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IKEA Opens Digital Museum Where Departed Catalogs & Iconic Designs Live
By Mikelle Leow, 24 Sep 2021
Image via Inter IKEA System B.V. 2020
When IKEA sunsetted its signature annual catalogs, it predictably caused an uproar. “It’s a big chunk of IKEA’s culture; what was it thinking?” was the question that ran through the heads of many. Well, it turns out that the company is thriving post-catalogs; not only is it refocusing its energy on making creative instruction manuals, but it’s also extending the lifespan of furniture by fighting to keep products off landfills. And, most recently, the Swedish furniture giant hosted the first-ever IKEA Festival, a global, full-day event that anyone could attend to connect with others and to gain home inspiration.
The virtual era has driven the brand to thrust its business model online, and it has taken up the challenge in unexpected ways. The latest move sees the company expanding the IKEA Museum in Älmhult, Sweden, into the digital realm, giving us IKEA Museum Digital.
The company details in a news release that the digital museum is “the most extensive online source of knowledge and facts about the Swedish home furnishing brand.” Here, guests can flip through seven decades of IKEA catalogs, explore over 100 stories about founder Ingvar Kamprad, as well as discover the brand’s most iconic designs since the 1940s.
Founder Ingvar Kamprad with the OGLAN chair, photographed in 1965. Image via Inter IKEA System B.V. 2020
IKEA’s inner workings are told through the diverse perspectives of the people who helped assemble its growth, along with historical documents, movies, and artifacts. Some of these—including its failures—“have never been shared publicly before,” says Jutta Viheriä, Strategic Initiatives Leader at the IKEA Museum. “We have done our best to tell it like it was.”
The platform is “a true wonderland for everyone who’s just remotely interested in design and product development,” IKEA describes in its announcement on Instagram.
Moving its museum to a 24/7 destination accessible by all, IKEA’s archival collection can be found online and viewed in English and Swedish.
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