IKEA Temporary makes a lasting impression
Coinciding with the start of this year’s Salone del Mobile, IKEA Italy launched a six-month pop-up space in central Milan. Fittingly named IKEA Temporary, the project was focused on curiosity about food and life in and around the kitchen. The space officially opened on April 15th, 2015 and was presented in a beautiful art deco building on Via Vigevano in Milan’s Navigli neighbourhood. From that first day, people poured into the space, enjoying a coffee or beer in the courtyard before entering the exhibition. “The idea of a central location came up and it just seemed so much more interesting – to be in a place that is new and completely unexpected for IKEA customers,” says Mats Nilsson, Lead Interior Designer at IKEA Communication.
The Salone del Mobile is a key annual event in Europe for anyone involved in the furniture industry – from suppliers and big-name brands, to small start-ups, architects and designers. IKEA products have been present, on and off, at the Salone del Mobile for decades, with founder Ingvar Kamprad making his first visit in 1960. This year, the opportunity to bring the IKEA philosophy to an even larger audience materialised, as Milan played host for the 2015 World Expo. It provided an opportunity to talk to a vast audience (The Expo drew an extra 20 million visitors over a period of six months) about an issue close to our hearts for the 2016 business year – food.
The expo’s theme of “Feeding the planet, energy for life” was highlighted and reinforced by a fundamental concept for IKEA Temporary – to create a sustainable approach to cooking, preparation and dining.
“It was a great opportunity to showcase our vast knowledge and passion for cooking and eating, as well as energy saving and waste sorting,” says Lars Petersson, former country manager for IKEA Italy and current Manager for IKEAUS.
Visitors to IKEA Temporary were greeted with a huge banner that said, “Because we’re curious. Are you?” It was an invitation into a whole new world – a showcase of the IKEA offer in terms of products and solutions related to kitchens, as well as all aspects of food – from storing and preparing to serving and eating – and all the way to sort waste. Several well-known designers were invited to collaborate and create kitchen installations using the new METOD modular kitchen. “We didn’t want to deliver prefabricated answers, but rather open up a dialogue and see where that open approach would take us,” says Mats. Each designer reinterpreted the modular collection and offered considered designs to meet specific needs. Paola Navone from Italy reinterpreted the big and busy Italian kitchen, where entertaining and recreation were the main focus. Matali Crasset from France explored a young family kitchen, complete with a brightly coloured playhouse where children can have fun safely while their parents are cooking. Thomas Sandell, from our native Sweden, also collaborated with Studio Irvine to show an elegant kitchen made for a family in which one or more members are disabled, offering standing and sitting solutions for the cook. “The whole idea was to figure out some new things related to life in and around the kitchen,” says Mats.
IKEA organisations also collaborated with a group of design students from the Ingvar Kamprad Design Centre at Lund University and the Eindhoven University of Technology, as well as design firm IDEO to explore what our kitchen might look like in 2025. This interactive installation made us question how we will engage and interact in a kitchen and dining environment in 10 years’ time.
All of this focus on the kitchen wouldn’t be complete without the food. There were cook-alongs and food workshops, as well as an introduction to a few new products from IKEA Food – like Veggie Balls, which are packed with vitamin-rich vegetables and beans; and Fruit Water, which contains 50 percent less sugar than traditional soft drinks.
It’s all part of a commitment to health and wellness, something that’s increasingly on all of our minds.
This year’s theme, “It all starts with food” may have lasted just six months in Milan, but the sustainable and mindful concept will continue to grow in strength and substance for a much longer-lasting effect.