30 THINGS WE LEARNED AT IKEA HQ

REAL LIV­ING VIS­ITED IKEA’S HOME­TOWN IN SOUTH­ERN SWE­DEN FOR ITS AN­NUAL DEMO­CRATIC DE­SIGN DAYS TO DIS­COVER HOW A MAIL-OR­DER BUSI­NESS EVOLVED INTO A MODERN DAY DE­SIGN ICON

Real Living (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

real liv­ing vis­ited Ikea’s home­town in South­ern Swe­den for its an­nual de­sign event and it kinda blew our minds

The first two let­ters of Ikea are founder Ing­var Kam­prad’s ini­tials, while the last two stand for the name of the farm and vil­lage where he grew up in south­ern Swe­den.

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Ev­ery year, hun­dreds of me­dia from around the world de­scend upon Ikea HQ in Älmhult for its Demo­cratic De­sign Days, where the lat­est de­signer col­lab­o­ra­tions and in­no­va­tions are re­vealed for the year ahead.

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The iconic blue Frakta bag has be­come a de­sign clas­sic. This year, the bag has been re­designed by both Hay and Re­form Stu­dio – the lat­ter gave it a blingy sil­ver makeover us­ing ma­te­rial made en­tirely out of 32 re­cy­cled chip pack­ets!

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Pieces from the brand’s de­signer col­lab­o­ra­tions can be a real in­vest­ment. Some vin­tage pieces are fetch­ing record prices at auc­tion. The Åke clam chair from 1944 re­cently sold for more than $85,000 at an auc­tion in the UK.

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Over 640 mil­lion peo­ple eat at Ikea ev­ery year – 30 per cent visit solely to eat. Meat­balls, any­one?

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Dan­ish de­sign wun­derkinds HAY will re­lease their col­lec­tion YPPERLIG , fea­tur­ing beau­ti­fully un­der­stated pieces in their SIG­NA­TURE pal­ette, in Oc­to­ber.

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STREETWEAR MEETS HOMEWARES IN FASH­ION DE­SIGNER AND ARTIST CHRIS STAMP’S RIDICU­LOUSLY COOL SPÄNST COL­LEC­TION, COM­ING IN MAY 2018! LOOK OUT FOR THE VERY FIRST IKEA SKATE­BOARD.

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Ikea is work­ing on a fra­grance project with cult per­fume brand Byredo. But don’t ex­pect run-of-the-mill fra­grance dif­fusers. “HOPE­FULLY [IT’S] SOME­THING FAR NEWER THAN JUST AN­OTHER SCENTED CAN­DLE,” says Ikea’s head of de­sign, Mar­cus Eng­man.

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Ever won­dered what KLIPPAN means? Each piece is given names in cat­e­gories, for ex­am­ple so­fas and arm­chairs are named af­ter Swedish places – like Klippan, a re­gion in South­ern Swe­den.

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Bri­tish de­sign hero TOM DIXON has col­lab­o­rated on a bed sofa.

“I wanted to make a cof­fin but they wouldn’t let me,” he says. The De­lak­tig bed sofa is a bed first and fore­most, but can also be used as a sofa and more with the ad­di­tion of ex­tra pieces.

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THE INDUSTRIELL

COL­LEC­TION BY LEG­ENDARY DUTCH DE­SIGNER PIET HEIN EEK CEL­E­BRATES THE BEAUTY OF IM­PER­FEC­TION AND IS TIPPED TO FLY OFF THE SHELVES WHEN IT GOES ON SALE IN APRIL 2018. a l

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And in an­other un­ex­pected pair­ing, Ikea’s team­ing up with mu­sos Teenage En­gi­neer­ing on Frekvens, a “party” col­lec­tion, ex­pected to hit stores by Fe­bru­ary 2019.

The Ikea cat­a­logue is pro­duced by more than 280 peo­ple in a huge photo stu­dio called ICOM. De­sign­ers, pho­tog­ra­phers, art di­rec­tors, copy­writ­ers, car­pen­ters and artists are all em­ployed.

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ICOM PRO­DUCES AP­PROX­I­MATELY 40,000 IM­AGES AND 250 FILMS A YEAR. THAT’S MORE THAN 110 PHO­TOS A DAY!

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Dur­ing “cat­a­logue sea­son”, the team will build 30 to 50 rooms a week (al­most ev­ery­thing is shot in stu­dio) and hire an ad­di­tional 100 free­lancers to help with the epic work­load. When we vis­ited in June this year, the team were al­ready work­ing on the 2019 cat­a­logue.

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In ad­di­tion to a sew­ing room and car­pen­try work­shop, ICOM also boasts a kitchen where food is pre­pared for use in shoots – all matched to suit the tastes of dif­fer­ent coun­tries.

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ICOM has a huge li­brary of props and in­ter­na­tional del­i­ca­cies, so sets can be dressed with the right cul­tural in­gre­di­ents (think a jar of Vegemite for

Aus­tralia or a bag of Reese’s Pieces for the US).

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Ing­var Kam­prad launched Ikea in 1943 as a mail-or­der busi­ness sell­ing a va­ri­ety of house­hold prod­ucts – ev­ery­thing from stock­ings to pens – be­fore di­ver­si­fy­ing into fur­ni­ture in 1948. HIS MOTTO: “To create a bet­ter ev­ery­day life for the many peo­ple”.

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The com­pany didn’t start FLAT PACK­ING fur­ni­ture un­til 1956. The idea came about when the legs of a table were re­moved to trans­port it more eas­ily.

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IKEA TESTS EV­ERY ITEM FOR FUNC­TION­AL­ITY, DURA­BIL­ITY AND SAFETY, WITH THE PROD­UCT DEVEL­OP­MENT PROCESS TAK­ING UP TO THREE YEARS BE­FORE A PROD­UCT REACHES THE STORE.

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TO­DAY, TEST­ING IS CAR­RIED OUT BY THE LAT­EST RO­BOTS, BUT BE­FORE THEY WERE IN­TRO­DUCED, ONE MAN, A FOR­MER CARPENTER, WAS A “TEST BUM” OF SORTS, PHYS­I­CALLY TEST­ING THE FUR­NI­TURE BY SIT­TING ON IT.

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It’s es­ti­mated one in 10 Euro­peans were con­ceived on an Ikea mat­tress!

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Con­trary to pop­u­lar be­lief, Ikea’s assem­bly in­struc­tions are also painstak­ingly tested, with the in­struc­tion de­sign­ers – called “com­mu­ni­ca­tors” – charged with putting a prod­uct to­gether first to pin­point any po­ten­tial is­sues.

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Con­sider your­self handy with an Allen key? Cus­tomers are in­vited at ran­dom to test out the step-by-steps.

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IF THAT SOUNDS LIKE YOUR IDEA OF HELL, FEAR NOT, IKEA FUR­NI­TURE IS BE­COM­ING EAS­IER TO PUT TO­GETHER! IKEA RE­SEARCHERS DIS­COV­ERED YOUNGER GEN­ER­A­TIONS ARE LESS LIKELY TO HAVE BA­SIC TOOLS ON HAND FOR ASSEM­BLY, SO THEIR DE­SIGN HAS EVOLVED. MANY NEW PIECES SIM­PLY CLIP TO­GETHER.

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SPACED OUT This year a team of de­sign­ers jour­neyed to the Mars Desert Re­search Sta­tion in Utah in a bid to learn how as­tro­nauts live and bet­ter un­der­stand com­pact liv­ing.

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There are a slew of busi­nesses tak­ing Ikea hack­ing to the next level. Su­per­front pro­duces doors and at­tach­ments to per­son­alise your Ikea kitchen, while Bemz makes cus­tom cov­ers for Ikea fur­ni­ture.

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Ikea still op­er­ates in Älmhult, where the first Ikea show­room was opened in 1953. Älmhult is also home to the Ikea Hotell, the Ikea Mu­seum and ICOM, where the cat­a­logue is pro­duced. The ho­tel and mu­seum are open to the public, the lat­ter boast­ing a meat­ball restau­rant.

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SPACE10 is Ikea’s in­no­va­tion lab based in Copen­hagen. This year, it un­veiled the Grow­room, a com­mu­nal ur­ban gar­den, and also shared the plans online so any­one could build it. The think tank works with peo­ple from around the world on projects de­signed to im­prove life in the fu­ture, tack­ling is­sues like cli­mate change, ur­ban­i­sa­tion and nat­u­ral re­source short­ages.

Omedel­bar, a quirky col­lab with ec­cen­tric stylist Bea Åk­er­lund, is on its way.

SUS­TAIN­ABIL­ITY IS A MA­JOR GOAL, WITH THE COM­PANY AIM­ING TO BE EN­ERGY IN­DE­PEN­DENT AND FOR­EST POS­I­TIVE BY 2020. MANY PROD­UCTS ARE AL­READY MADE FROM RE­CY­CLED MA­TE­RI­ALS. THESE VASES ARE MADE FROM MELT­ING DOWN GLASS PROD­UCTS THAT HAVE BEEN RE­JECTED DUE TO IR­REG­U­LAR­I­TIES AT THEIR FAC­TORY IN CHINA.

A mat­tress is tested with a me­chanic weight.

Kar­landa arm­chair cover in Stock­holm Stripe, $US149, Bemz.

Mini Re­flec­tion han­dle in Brass, 16, Su­per­front.

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