Ikea U.K. Invites Brits to Its 30th Birthday Bash

Retailer Celebrates With a Free House Party That Shows Off the Brand Through the Decades

Published On
Oct 18, 2017

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Ikea U.K. is throwing a house party to celebrate its 30th birthday, and everyone's (kind of) invited.

The Swedish furniture retailer has taken over a house in London's Soho neighborhood and recreated typical living rooms from the '80s, '90s and the noughties, as well a space dedicated to the home of the future.

Public tickets to the night events, which start Wednesday and go through Saturday, were gone in 24 hours, but people can still "join" the party via VR headsets in Ikea's stores around the country. And no tickets are required to visit during regular store hours.

At night, there will be dance music, food and drink from the different decades.

"In Sweden, at age 30 you're likely to be changing home, either getting married or having kids, so a house party seemed like the right idea," says Laurent Tiersen, country marketing manager at Ikea U.K. and Ireland. "We brought in the British element by adding the giant sound systems."

The '80s space includes bold colors, frosted glass and a Jane Fonda workout video (so, some things you might prefer to forget). The '90s area features full-on beige furniture, mood lighting and computers as the latest accessory.

As for the 2000s, it showcases a time in which self-expression has come to the forefront, e.g., the rise of the "feature wall" and glass-fronted display cabinets.

Ikea has dedicated the top floor to looking 30 years ahead. In its vision of the urban future, living is squeezed into one room with fold-up beds and collapsible chairs. A "living wall" is made from hydroponic plants, and art comes in the form of motion-activated light panels or smart mirrors that also tell you the time and weather. Instead of waiting for delivery, your furniture arrives via a 3-D printer.

Steps towards this future are already happening with the opening of a new Ikea store in South-East London next year. The energy-efficient space will include a rooftop pavilion, a biodiversity garden and a community space that will be made available for local events.

There also will be less room to park cars. This is partly because it's closer to town than most Ikea stores, but also because Ikea is strengthening its online offering as its stores become more of a showroom and less of a warehouse.

In the future, home delivery will be more a part of the Ikea experience (at least until it all arrives by 3-D printer). Says Tiersen, "We are looking at the set-up and the pricing, testing delivery solutions and costs. This is the next phase."