Artists and Designers Set Up an Office Inside Ikea

Artists and Designers Set Up an Office Inside Ikea

Displaced creatives staging a protest find the perfect new studio space inside the furniture retailer.

Dave Pinter, PSFK
  • 2 december 2009

The Pop-Up reports on a growing frustration within the creative class in the city of Hamburg. The city has been aggressively marketing a total transformation of the traditional city into a modern metropolis. Redevelopment plans call for transforming older parts of the city into gentrified areas in hopes to make Hamburg a “world city”. Artists and creatives who currently call these places home and have studios there are beginning to feel shoved aside and worry they won’t be able to afford the New Hamburg. They are also upset that the city is promoting creatives as a means to spur development.

Recently a group of 130 artists, designers, architects, fashion designers and photographers from Hamburg got notice that the building they currently occupy is being demolished to make way for new development including an IKEA store. Not wanting to go quietly, a group of 50 mobilized and decided to temporarily move their studios inside an IKEA store in nearby Moorfleet to protest. Instruction were sent out via Facebook:

Bring your notebooks, use the IKEA products to visualize future work, make your business phone calls (there are plenty of little niches). Drink coffee in the restaurant until you drop. Just behave like ordinary people in IKEA. Organize in pairs, look for a place in the store, and begin to work. The protest action is a lesson about art, marketing, and consumption.

Pop-Up City speculates that IKEA must have gotten word of the plans prior to the creatives moving in. Security guards were cooperative and eventually IKEA started serving the workers coffee. The retailer while acting benevolent must have realized that being hospitable was a much better marketing position than to take a confrontational stance.





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