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IKEA Taste Affordable and Simple
This bookshelf fits into a box which can be brought onto a bus and takes say, 20 minutes to put together. Its maker, IKEA, revolutionized the look of young people's interiors with inexpensive furniture like this. But success is followed by imitation and competition. This is how IKEA plans to fight back, using design as its weapon of choice. Trolleys rallying down aisles, interminable checkout queues, and flat-topped boxes crammed to the ceiling, this is IKEA. The Swedish do-it-yourself chain is basically a furniture supermarket. Instead of shopping for tuna in a tin, think bookshelf in a box. It's all part of the company's utilitarian philosophy, bring design to the masses.
LARS ENGMAN, DESIGN DIRECTOR IKEA
We are talking about democratic design, and that means form and function at an affordable price. That's the general philosophy of IKEA.
Affordable and simple. IKEA hands the screwdriver over to the customer. Founded in 1943 by Ingrod Humfrod, the company rapidly became the preferred interior outfitter for students, ingles and young families. Annual sales now exceed six billion dollars. But after three years of 20% growth, these annual increases are diminishing. In 2(s) 002, the company is expected to expand by only 5%.
All the sort of classic department stores are desperate to break into that area, and are doing it in a much much more imaginative way.
The company started to work together with designers in the beginning of the 50s, and they had talked so much about it, like we're doing today.
IKEA's new PS range, taking the furniture supermarket, up-market.
MARIA VINKA, DESIGNER, IKEA
The PS range is a range that's supposed to be a little more edgy, a little bit more designer focused. And as IKEA wants to push more on the designers, this collection is quite important for them.
And IKEA hopes the PS range will distinguish it from its competitors and imitators, both aesthetically and financially.
MONIKA MULDER, DESIGNER, IKEA
Customers have to pay sometimes 30% of the price on product transport. So I said to the product developer, if you have a water can you put it in your box, it takes a lot of space. So I said why don't we have a stackable water can, and she said you make one.
Their proposition clearly is simplicity and good value and very good design. Now, in order to enhance their design credentials all the time, it's quite important to keep on bringing new evidence of that. And clearly, you know, hero-izing their designers a bit will be no bad thing.
But the PS line is not expected to reassemble the company's profitability as quickly as one of its bookshelves. Many say IKEA's long-term success still depends on following its founding principles. Design married to function and affordability.