Learning about IKEA

I have written a number of posts about place and space in this blog.

I am always on the lookout for stories about novel ideas.

This week I was delighted to listen to Lauren Collins talking with Phillip Adams about IKEA.

Lauren wrote about IKEA in a twelve-page article (House Perfect) in The New Yorker in October. Her full article is located behind a paywall but her interview with Phillip explores here research about IKEA.

I noted:

  • IKEA is the invisible designer of domestic life, not only reflecting but also molding, in its ubiquity, our routines and our attitudes.
  • IKEA products are intended to work as well in Riyadh as they do in Reykjavík.
  • As reading material, the IKEA catalogue is only slightly less popular than Harry Potter.
  • The Main Aisle is supposed to curve every fifty feet or so, to keep the customer interested. A path that is straight for any longer than that is called an Autobahn.
Lauren’s New Yorker article attracted a lot of attention and her interview covers some of the issues about probity in IKEA’s ethos.
However my interest in Lauren’s observations is in IKEA’s fabrication of space and the positioning of choice. I was wondering what might happen if we used some of the design ideas for learners rather than consumers.
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