The new wardrobe

The past 5 years I have been greeted with the thought of having to get a bigger wardrobe every time I look at my wardrobe. I have been stressing over and over that I needed a need wardrobe to many.

It just occurred to me one day, a fine 16 May 2012, that I should execute this — get a wardrobe and probably rid the bed I don’t like to look at. I wasn’t acting transgressive enough when it comes to ridding a bed that is working well.

It came to me that every morning I keep telling myself the same thing again: get a new wardrobe; get a new bed. All these moments I spent having that thought would, by now, gather to be several hours. It bothers me so much apparently that I encounter much displeasure just opening the wardrobe door. I dislike the way it creeks, I dislike the wood pattern, I dislike the way the cupboard doors don’t align right when it was shut. I started picking more and more things and I realized I have no way out but to get a new one and rid the old.

So on 16 May 2012, I went to Ikea.

I am liberated.

Unboxing Microsoft Surface

This is quite interesting, Amnesia Group did an unboxing of Microsoft iTable Surface. As we all don’t already know, Amnesia Group is a subsidiary of Avenue A Razorfish, which in turn is a subsidiary of aQuantive, which was acquired by Microsoft about a year ago.

Microsoft Surface unboxed

The multi-touch enabled table comes with niceties like demos, instruction manuals and a giant zip lock bag you probably can put your friend into.

Read more at Amnesia Group. [via Long Zheng]

IKEA is the world’s largest charity

I didn’t know IKEA is perceived as a charity. Interesting.

Is IKEA the World’s Largest Charity?

IKEA’s technically a charity. But before you write down the umlaut-riddled name of your most recent dresser purchase as a charitable donation on your next tax return, it’s worth exploring this ownership structure, which was brought to light by a 2006 article in The Economist.

Ingvar Kamprad founded IKEA in Almhult, Sweden in 1943 when he was just 17 years old. Kamprad originally sold low-priced consumer goods from his home and by mail, but added a furniture line in 1948. As the company began opening its trademark sprawling stores, Kamprad grew fabulously wealthy, although he retained frugal tastes like driving an aging Volvo and always flying economy class. By some debated estimates, Kamprad is the world’s richest man, and even Forbes’ more conservative accounting pegs him as the seventh-richest person in the world with a net worth in the neighborhood of $31 billion.

Why can’t anyone agree on how much Kamprad’s worth? Well, for one he doesn’t technically own IKEA anymore. In 1982, his ownership stake in the company was given to the newly formed Stichting Ingka Foundation, a Dutch charity. The foundation in turn administers the stores through Ingka Holdings, a wholly owned subsidiary that operates as a for-profit company.

It would seem that the entire charitable foundation is a clever, if dubious, way for IKEA to avoid paying taxes. In 2004, the company pulled in a 1.4 billion euro profit, but since it’s owned by a tax-exempt charity, it didn’t pay a dime. (Source: mental floss blog)

I still like IKEA though. Probably not the corporate side anymore but they make nice furniture.

How does IKEA design their products

Well, if you have the time, you can read the following. It’s very interesting to me – the way IKEA place effort in their design process and tweaking their designs to achieve greater cost savings.

“When we decide about a product, we always start with the price,” Deboehmler said. “Then, what is the consumer need?”

“When we start in the development process, we say we’d like to have a cabinet to hold a large screen TV that’s 42 inches, and priced out to come in at X dollars,” Marston said. “OK, now we’ve said we want it to retail at $500, arbitrarily. What can you make, what can you design, to make it at that price?”

From the beginning of the process, a variety of people get involved. Those include field technicians who are able to see what’s needed in the creation of a new product and determine if Ikea has already designed something similar that can be mined for parts or design inspiration.

Another example is a packaging technician.

“They’re always part of the team from way at the beginning, when the product is designed,” Deboehmler said. “We always have to find the smartest way to do something so that it can be flat-packed and minimize waste of space when transporting.”

With the Lillberg chair, the idea was to build a prototype at the factory–which the team did–and then to see what they had on their hands.

“After many, many days of trials, we thought we had it right,” Deboehmler said. “‘OK, this is the product.’ Our designer was on his hands and knees. Then we got it back to (Ikea headquarters in) Sweden and started taking it apart again, and decided we can make it better because we can fit more in the package if we changed the arm direction.”

By making a small tweak in the angle of the chair’s arm, she elaborated, the designers and packaging technician figured out they could get more of the chairs in a single shipping container, and that, in the end, meant a lower cost to the consumer.

“The arm (change) meant huge savings,” she said. Continue reading “How does IKEA design their products”