Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday's Architecture Moment: How IKEA Works

This weekend, I made a pilgrimage from my home in Lexington to the IKEA in Cincinnati. Five hours, five-hundred dollars, and five unintended purchases later, I was back home.  I really love IKEA. L-O-V-E.  I want to die by being buried alive under a pile of Ritvas, Bomulls, and Erslevs.   Occasionally, however, I'm hesitant to venture into the store because I always spend more money than I intend.

It seems I'm not the only one who has this problem.  Professor Alan Penn of the Bartlett School of Architecture recently gave a lecture that describes how architects use space to sell us things.  Penn argues that IKEA has mastered the age-old art of getting customers to buy things that aren't on their shopping lists.  The full lecture is below.  All of it is interesting - but if you're only intrigued by the IKEA stuff then watch the first 50 seconds, and then from 24:20 to 32:40.


Steve Clowney

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I find I have a complicated relationship with IKEA. I love the idea of IKEA, but I find the reality miserable. But I love the idea so much that after sufficient time away from the reality, I convince myself my experience of the reality of IKEA was abnormal, so I return -- and find myself miserable.

Posted by: Mark A. Edwards | Apr 16, 2011 11:55:56 AM

I should have added that I was typing that comment from my Poang chair.

Posted by: Mark A. Edwards | Apr 16, 2011 1:26:38 PM

Thanks Steve for the post.

Prof Penn has some incredible insight into how the store uses design and their property to affect the shopping experiences of its customers. I personally don't shop at IKEA religiously but I get the hype. I love the maps about land use based on mobility and accessibility---both things I think IKEA has mastered.

What do you think?


Posted by: Michael | Apr 22, 2011 8:10:25 AM

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