Arriving at Älmhult in Sweden for IKEA’s Democratric Design Day’s 2019 the essence of what IKEA stood for was all around, from the greeting at the Hotel as we checked in to the organisation and layout of the event as we moved from section to section. It was designed to Inspire, Emote and Represent what Democratic Design and its Philosophy’s stood for.
Lets start with the Five dimensions of Democratic Design, and what they stand for and how they flow back to everything that IKEA designs and produces.
1.Form – IKEA focuses on form because they want the form to contribute to making everyday life a little bit more joyful and beautiful.
2. Function – Function means that the product meets all the needs of everyday life, that it meets the task it was designed and makes life just that little bit easier.
3. Quality – Quality means that IKEA’s products last over time, they can re-used in different areas around the house, handed down to friends and family or move with you from place to place.
4. Low Price – The the low price makes the product more accessible to more people, and because of the different price levels IKEA is accesible from when you first move out of home to when you’re creating a space for your growing family.
5. Sustainability – Lastly, and the most recent addition to their Democratic Design Philosophy is sustainability, this is about much more than just the choice of material or how something is manufactured. They want to take long-term responsibility all the way from how they source the material, to the people who are producing it, and all the way on to the customer.
IKEA’s idea’s about Democratic Design is rooted very much in their tradition of functionalism and humanism, with a touch of playful attitude towards the challenges they face. Their product developers and designers have to find the right balance of all these elements when the design process begins, and is a challenge that keeps them constantly innovativing.
It is very much also a challenge that the IKEA team take on as a whole, quite early on in the design phase, their product developers and designers work with a diverse team of technicians, manufacturers and specialists – often right on the factory floor. This special partnership with their suppliers helps keep their prices low and find the latest techniques to create products the IKEA way.
So the next time you serve up a delish meal on your IKEA serving ware, lounge on your IKEA couch, doze off in your IKEA bed or get creative on your IKEA work desk, you might look at IKEA products in a different way, it’s most definitely more then just a product it’s Democratic Design.
Words by Editor Arrnott Olssen