I drive by the site of the new Ikea store everyday on the way to work. I decided to swing through the parking lot to see the masses of idiots waiting in line this morning for the grand openning. It was quite a sight. They had news crews everywhere. Swedish yodelers or whatever they are, singing on a stage which was pumping though the area. All of the employees were on a second level “deck” with those inflatable noise tubes you see at basketball games. And the line was just ridiculous. It was quite a shock to see this many people excited to go inside.

You must be referring to the new IKEA in Stoughton, MA - I have not seen the madness myself, but I happened to be passing by the IKEA in CT about a year ago and saw the same thing. I find the phenomenon of IKEA very curious.

I think that in general, the masses of people want things from IKEA more for the shopping experience (and then the following stories/ability to showoff for friends) than necessarily for the product - I basically feel the same way about Apple products especially from the Apple store.

The Ikea here in Pittsburgh is the same way Friday, Saturday + Sunday. You drive past and there are no parking spots. People drive in from Ohio with rented U-haul trails loading them up to the top. It is absolutely nuts! I’ll admit my girlfriend + I shop there every once in awhile, but only during the week because of the crowd. Until we can afford furniture from West Elm its the place to go.

Good article from BW on all things IKEA…


I’m not sure why you’re suprised by the popularity of IKEA? I think it really drives home a point that people are willing to go out of their way for good design at affordable prices.

sadly, much of the good design has gone by the wayside in favor of design for low cost

Give me a break, why are designers always crying about “design going by the wayside” - should we set up some government agency to regulate everyone, making sure design is not neglected? Ikea has some of the most attractive, albeit cheap products out there. Great design, along with quality, reliability or any other aspect of a product is only worth how much someone is willing to pay for.

I hate to be the naysayer, but since when did chip board become good good design?

I have bought various pieces of IKEA furniture over the past 5 or so years, and the stuff does NOT last. and, if you move, you may as well throw it off teh truck, becasue the stuff will hold up as well as wet cardboard.

is that good design?

yeah, it looks well designed, but are looks good design??

yeah, it’s a great business model, fun exerience, good meatballs, so what.

c’mon people…

Why is it that whenever the naysayers speak up against IKEA they can’t get past their use particle board? What about the rest of what they sell?

Why did you buy the particle board furniture in the first place? Do you expect it to be an heirloom piece to pass down to the grandkids? I’m guessing you bought it because of the PRICE and perhaps you wanted something more STYLISH to reflect your aesthetic lifestyle, rather than the dead, nostalgic, early-American-faux-oak style crap so common at the furniture outlets at the local strip mall near the highway next door to the over stuffed Lazy-Boy outlet. They are competing with the K-Marts and Wal-Marts of furniture world. Not Design With(out of) Reach. Not Crate and Barrel. Not West Elm.

I believe what IKEA represents is another choice for those who are on a limited budget but can’t stomach the other options out there.

Design has not gone by the wayside from the likes of IKEA. The economics of bringing a shelf or couch to market at a specific price point is constrained by materials and production methods. I think IKEA’s success resides in choosing simple, contemporary materials and fabrics not garrish, floral, or excessively ornate designs you typically find at the crap furniture outlets.

Design has most definitely taken second place to cost at Ikea.

Compare the Poang chair to any Ikea chair designed in the last 5 years, say Patrik.

The Poang is comfortable and inexpensive, especially considering that the frame is real wood. Further it is easily configured to reflect the user’s taste, budget, and other furnishings.

Patrik is styled interestingly, but uncomfortable and significantly more expensive than the Poang. I doubt that there is anything resembling real wood in the frame. Only available in two colors, and at one price level.

While there are a few exceptions to either broad generalization, there are many other examples of how design has taken a back seat to good design at Ikea.

Is it better than what’s available at walmart? Yes! But compared to what Ikea was and now is, it makes me very sad. Worse is how many people who seem to simply buy into the hype.

Look without simply blindly believing that this is good design, and judge for yourself. If you like what you see, feel, and pay for, then that is a successful design. For me, I’m looking elsewhere.

that should say " there are many other examples of how design has taken a back seat to cost at Ikea"…

but you knew that

ikea stuff is not that cheap when you think of what it’s made of. Also, some of their higher priced items like couches and tables may be slightly better quality than their lower priced stuff, the products are almost as expensive as furniture elsewhere.

Also, their kitchen cabinets, all press board, are no cheaper than cabinets bought elsewhere such as a big box store like low’s or home depot. or, for that matter, even some private dealers.

the value LOOKS like it’s there, but in the end, it’s not.

good design should balance price and value. PERIOD

I would like to add to this topic that the owner of IKEA is the richest man in the world (it is not Bill Gates) IKEA is 1 of his many businesses.

And to those complaining about design that lasts, face it we live in a consumer society, we use things and give them away, toss em out with no regret or remorse only to buy the exact same thing and do it over again…

Also, what about Planned Obsolescence… you cant expect a table to last forever, then how the hell will IKEA make more money??? the same reason why you buy a car and then 1 year later there is a new model released… or in any case mostly every product out there goes through a redesign or a complete rework.

Ikea is cool…I like going to their scrap sale…you can buy…dismembered pieces for cents on the dollar… and build your own custom designs…

in furniture, i find those who criticize it never had to design it beyond the sketchpad.

look into how many furniture manufacturers have closed in the past 5-10 years. most of these built high-quality “real-wood” products.

now, look at the design style ikea employs. look at the prices of “real wood” examples in a similar style in, say, DWR.

it’s not designed or engineered to last, as someone mentioned.

i bought all my eames furniture at a rate when i worked for HM. no way in HELL i would have bought it at full retail. same goes for my 7’ full-grain leather tuxedo sofa with a full screwed and glues frame. i bought it after spring market in Highpoint for 25% of what it retails for because i can’t afford to buy the good stuff new. it was a display sample in the manufacturer’s showroom.

do i own ikea stuff? yep. do i like it, sure. will it last? so far so good, 2 moves later all is well. want to make it last? keep the intructions. if you move disassemble it first.

i don’t know about furniture but are there similarly minded alternatives to IKEA? there’s no ikea place where i live, although it’s no biggie since i’m not really above walmart or target. i could sleep on the floor and still be happy.

I read an interesting (cannot remember where) lately about the polarization of “good design” referring to the formal design qualities. It was talking about how you have either IKEA and Target (both well represented on my discover statement lately) or DWR and others. (Minneapolis has a DWR store that we stood in front of name dropping like in my history of ID class, we’re too poor to enter at the moment) anyway the point was there is less and less in the middle.

As far as IKEA shying away from “good design” I of course don’t need to remind us who puts the industrial in ID. One thing I’m really impressed with this week is IKEAs attention to shipping and manufacturing. the less glamorous areas of ID. not all of IKEAs crap is… well crap, some of the savings comes from cheap shipping (I’m not affiliated with IKEA even though it may sound that way right now)

I do think they could use the sunflower husk mdf instead of the wood chip since its more green. And when I brought my girlfriends desk home the other day I did wish it was laminated birch plywood instead of mdf because mdf is ridiculously heavy.

Article reference for the Polarisation of design here

Taken from a core77 blog:

I do make an IKEA trip now and again, and I can see why its so popular, low price, walk out with the furniture in hand, lots of choice…just like a supermarket really.

I’m moving towards more junk shop purchasing, far more greener, and reasonably low price but higher quality…while 2n hand furniture has a bit more character. I wonder what will happen in the future when all the junk shops are full of IKEA stuff no one wants?

The junk shop is usually a good choice, if you intend upon slicing and dicing the furniture you get there and adding a fresh coat of paint. And the character element cannot be denied, I recently took an old dresser (not antique, but just old and in the style of the strip mall oak store) and cut it apart and screwed it back together with new paint. I intended on cutting the drawer fronts off and replacing them with flat pannels but the gf seems to like the old fronts on the new minimalist looking dresser. aside from paint and new pulls she seems happy.

maybe ikea will secretly open a chain of goodwill stores and then stores like urban outfitters can charge double the price for furniture we passed up ten years ago at ikea.

ikea has some OK, but you do get what you pay for. as is likely every design student, i have had my far share of stuff, but most gets tossed after while when the finishes wear off and the assembly get wonky. good value for storage though in some of their bookcases.

for me, i prefer to vintage if possible. have a big collection of eames, knoll, herman miller i scored for less then the price of ikea, and will last pretty much forever. used to scour the local salvation army/goodwil thrift shops almost daily while in university an made some good score. another good tip is to check out any used office furniture reseller. sometimes can get a good deal on quality desks, chairs.

as for ikea ending up in junk shops, i’d say it usually doesnt make it that far. quick to the curb and short lifespan pretty much sums up ikea.

nowadays, i find my going to ikea, and liking the stuff in the catalog, but cant justify buying something i know will be garbage so quick. always going to ikea and walking out empty handed. i’d rather pay 3x more knowing it will last 10x longer, than buying cheap and temporary. but maybe thats just me.

interesting that (at least that i know of) in north america there arent more lower cost good design, better quality design options. while living in denmark, there were a few that came in a little higher priced than ikea, but well worth it. less particle board, more wood, better fasteners etc. check out bolia.com and boconcept.dk

also would be great to get muji over here. super japanese ikea stuff. heard they may be coming to NYC…