IKEA is, at its core, collaborative. Be it suppliers or consumers, everyone is invited to join in. Collaboration happens when customers assemble furniture at home, and when creatives like Virgil Abloh and Olafur Eliason develop new products together with IKEA. This film takes a deep dive into the creative process of collaboration, and how IKEA strives to find the right people to seek out the right solutions to everyday challenges.
Swedish manufacturers did not have the capacity to meet Ingvar Kamprad’s demand. And a lot of the Swedish suppliers were also boycotting IKEA. So Ingvar decided to look for suppliers beyond Sweden. He had already begun working with Danish designers and manufacturers, but now it was time to turn towards Poland.
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.
Everything falls apart
Before 1989, production behind the Iron Curtain was a cornerstone of the long-term purchasing strategy at IKEA. Ingvar Kamprad came here back in the 1960s when he was boycotted by furniture makers and the sector as a whole in Sweden. Planned economies like Poland had raw materials at low prices, as well as state-owned factories with great capacity and a need to do business with the West, as eastern currencies could not be used in the West or exchanged for dollars. IKEA made major investments in run-down factories, installed machinery and spare parts, and built up skills. So what happened when the Iron Curtain suddenly fell?
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.
Ingvar Kamprad loved mistakes, as long as you learnt something and didn’t make them again. “It must be allowed to make mistakes. It is always the mediocre people who are negative, who spend their time proving that they were not wrong,” he wrote in The Testament of a Furniture Dealer in 1976. The way Ingvar saw it, the fear of making mistakes was “the enemy of development” and “the root of bureaucracy”.
Ingvar in Milan
Ingvar Kamprad started to explore new supplier markets around the world for IKEA at an early stage. In 1960 he went to Milan for the first time to visit the big Triennale exposition.
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.