I spent a few months last year working as a design consultant on IKEA’s new corporate office in Philadelphia. To my surprise, the project ended up being featured in last Sunday’s New York Times. It’s a great little article that gives you some insight into who IKEA actually is and how they think. While I played a small part in this mammoth project, and I try not to be one to toot my own horn, there is something to be learned from what IKEA has done here.
A good office isn’t just cool and well-designed, it says something about its inhabitants. This office is a reflection of IKEA’s corporate culture. It wasn’t designed to be a showpiece, a monument or palace to all things IKEA. There are no corner offices. Heck, there aren’t really any offices to speak of. Everyone basically gets the same desk, the same chair and the same storage unit. This office encourages interaction between coworkers, away from their desks – in the great room, on the staircase or in one of the thirty-plus conference rooms. The hope was to create an environment in which each individual walked into the office each day with the opportunity to do their best work, together.