Mia Lundström speaks in a calm and humble way with a just a hint of a Swedish accent. As creative director of Home Furnishings at IKEA of Sweden, Lundström has the seemingly overwhelming task of trying to figure out how people across the globe, will evolve their living spaces and what they will need to do it. IKEA’s product offer and reach are staggering to think about. Last year the company developed more than 2,000 new products and had over 690 million shoppers visit one of their stores.
For Aftertaste 2013, Parsons The School For Design invited Lundström to speak about how IKEA approaches design with a global market in mind. She offers a unique behind the scenes view of how the development process at IKEA works and speaks candidly about issues that still needing attention. Here’s a few highlights from the talk including a leak about an upcoming line:
- At their headquarters in Älmhult, Sweden Ikea only employs 16 full-time designers. The company uses about 100 freelance designers for work on individual items or collections.
- Home Creativity — Ikea is working on new products to encourage personalization by users.
- Multitasking for furniture pieces — inspired by how consumer electronics have merged functions eg. smartphone = phone + computer + camera. New furniture pieces will offer combined functions of older separate ones.
- IKEA will soon open their first stores in India. New international markets like this one could inspire a more region specific product mix rather than the universal catalog currently offered.
- Ping-Pong is the name leaked for a new collection which will be announced in the spring of 2013 (Milan Furniture Fair?) – it is a collection developed through a collaboration between Swedish and Chinese designers and will feature aesthetics from the two cultures blended together.
You can watch Mia Lundström’s entire presentation here: