Will the IKEA Museum Be “Some Assembly Required?” Ode to Affordable Swedish Goods Opens in 2015

Posted by Rachel S on Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Original IKEA location in Sweden - soon will be a museum

IKEA – the home of mass produced meatballs and flatpacked furniture – is planning a museum in the location of its first store opened back in 1943 in Älmhult, Sweden. I am likely disproportionately excited by this announcement as I am an uber-fan of the bargain priced goods chain. I visited my first IKEA in Germany, outside of Frankfurt, and have been addicted since. I have planned sidelegs of vacations to swing by the blue and yellow behemoths on both coasts of the US, Canada and Europe.

Shopping with the kid at IKEA

I even flew 700 miles to my closest IKEA with three empty suitcases to outfit my toddler’s room when he finally outgrew his crib. I was nearly carted off by airport security when I tried to bring my lime green Balancekissen (see a red one below) on board as a carry-on. They were certain it was dangerous because it was inexplicable. On the upside, I didn’t need to use a hex key to assemble it before my son could play on it.

IKEA Balancekissen

And when an IKEA finally opened near me, I was one of the first DIY nerds in line to spend three hours perusing the catalog exhibits the store is famous for and fighting mile long lines. In fact, I had surgery just four days prior and was in agony the entire time, but couldn’t bear to miss out on it. I went home with a bag of meatballs, a tray of delectable cinnamon rolls, a baker’s dozen of new bar glasses and two loose stitches.

IKEA openings have spawned excitement for decades

With the addiction to the Swedish firm explained, you can understand my excitement at the announcement that there will be a museum dedicated to my favorite big box retail outlet. (Don’t expect similar enthusiasm when Wal-Mart launches a museum, but I could muster a smile for one dedicated to Target). IKEA was founded in 1943 by a 17 year old, which explains the dorm-like furniture designs and mandatory snack bar.

IKEA Inn near the soon to be built IKEA museum

Ingvar Kamprad launched the store in his hometown in southern Småland – which of course the kids’ in-store play place is named after. The I and K of the store name are from the founder’s initials, the E is for Elmtaryd (the farm he grew up on) and the A is for Agunnaryd, the town he grew up in. The iconic IKEA logo has been largely unchanged since its inception and, from the get-go, self assembly was a hallmark of the company which makes me wonder exactly what design elements the new museum will incorporate.

IKEA fine dining

There is already an exhibition hall attached to the original IKEA store that shows off 70-odd years of design, but now that the store moved its facility in 2012, the larger building will be transformed into a full-fledged museum with permanent and temporary exhibits. For those that want to make a weekend of it, there is an IKEA Inn at the site as well. I get chills thinking about that – I wonder if the rooms at the inn are remodeled each year when the eagerly anticipated new catalog comes out to reflect their latest goods. I also have to speculate that the meals at the Inn are affordable, tasty and served cafeteria style.

If IKEA designed more iconic tourist locales

The only design detail to be revealed so far is that there will be one exhibit area devoted to two of IKEA’s most popular and long-running items – the BILLY bookcase and the KLIPPAN sofa. I have one entire wall of white BILLYs that encapsulate my son’s growing LEGO, book and board game collection. They’ve set up a web page to invite IKEA fans to submit their photos and stories about their use of these two items in their home to inspire the exhibit. Click here to check this out and get involved.
image sources: youcarewhatwethink.blogspot.com, dornob.com, markt.de, IKEA.com, Fru-Form2.blogpost.com, MilleniumV.com, PamelaInAsia.wordpress.com

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