Tuesday, 27 August 2013

They did it!

In December 2010 I sent this fake ad for IKEA to Marianne Barner, IKEA's senior advisor for sustainability.

My IKEA ad for sustainable shelters designed by IKEA for displaced communities. December 2010

No response from Mrs. Barner. However today, I just came across this remarkably similar ad in the latest 2014 IKEA catalogue.

IKEA's UNHCR emergency shelter project ad in the 2014 IKEA catalogue

Amazingly, they have done it! They even have a prototype ready to go. They have put some swedish designers to the monumental task of creating the perfect shelter. Also equally amazing, they have realized that these temporary shelters are actually not so temporary any more, and that people end up living in refugee camps for an average of 12 years.

What a perfect match. This is IKEA's market stretched to the extreme. DYI constructed design for small spaces on a tight budget. They claim that they can make "any space beautiful," well this is the ultimate challenge for that theory.

The video discussing IKEAs UNHCR is actually quite engaging. They demonstrate the lack of innovation in the emergency shelter market. I could not agree more. Seriously, this is 2013. Such a large portion of the world's population should not be living in tents. It's crazy to me. In fact, I believe this could actually be a profitable endeavour for IKEA. Highly efficient, and highly populated refugee camps could turn into wonderful and active communities, prototypes for communities of the future. Shelters, housing and urban development could turn out to be more profitable for IKEA than furniture ever was.

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