Ikea Is Turning Its Very First Store Into a Museum

In addition to the obvious—meatballs, for most of us—there are many joys inherent in an afternoon pilgrimage to an Ikea showroom, not least of which is sitting on, reclining over, picking up, and/or putting down every damn thing you wander past in the cheery furniture labyrinth. Now the Swedish superstore wants to open a museum—does that mean visitors will suddenly be bound to the ol' look-but-do-not-touch decree?

The Guardian is reporting that the company is planning to build the new tourist attraction on the site of its original retail outpost in Älmhult. Details are scarce about the actual layout (or whether the architecture will arrive flat-packed on-site), but the concept is interesting. Ikea actually already does a decent job of offering a glimpse of creative context and a touch of manufacturing background at each of their blue-and-yellow behemoths, what with signage throughout featuring designers explaining their process and those mesmerizing chair-testing machines dotted around the aisles.

Ikea, of course, isn't just a major player in the design industry (for better or worse); at present it uses a full one percent—17.8 million cubic yards!—of the world's wood supply. There's no denying its impact, both cultural and material. And rather than (or in addition to) providing a place to nab inexpensive knock-offs, the past few years have seen the brand steer towards original pieces by burgeoning industry talent, shaking things up with the young-and-hip-skewed PS collections.

Whether Ikea will take the same approach as Vitra's impeccable Design Museum, or take a page from the V&A's "rapid response" book by highlighting pop ephemera like Katy Perry-approved false eyelashes and a pair of cheapie Primark jeans, remains to be seen. Would you book a trip to check it out? [The Guardian]

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