, durable ikea alternative

  1. I would be another one who’d love to play with the Soapbox connectors! In fact getting some was my first thought when reading this post..
    Great idea. Love to imagine the connectors in brass or copper too.. 🙂

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