Behind the Scenes at IKEA

If you've ever dreamed of going behind-the-scenes at IKEA today is your lucky day. Last month, I travelled to the town of Almhult, Sweden for the company's Democratic Design days to get an understanding of how the company pulls off their well-designed, well-priced products.

This is the meeting place and cafeteria in the main design building. Surrounding this central space are design labs, workshops and offices where prototypes and upcoming product lines are worked on.

This is the meeting place and cafeteria in the main design building. Surrounding this central space are design labs, workshops and offices where prototypes and upcoming product lines are worked on.

While we were touring the building, a design charrette was taking place. Students and designers were trying to come up with ways to turn waste into something useful.

While we were touring the building, a design charrette was taking place. Students and designers were trying to come up with ways to turn waste into something useful.

In the upholstery section of the building, various chairs were being worked on.

In the upholstery section of the building, various chairs were being worked on.

Miniature chair models were on display along with photos of the design process in the PS 2016 booth.

Miniature chair models were on display along with photos of the design process in the PS 2016 booth.

In the wood workshop, I spied this curved, bentwood form which I imagine is a prototype for a daybed or sofa. I'll be keeping my eye out for this one when and if it hits stores.

In the wood workshop, I spied this curved, bentwood form which I imagine is a prototype for a daybed or sofa. I'll be keeping my eye out for this one when and if it hits stores.

In another building, five new kitchen displays were set up. My favourite was this one which featured a white-oak style cabinet front with a raised panel. It was showcased alongside Ilse Crawford's new line with IKEA.

In another building, five new kitchen displays were set up. My favourite was this one which featured a white-oak style cabinet front with a raised panel. It was showcased alongside Ilse Crawford's new line with IKEA.

In the adjoining dining room, Ilse Crawford's new products were on display. The wicker light fixtures, pitchers and plates are all part of her collaboration with IKEA. 

In the adjoining dining room, Ilse Crawford's new products were on display. The wicker light fixtures, pitchers and plates are all part of her collaboration with IKEA. 

Leather pull tabs seemed to have made their way to some new pieces of IKEA furniture.

Leather pull tabs seemed to have made their way to some new pieces of IKEA furniture.

These tableware pieces are part of the new SITTNING collection which hits Canadian stores in September. It only be available for 4-6 weeks or while supplies last. I love the combination of colours. There are also some really beautiful wood trivets, cutting boards and candlesticks.

These tableware pieces are part of the new SITTNING collection which hits Canadian stores in September. It only be available for 4-6 weeks or while supplies last. I love the combination of colours. There are also some really beautiful wood trivets, cutting boards and candlesticks.

Finally, where else would we stay but at the IKEA hotel. The lobby was outfitted in shades of emerald and black obviously all furnished with IKEA furniture.

Finally, where else would we stay but at the IKEA hotel. The lobby was outfitted in shades of emerald and black obviously all furnished with IKEA furniture.