IKEA is your home’s best friend from Sweden, and sometimes your wallet’s and your partner’s worst nightmare (how many of you have had long, loud arguments inside of an IKEA store about a specific lamp or whatever?)
The Scandinavian, flat-pack, bargain-basement, meatball serving furniture store has been with us for a long time, since the mid 60s.
Take a look at some of their vintage catalogs.
Ingvar Kamprad founded Ikea in 1943 as a mostly mail-order sales business. It began to sell furniture five years later. The first Möbel-IKÉA store was opened in Älmhult, Småland, in 1958, while the first stores outside Sweden were opened in Norway (1963) and Denmark (1969). The stores spread to other parts of Europe in the 1970s, with the first store outsideScandinavia opening in Switzerland (1973), followed by West Germany (1974).
Amid a high level of success, the company’s West German executives accidentally opened a store in Konstanz in 1973 instead of Koblenz. Later that decade, stores opened in other parts of the world, such as Japan (1974), Australia, Canada, and Hong Kong (1975), and Singapore (1978). Ikea further expanded in the 1980s, opening stores in countries such as France and Spain (1981), Belgium (1984), the United States (1985), the United Kingdom (1987), Italy (1989). The company then expanded into more countries in the 1990s and 2000s. Germany, with 50 stores, is Ikea ‘s biggest market, followed by the United States, with 42 stores. At the end of the 2009 financial year, the Ikea group operated 267 stores in 25 countries.The first Ikea store in Latin America opened on 17 February 2010 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.As of July 2013, the company’s presence in developing countries remains minimal.
The largest store in the Southern Hemisphere is located in Tempe, Sydney, Australia with a total area of 39,000 m2 (420,000 sq ft). The biggest store in North America is located in Montreal, in the province of Quebec, Canada. The store was opened in 1986 in the Ville-St-Laurent area, and was completely renovated and expanded in 2012-2013. Built in 1986, the store’s initial area was 22,062 m2 (237,470 sq ft), while the renovated store now measures 43,636 m2 (469,690 sq ft).
Older Ikea stores are usually blue buildings with yellow accents (also Sweden’s national colours) and few windows. They are often designed in a one-way layout, leading customers counter clockwise along what Ikea calls “the long natural way” designed to encourage the customer to see the store in its entirety (as opposed to a traditional retail store, which allows a customer to go directly to the section where the desired goods and services are displayed). There are often shortcuts to other parts of the showroom. Newer Ikea stores, like the one in Mönchengladbach, Germany, make more use of glass, both for aesthetics and functionality. Skylights are also now common in the self-serve warehouses; natural lighting reduces energy costs, improves worker morale and gives a better impression of the products.
Today, most stores follow the same layout of having the showroom upstairs with the marketplace and self-service warehouse downstairs. Some stores are single level, while others have separate warehouses to allow more stock to be kept on-site. Single-level stores are found predominantly in areas where the cost of land would be less than the cost of building a 2-level store, such as theSaarlouis, Germany and Haparanda, Sweden locations. Some stores have dual-level warehouses with machine-controlled silos to allow large quantities of stock to be accessed throughout the selling day.
All photos found:Home Designing