Hej Sweden

Last week I went to my version of Disneyland (aka the happiest place on earth): IKEA town in Almhult, Sweden. 

We were part of an international media group that was there to witness Democratic Design Day. Flying from Singapore to Stockholm with a 2.5-hour layover in Bangkok, we went on a train ride through the countryside to finally arrive in Almhult, where all the magic happens — design development, product testing, producing the catalogue, even warehousing. 

Of course we stayed at the IKEA Hotel (and ate IKEA food!).

 When we checked in the day was almost 2/3 done, but after a warm Swedish meal and a shower, we were off to Sjostugans Camping for dinner, where the golden hour stretched from five to eight pm.

  
On Day 1, Democratic Design Day, our hosts took us to see IKEA Communications, where the catalogue is conceptualised, photographed, laid out and put together, and the Test Lab, where new designs are tested. After lunch we were ushered into the old IKEA store, which is being transformed to become a bigger IKEA museum, for the Democratic Design presentation by the big guns. The day ended with a Swedish smorgasborg party.

On Day 2, we visited the IKEA museum, located in the basement of IKEA Tilsammans, and the distribution center that services Europe, before we were whisked off to do our interviews.

  
   
  
After the interviews, we had a lovely dinner at Brasserie Goaroije.

  
 We took the train back to Stockholm, and I had to leave the group a day early…but was able to explore the city for a couple of hours before my flight. 

Juxtaposing rural Sweden on the left, and urban Sweden on the right in this montage:  

And I stumbled upon City Hall and the new cultural center on my short walk.

  
   

     

  
  
Here are a couple of photos taken by one of our hosts, Nuch, and the cameraman from the Thai TV crew, Edwin.

 

  
  

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