What do you do if you are told to do the impossible? Say no? Well, in this particular case it wasn’t an option for Paulina Pajak. She is a Product Developer in the Lighting department, which develops the global IKEA product range. The person looking for the impossible was IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad, who walked into the department and said: “We’re going to sell LED bulbs for less than one euro.”
Booming stock markets, shoulder pads and postmodern design. The 1980s were about equal parts decadence and optimism. For IKEA it was a challenging decade, with both expansion and a quest for an identity. Could steel wire furniture be part of the answer?
Design by IKEA of Sweden
Ideas for IKEA products are always inspired by needs and dreams in people’s lives at home. In this film, two generations of IKEA people tell the story of working towards fulfilling those aspirations. It’s about finding the best and most cost-effective solution, guided by all the different dimensions of Democratic Design – form, function, quality, sustainability, and low price.
Do you speak hot dog?
How many brilliant ideas can you get thinking about a hot dog? Quite a lot as it turns out. In the mid-1990s, IKEA realised that the hot dog was a great symbol for good quality at a low price. That may be a lot to expect from a humble sausage, but it became an important piece of the puzzle in thinking freely and innovatively when it came to product development. But let’s start at the beginning, when a hot dog was just a simple hot dog.
IKEA didn’t come up with the idea of packing and shipping furniture in flatpacks. But it was they who made it the linchpin of a revolutionary business model.
Good for the forest
On how IKEA, as a large actor in the timber industry, strives for responsible forest management in joint efforts with WWF and others, for people and the planet.
Made of wood
The story of IKEA is the story of wooden materials. And the story of wood is also a story about gaining the advantage. Find out how IKEA went from traditional hardwood furniture, to utilising everything from pine to bamboo and recycled wood. Always in close collaboration with suppliers and designers, in order to make the most from the least.
Go back in time and explore the origins of IKEA and Ingvar Kamprad. Hardship, thrift and ingenuity in Småland, Sweden, and visions of a new life at home for the many people. Simple, functional and beautiful.
In September 1964, a sensational article was published in a Swedish interior design magazine, claiming that a 33 kronor (EUR 3.30) chair from IKEA was better than a virtually identical chair that cost five times as much. IKEA was delighted, but the rest of the furniture industry was furious and threatened to boycott the magazine.
Both the flat pack and the Allen key are important features of the quite revolutionary idea of working together with your customers. Intelligent people who realise that if they help out a bit at the end of a long production and distribution process, they can only win. They get a sustainably produced piece of furniture with good function, quality and design, at a really low price. But what’s the catch? Well, you probably know the answer already.
The chaotic ’10s
In a world of urbanisation and housing shortages, financial worries and rising nationalism, IKEA intensifies its efforts to contribute to global sustainability for people and planet.
The digital ’00s
An era of new challenges and innovation for the world and for IKEA. The climate crisis climbs high on the global agenda, and the digital revolution changes everything.
The individualistic ’80s
As the global recession subsides, luxury consumption makes a comeback. The IKEA product range gets lost in attempts to keep up with global trends and the IKEA identity becomes muddled.
The man who always says yes!
Jan Ahlsén worked as a developer of products and materials at IKEA for 40 years. Here he talks about his successes but mostly about his most exciting mistakes.
The political ’60s
The world is rocked by ideological conflict. In Sweden, social reforms improve living standards. A building boom creates a need for home furnishings and an IKEA flagship store opens in Stockholm.
The radical ’70s
A decade defined by political activism and discussion around consumerism. A good fit for the unpretentious style of IKEA. Despite the looming oil crisis, the great expansion begins.
The rocking ’50s
In the shadow of the Cold War, Sweden experiences a time of self-confidence and progress and Swedes have more money. IKEA opens home furnishing showrooms and what will become the first store in Älmhult.
The soul searching ’90s
The yuppie fades away and IKEA struggles with an identity crisis. It’s time to go back to the Scandinavian roots. While becoming a truly global brand, IKEA reclaims its soul.
The swinging ’40s
The war ends and neutral Sweden gets a head start, boosting its economy and sense of community. From playing shop as a small boy, Ingvar Kamprad founds IKEA and a new era is dawning.
The Wedge Dowel
Innovation is one of the most, or maybe the most important part of a company’s survival. The guts to question what everyone else happily agrees on is a must. And while doing that, you need to be pretty stubborn. As in this case. Ten years after the idea first came to mind, it is now considered by many to be one of the cleverest things IKEA ever came up with – the wedge dowel. A wooden peg that wedges into a milled hole.
Why is it called that?
IKEA product names can appear strange even to a Swede. Elsewhere in the world they’re virtually incomprehensible, but fun! Get the inside scoop on why IKEA products have such odd names, and learn about the intricate rules for naming them. Because there is a method to the madness.