The new IKEA Planning Studio, which just opened in New York City, offers IKEA fans a streamlined way to shop. Rather than heading to a colossal center in the outskirts, urban dwellers will be able to browse in a much smaller space.
Located on the Upper East Side, the IKEA Planning Studio, which opened this week, is the first of a proposed 30 locations in city centers worldwide that the Swedish giant plans on opening in the next three years. The new studio is a showroom where items will be displayed but not sold. Rather customers can view items and order online in-store or at home.
“We decided it was really important to focus on solutions for small spaces rather than have a product to take away,” says Amy Singer, Ikea’s retail designer for the project. “In a small space, everything has to earn its keep and really perform well.”
The first Planning Studio is 17,350 feet, while a traditional IKEA store is roughly 350,000 square feet. The items, which have been carefully curated, have been selected for those living in smaller places in the city. The studio also provides one-on-one planning sessions with trained IKEA design experts. Though appointments are not required, they are recommended. Lasting one hour for standard rooms and two hours for kitchen projects, the sessions offer shoppers organization strategies, furniture placement ideas, and more.
The design experts can suggest customized storage and kitchen solutions to maximize space in smaller apartments. The showroom, which features IKEA small-space layouts, provides inspiration for shoppers trying to make the most of their space. The IKEA Planning Studio is essentially designed to provide personalized interior design concepts without having to trek through an entire IKEA warehouse in search of help.
Though IKEA is by no means dissuading customers from traveling to the suburbs for hack supplies and Swedish meatballs, the new Planning Studio hopes to attract local city residents or out-of-towners looking for design ideas. With next day delivery available, the service does not necessitate returning on the train with a Billy bookcase.
In the future, IKEA hopes to add features like furniture rentals. If anything, the Planning Studio asks consumers to reconsider the massive retailer as a more intimate shopping space that might challenge conventional wisdom regarding the Swedish home goods behemoth.
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