advertisement
advertisement

Ikea turned a Paris subway station into a showroom, and it’s glorious

Fifteen hundred products hang from the walls of La Madeleine’s metro station, beckoning riders to the company’s new, small-format shop.

Ikea turned a Paris subway station into a showroom, and it’s glorious
[Photo: Julien Hay/Ikea]

This year, Ikea is opening new, smaller stores in cities from New York to Paris. And in the latter city,  the company is promoting its new approach with an unusual stunt.

advertisement
advertisement

The Swedish retailer opened its new concept store in the district of La Madeleine on May 6. According to the company, it’s the first of a new type of Ikea store in Paris–one that is specially designed for city centers rather than the giant blue buildings of the suburbs. To announce the launch of the new retail strategy, Ikea transformed the nearby metro station, hanging 1,500 individual products on the walls. From chairs to curtains to kitchen gear and even plush toys, they turned the station into an overwhelming bazaar of Ikea design, complete with typical black-and-white Ikea signage showing their unpronounceable names and their prices.

It’s not the first time that the Swedish company has pulled a stunt in the subway. Back in January 2012, Ikea built an entire, 581-square-foot apartment inside Paris’s Auber station, fully furnished with its products. And amazingly, five volunteers actually lived there for almost a week. The idea? To show how Ikea storage products could make any small space comfortable–even the subway.

The two-floor store at La Madeleine is about one-fourth the average size of a typical Ikea store, at at almost 54,000 square feet. It’s part of Ikea’s new approach to urban retail, which focuses on smaller locations that are more like showrooms. Shoppers can visit to look at products and then place an order, which will be delivered to their homes. It’s a strategy that is tailored to urbanites who don’t necessarily have cars to haul their purchases home–which makes the subway station installation a perfect way to announce it.

The company says that it’s spending $400 million to open other downtown stores like this in Lyon and Nice. Stateside, it opened its first small format store in the U.S. in Manhattan just last month.

advertisement
advertisement

About the author

Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce and a contributing writer at Fast Company.

More