IKEA is more than just a furniture retailer. It is a global phenomenon that has influenced millions of homes and lifestyles around the world. But how did it all start? And what are the secrets behind its success?
To find out, you can visit the IKEA Museum in Älmhult, Sweden, where the company was founded in 1943 by Ingvar Kamprad. The museum is located in the original IKEA store, which opened in 1958 and closed in 2012. It was renovated and reopened as a museum in 2016, with the aim of telling the story of IKEA and its vision of creating a better everyday life for many people.
The museum features three permanent exhibitions and two temporary ones, covering different aspects of IKEA's history, design, and culture. Here are some of the highlights you can expect to see:
The Story of IKEA
This exhibition takes you on a chronological journey through IKEA's evolution, from its humble beginnings as a mail-order business selling household goods to its expansion into furniture and home accessories to its global presence and impact today. You can learn about the key events, innovations, and challenges that shaped IKEA's identity and values, as well as the people who made it happen.
You can also see some of the most iconic and popular IKEA products from different decades, such as the KLIPPAN sofa, the BILLY bookcase, and the POÄNG chair. You can also discover some of the lesser-known or discontinued products, such as the LÖVET table, which was the first flat-pack furniture item, or the FÄRGRIK mug, which was sold in more than 100 million units.
IKEA Through the Ages
This exhibition showcases how IKEA has responded to its customer's changing needs and preferences over time by adapting its products and solutions to different lifestyles, trends, and markets. You can explore how IKEA has catered to various segments of society, such as students, families, urban dwellers, or seniors, and how it has addressed social and environmental issues, such as diversity, sustainability, or affordability.
You can also see how IKEA has collaborated with famous designers, artists, and celebrities, such as Virgil Abloh, Ilse Crawford, and Beyoncé, to create unique collections that reflect their style and vision. You can also learn about some of the research and development projects that IKEA is working on for the future, such as smart home technology, circular economy, or urban farming.
This exhibition is a tribute to Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA, who passed away in 2018 at the age of 91. It features a selection of personal items, letters, photos, and videos that reveal his personality, values, and legacy. You can get a glimpse into his childhood, his family life, his hobbies, and his philanthropy. You can also hear some of his famous quotes and anecdotes that illustrate his wisdom and humor.
The exhibition also invites you to share your own memories and messages for Ingvar Kamprad by writing them on a postcard and posting them on a wall. You can also read what other visitors have written and see how Ingvar Kamprad touched the lives of many people around the world.
Us & Our Planet
This exhibition explores how IKEA is committed to becoming more sustainable and responsible in its business operations and practices. It showcases some of the initiatives and achievements that IKEA has made in reducing its environmental impact and improving its social impact. For example, you can see how IKEA has switched to renewable energy sources, recycled materials, or organic cotton for its products. You can also see how IKEA has supported various causes and communities through its foundation and partnerships.
The exhibition also challenges you to think about your own role and responsibility in creating a better future for yourself and others. You can take part in interactive activities and quizzes that test your knowledge and awareness of sustainability issues. You can also get inspired by some tips and ideas on how you can make more sustainable choices at home.
Existence Maximum – big ideas for small spaces
This exhibition showcases some of the creative and innovative solutions that IKEA has developed for small-space living. It features four scenarios that represent common challenges faced by people living in limited spaces: a studio apartment for one person; a shared apartment for two friends; a family apartment for four people; and a multi-functional space for work and leisure.
Each scenario demonstrates how IKEA products and solutions can help optimize space utilization, storage capacity, functionality, comfort, and style. You can see how IKEA uses modular systems, flexible furniture pieces, or smart accessories to create adaptable spaces that suit different needs and activities. You can also get inspired by some hacks or DIY projects that add personality or functionality to your space.