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Friday, 06 December 2002

An IKEA designed world

Two interesting articles on IKEA in last Sunday's New York Times Magazine (catch them before Sunday, otherwise they disappear into the pay-for archive). THe first is about IKEA creating Disney-style communities:

BoKlok represents the new frontier of Ikea's design ambition. Instead of just selling furnishings, the company is trying something much bolder: actually building homes. Groups of homes, in fact -- housing developments built according to the same principles that guide the design of Ikea furniture. The homes are small modernist units, prefabricated and mass-produced to minimize the price and organized to maximize interaction among residents. ''I don't think we're creating communities,'' said Joakim Blomquist, one of the five members of the BoKlok team, measuring his words. ''It's up to people to create their own. But this is not only housing.'' [more]

The second about the juggernaut that is IKEA in the US:

Last year, 29.3 million people worked their way through the directed Habitrail of an American Ikea store. In the slog of recession, Ikea sales for the year that ended in August were up 5 percent over the previous year. Such success says a lot about the evolution of the company. ''If you look at the history of Ikea, in the early years their design was quite horrible,'' said Alexander von Vegesack, director of the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany, who in 1999 mounted an exhibit on the history of the company. But in the last decade, he said, the company has pushed a more ambitious aesthetic. ''They became more and more interested in design. Today if you go to Ikea, you always will find some pieces which are good designs and very reasonable in pricing.'' [more]

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