A couple weeks ago I was in Oslo, Norway, following up on an invitation to give a talk about IKEA Hacker there. It was an easy invitation to accept – for one, it was a great opportunity to spend some time in beautiful Oslo, and two, the evening was being sponsored by IKEA, which was a pleasant twist – to talk about Hacking IKEA at an IKEA sponsored event.
One particularly rewarding part of the evening came after the talk, when people were chilling with a few beers. At the periphery of the main seating area were some sample IKEA domestic showroom units still in place from their 2010 catalogue launch, which was held in the same venue. As people began to relax, talk and move around, they rather instinctively began using the mock units as domestic spaces. Conversations were held around kitchen tables (as above), couches were colonised by groups of friends having leisurely conversations – it was fascinating to see these showrooms come to life as people spread out and began using them for their intended “real world” function, set inside the usually make believe world of a showroom. If the stoves had have been hooked up, dinner definitely would have been in the cards. Did the IKEA Hacker spirit break down some barriers? Maybe, maybe not. But that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
It was a hugely enjoyable time both in and outside of the talk, getting to know Oslo more courtesy of event organiser Paul Amble who gave me a tour of his favourite parts of the city, and also being able to spend time with some great people at IKEA, including Design Director Lars Engsman. Many thanks to everyone at IKEA and in Oslo.