The Design Democracy

by Peace Chiu on Aug 11, 2015 in Lifestyle
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Ikea’s head of design, Marcus Engman was one of the speakers at Hong Kong’s Business of Design Week 2014

Ikea’s head of design, Marcus Engman was one of the speakers at Hong Kong’s Business of Design Week 2014

For Swedish furniture brand Ikea, it is not just about making things, it's about creating "better everyday life for the people," says the company's head of design Marcus Engman

Swedish furniture brand Ikea is known for its modern Scandinavian design, functionality and reasonable prices, making it one of the most popular furniture makers in the world — as of last year, Ikea owns and operates 351 stores in 46 countries.

Central to Ikea's beliefs is the philosophy of 'democratic design', exemplified by the brand's furniture which can now charge up devices

According to the company's head of design, Marcus Engman, the first step to any type of development Ikea does is to know the lives of its customers by doing research such as home visits and meeting people. This study, compiled into the Life at Home Report, takes the research team as far afield as Paris, Moscow, London, Shanghai, New York, Berlin, Stockholm and Mumbai to explore people's daily behaviours with a view to creating products that enhance their lives. "We need to use the collective brains of the people," Engman says, "as we are not smart enough within Ikea. We become so much smarter if we work together with the whole world out there”

On Engman's trip to Hong Kong for last year's Business of Design Week, he visited two apartments in Kowloon to experience first-hand the living conditions in the congested city. Some of the issues he identified included the difficulties in doing laundry, having a proper kitchen and dining in a limited space.

This is a preview of the “The Design Democracy" article from the August 2015 issue of Perspective magazine.

To continue reading, get your copy of Perspective.

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