Sleepless in Almhult IKEA Democratic Design Days

Sleepless in Almhult IKEA Democratic Design Days
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The road to Älmhult for the IKEA Democratic Design Days was like no other. I was accompanied by IKEA Jordan’s Marketing Specialist Jehan Aggad to the two day event which aims to build trust and desire for IKEA Products (both of which I proudly have). The event is held at IKEA One, which was the first store ever opened in Älmhult, Småland in 1958. As of March of this year, IKEA now operated in 48 countries and has 384 stores open; an impressive number since their first store opening in 1958.

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With 800 million visitors in IKEA Stores last year, the brand still considers its self-small and at the beginning of a long journey. The IKEA Democratic Design Days was about growing IKEA, making a better one, and growing the brand to be available for just about anyone with better products, improved quality, and to offer value by becoming more accessible to people.

In 1958, IKEA held 2,000 to 2,500 products in their range of designs, today they issue around that number on annual basis, all by ensuring that the design of each product has four main pillars.

Form: All products should be beautiful, simple, and absolutely irresistible.

Function: Products that work for the design they were intended to do.

Quality: Whether it knows how to sleep best, designing beds that kids can bounce off (safely), or furniture to come home to and relax, quality is always important when designing IKEA products.

Sustainability: It’s very important for IKEA that products are both made and function in a sustainable way.

The above four pillars according to IKEA are worth nothing if not accompanied by the fifth and most important of all which will aid with any decision making process, and that is PRICE.

Price: IKEA strives to always be affordable, at the lowest possible price. That’s why some products are discontinued and you find them again under a new name, many products are redesigned under different names after they have managed to cut down on costs based on new findings and research and you end up with the newer variations at more appealing prices.

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During the opening session IKEA announced their collaboration with HAY. While not a very familiar designer in the Middle East, HAY co-founders Rolf and Mette Hay are like design celebrities, and the collaboration announcement was met with a huge round of applause. One of the their announcements was giving the IKEA Blue bag (Frakta Bag) a face lift, the yellow handles are now forest green and the bag is a shade of grey.

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IKEA’s R&D Department spends a lot of time prototyping and working on the LIFE AT HOME Report and getting work down in the test labs. They see themselves even going smaller in packaging, which means more products into shipping containers, and thus even lower prices.

The Life at Home is an interesting subject to IKEA because home is everything. The annual report aims to study how people perceive their homes and how they spend their times in them. Here is to sharing some knowledge from the 2016 findings, which is the 3rd annual report released by IKEA…

Life is changing drastically and the world is pretty much changing at an astonishing pace, this means that people’s lives are changing as well. Life at home is becoming redefined by people…

People today define their homes by where they have their most important relationships. Only 7% of people say that home is a physical place. With urbanization, living spaces are changing, people are forced to live in smaller spaces, and not surprisingly with digitization everything is just out there, so people are seeking their homes for privacy as well, as a private haven. Many people are now saying that if they had an extra hour a day, they would actually spend it alone, at home, unwinding from the fast paced life. At the same time, people are constantly on social media, being connected around the clock, so there is something about defining the line between privacy and being social that makes a home what it is today.

Impressively, a team of 20 designers oversees the creation of 2,000 affordable products each year at IKEA. Stay tuned to my blog for a sneak peek of 2016/2017 collection…

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Director of Digital Marketing Strategy by Day, Blogger by Night. Mother to my lovely Hana and a food addict.

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