Flatpack Empire

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IKEA is undoubtedly one of the world’s most successful, enigmatic, and recognisable global brands – last year nearly 900 million people in 49 countries visited its stores, with a turnover of over £34 billion.

In a major new three-part series, our cameras explore IKEA’s design studios, factories and stores around the world for the very first time.

Few companies can legitimately claim to shape the way we live today. Fewer still inspire a cult-like devotion in customers and employees alike. But IKEA is not like other companies. The famously secretive Swedish furniture retailer is guided by the principle of creating “the better everyday life for the many people.” But what is the secret to its success? How does the machine of IKEA affect the people who work for it, and how does its ruthlessly efficient business model affect the world?

For the first time in the company’s 70-year history, IKEA has opened the doors to our cameras with exclusive access to stores, warehouses, test-labs and design-studios. Throughout 2017 we followed the daily challenges of designers, product developers, store managers and suppliers – filming around the world, from Sweden to India, China and Jordan.

We follow the journey of new products, from the development headquarters in Älmhult, Sweden; through prototyping, testing, manufacturing and approval. We explore how IKEA’s catalogue is created – where thousands of products are photographed in extraordinary detail in Europe’s largest photographic studio. We see how new staff at home and abroad get to grips with a unique set of ‘culture and values’ that has guided the company for 70 years. And we follow IKEA’s massive global expansion programme into India – a country that hasn’t yet been touched by the Swedish flat-pack revolution.

  • BBC
  • February 2018