expedio design
IKEA – The Heart of Democratic Design

IKEA – The Heart of Democratic Design

by Expedio Design

Posted on February 04, 2018 at 04:57 AM

Photo Credit: The Vocket

Photo Credit: The Vocket

On the 27th January 2018, Ingvar Kamprad, passed away at the age of 91. Founded one of the world’s largest furniture store IKEA, revolutionizing the furniture market by introducing ‘flat-packing’; a concept of consumers purchasing furniture in pieces and assembling it themselves, with cost efficiency as the main reason to drive this concept to the masses. Known by his peers to be extremely frugal and down to earth, these traits have been strongly replicated in IKEA’s core identity being one of the top low-cost furniture brands in the world.

Ikea generally captures all the essence of Scandinavian design; being affordable, functional and overall every piece looks pretty good. This brings us in to IKEA’s key design principle known as Democratic Design. It is basically the heart of its every product made.

Consisting of 5 pillars; form, function, sustainability, quality and low price, is what makes its products a favourite in homes around the world. Quoted by IKEA Head of Design, Marcus Engman, “We want the form to contribute to making everyday life a little bit more joyful and beautiful. Function, means that the product meets all the needs of everyday life. Quality means that our product lasts over time. And the low price makes the product accessible to all the people. Lastly, sustainability is about much more than just the choice of material or how something is manufactured.” It basically comes down to allowing the masses to be able to afford and experience good design, and not just a selected few.

The term Democratic Design was introduced internally within IKEA’s group of designers in 1995, with sustainability and quality recently added. These pillars would drive the team of 20 designers into building IKEA’s products, while collaborating with a big team of product developers, roughly totalling up to 2000 individuals working on developing IKEA’s products with 1 design principle in mind. That is how some of their product series are able to last in the market for many years, to name a few here, LACK table series, KALLAX shelving series, POANG chair and last but not least the BILLY bookshelf series. These products are so common in many households, you just can’t miss spotting them.

It cannot be denied that IKEA have definitely changed the way people shop for furniture and home-ware products. The availability of good design at an affordable price not only is hard to resist, but also IKEA got consumers thinking on how good design can impact their everyday lives.

Being able to be constantly relevant to people’s life not only in terms of design and functionality but also in other aspects (which are constantly changing) will continue to bring people back into IKEA’s big blue stores. To sum this up, here’s a quote from the late Ingvar Kamprad, “What is good for our customers is also in the long run good for us.”




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