It’s party time in the UK as IKEA celebrates 30 years in a week-long series of evening house parties and daytime experiences through October 21.
The IKEA House Party — a brand activation under its Wonderful Everyday banner — celebrates the retailer’s 30 years in the UK. From the 80s to the present day, each floor reawakens a decade in glorious detail.
As noted in a press release, “Featuring enduring ‘design classics’, by day the house will take the form of a quintessential British living room from the last three decades and will even look forward to what the future holds. Visitors will enter a time warp into an immersive ‘living home’ as IKEA looks back at landmark moments and our changing tastes.”
“By night, partygoers can step back in time and enjoy cocktails, canapes and banging music – able to celebrate life at home with music, TV and games as they party like it’s 1999 (89, 2009, 2019 and 2049).”
In the 80s experience nibble on a prawn cocktail and feast your eyes on bright floral patterns, while on the 90s floor indulge in House music, Brit pop and minimalist design. For fans of the noughties, try a Juicy Couture tracksuit on for size while upcycling furniture and on the top floor, revellers will get the opportunity to gaze into life at home 30 years in the future.
Billed as “The Ultimate House Party,” the central London space includes four floors designed as “era-defining barnstorming blowouts,” creating a snapshot of IKEA’s impact in British living rooms in the 20th and 21st century long with a peek into the future.
During the day, the house features “enduring design classics” while at night, visitors enjoy food, drink, TV and games related to the different decades, encouraged to “party like it’s 1999, 1989, 2009, 2019 and 2049.”
Since the first IKEA opened in the UK in Wembley in 1987, families have bought and fought with ‘assembly-required’ flat-pack furniture, while IKEA remains the nation’s largest furniture retailer.
The 1980s: The Eighties room has deep navy blue walls and red furniture with design elements of a Dirty Dancing film poster, a Telly Addicts board game, a Jane Fonda workout video, David Bowie vinyls on the bookcase, an iconic red Klippan sofa and zig-zag shelves. To put things in perspective, the Billy bookcase cost £43 in 1987, and today costs £35 with one sold every ten seconds.
Clotilde Passalacqua, IKEA’s UK interior design leader said, “People were very proud of their homes in the Eighties. Previously, interior design had been expensive and out of reach. Suddenly, it was affordable. They could buy the things they saw in glossy magazines – striped curtains, bright cushions and trendy table lamps. People saw furniture as an investment. They wanted to pass things down, so the focus was on making it affordable yet high quality.”
The 1990s: With entertaining trending, sideboards, soft-lighting lamps and stackable tables were bestsellers, along with glassware including champagne flutes. The palette is white and taupes as visitors watch Cilla Black’s Blind Date on a large silver television midst shiny acrylic furniture.
The PS 1995 clock, with a built-in liquor cabinet, was often a centerpiece in living rooms with magnolia walls, beige soft furnishings and wood floors. Curtains and accessories like beanbags were popular.
“Living rooms were clean and stripped back,” said Passalacqua. “People had busy lives – there were more women than ever in the workplace – and home was a peaceful haven. This was the early era of furniture doubling up as technology solutions. People wanted the latest mod-cons, but they didn’t want them cluttering up their homes.”
Televisions had their own stands, sturdy desks came into style for computers and shelves for vinyl were replaced by CD holders.
The 2000s: Experimentation was trending as seen by high-gloss surfaces, a cow hide rug and a faux fireplace and “do-it-yourself” entered the mainstream.
“DIY was on the rise and people wanted to express their personalities in their living rooms,” said Passalacqua. “They liked trying out bold wallpaper and dark, daring colours such as black and purple. Everything was minimalist and contemporary: sleek surfaces, monochrome furnishings, industrial textures like plastic and chrome. Combined storage solutions were popular, as people wanted to keep crockery alongside DVD collections.”
Kitchens became hubs of entertaining leaving living rooms without large tables and migration to cities brought smaller living spaces and light-optimizing mirrors. From 2000, IKEA became increasingly popular with younger people and students are now their main customer group.
House Party / IKEA style fliers. From a while back, hope they've got over it pic.twitter.com/zjuQhbEWVr
— House Party (@House__Party) September 20, 2017
The Future: “The home of the future is all about control: homeowners want to be in charge with technology at their beck and call,” said Passalacqua. “They’re also conscious of the environment, saving energy and sustainability.”
The urban future scenario includes one room with fold-up beds, multi-purpose stackable stools, collapsible chairs and wireless charging furniture.
A “living wall” made from hydroponic plants accompanies art as motion-activated light panels or smart mirrors that also tell time and weather. Physical deliveries have been replaced by furniture that arrives via a 3-D printer.
Information on the free IKEA House Party is available at Eventbrite, but public tickets to the night events were snapped up in the first 24 hours. People can still “join” the party via VR headsets in IKEA stores around the country.
The IKEA Group has 340 stores in 28 countries plus more than 40 stores run by franchisees. During FY16, 2.1 billion people visited IKEA.com.