Swedish furniture giant presents new look in Toronto

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The Independent Online

Ikea's untypical design of a black modern country kitchen at the 2011 Interior Design Show in Toronto last week had design media speculating on whether it was time for the mega store to change its general presentation.

The Swedish furniture manufacturer is associated with clean, light settings, so the move of presenting a sleek, black set-up of an exaggerated scale was unexpected and won the brand the design fair's Gold booth award.

"We awarded the prize because it pushed the limits of what you can do with IKEA and it showed that once you bring design thinking into the equation, there is no end to what you can do with the IKEA product," one of the judges, Mazen El-Abdallah, said. "We loved that it was presented in a way you wouldn't normally see in the showroom or catalogue, like taking something as simple as the paper lamps but displaying them en masse to create a sculptural effect."

"We participate in the Interior Design Show to reach out to the design community and challenge the way people view our product," confirmed Madeleine Löwenborg-Frick, PR manager for IKEA Canada. "This year, we have featured a sexy new black modern country door style. This is a departure from the ultra-modern high gloss look we have shown in previous years and most competitors are still showing. This door style has resonated with show goers as a fresh new take on the modern kitchen."

However, this move doesn't necessarily mean that the chain is in for a general overhaul, as several design sites hypothesized. Rather, the decision was about coming up with something different for the event. "We participate at the Interior Design Show each year to showcase the IKEA offer competitively against the high end offers," Löwenborg-Frick told Relaxnews. "This year, we wanted to create an expression that would separate us from the rest of the exhibitors who are showing the ultra high-gloss euro kitchen.... As we offer so many different door styles, it was time to show them another side of IKEA that is more mature and rich."