So an Architect and a Businessman walk into an IKEA…

…and get Sketch’d-Up!

There we were standing in the overflow parking lot of the newly opened IKEA in Centennial, CO. As we navigated to the entry, our curiosity grew of how this new blue & yellow adventure would unfold.

We were excited about IKEA for different reasons. I was there to pay homage to the king pin of democratic design.  Having never lived in a region with an IKEA, I could finally experience what all the hype was about. Matt, a strategic analyst with an MBA, had never heard of IKEA before it came to Denver. He was looking for design advice on transforming his entire condo from grad student mashup to businessman modern chic. What better way to do this than to take your architect girlfriend to the big, fancy furniture store?

We had already combed through the IKEA catalog and had an idea of the products we wanted. With my designer mind in full gear I was able to envision the furniture and how it would fit into Matt’s condo, but Matt needed a little more convincing that it all would work.

When we first entered the showroom, I was impressed with the multitude of ‘scenes’ featuring their products. Whole rooms constructed like film sets, each telling a different story of who would be using it and how. GENIUS. A few scenes were even setup into entire homes; one was only 350 sq ft! Yes, they were tight reproductions but by physically walking into them customers could now believe in the catalog tagline: “A home doesn’t need to be big, just smart.”

It was these mock-ups that got Matt pretty excited of the potential for his 650 sq ft condo. That was the moment I wondered about  my envisioning ability as an architect and maybe he couldn’t see what I could? We had left IKEA with a pretty good idea of what products we needed but didn’t buy anything just yet.

The next day we were enthusiastic about what would go where within the condo. But I could tell Matt still needed more information before he bought anything, he kept asking me, “Okay, so how tall is it going to be?” “And you’re sure it will fit?”  Then he asked “Couldn’t we put it into that program of yours, Sketch-Up?” *Light-Bulb* He needed a little more help picturing what I could already see.

As designers we have the unique skill of spatial understanding by just looking at 2D drawings. But those outside of the industry (most of IKEA’s customers) need that extra effort in design presentation to actually step in to the potential of their home.

So for the next hour and a half I was on my computer modeling the condo while Matt went from wall-to-wall to ceiling-to-floor with the measuring tape calling out dimensions. In another 30 minutes I had the IKEA furniture placed in the model. He could now see the space like I had all along and was amazed. I could now see (on a small-scale) how big an impact three-dimensional design presentations, from computer models to full mockups, have on a client’s envisioning and decision-making process.


After sending my application to Missouri twice because I was misinformed about the $100 application fee, everything is finally in. Now it’s the waiting game. I was told “It will depend on the number of applications pending processing and examination filing deadlines for the other professions.  Allow anywhere from 30 – 90 working days.” Soo…maybe by the end of the year?

5 thoughts on “So an Architect and a Businessman walk into an IKEA…

  1. Ah the perks of having a beautiful Architect as your girlfriend! Now if you only had some type of software that could build the IKEA furniture while I sit on the couch & watch football…

    I fear that is asking for too much though. Great post Meg!

  2. Pingback: Like to write? « AIA Colorado EP Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s