Ikea-land East London

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

By John Dugan

High-end design lovers may turn up their noses at MDF, but IKEA stays true to the populist aspects of the modernist movements that inspired the iconic furniture designers we all liked to name drop—it makes designs for living at a price affordable to the masses. Last month, we heard about an IKEA-furnished prefab house—not for sale from Ikea, but still, an off-the-rack modern house. This month, the news of IKEA's development in East London is spreading throughout the urban design world. Inter.IKEA's LandProp arm is breaking ground on Strand East, an 11 hectare development for 6,000 people in a former East London docklands area. Londoners will get a designed urban experience where rusting machinery once stood. About 40% of the housing will be big enough for families and there will be office space and a hotel. The space is designed to be almost car-free with shops, dining and services in walking distance. The housing won't be for sale, only for rent. As the head of LandProp told the Globe and Mail, "We don’t want to produce for the rich or the super-rich; we want to produce for the families, for the people.” And contrary to what jokesters might have you believe, the pads won't come pre-furnished, though we sure hope there's an IKEA nearby, if only for the Lingonberry jelly. How about you, would you live in an IKEA-designed hood in your city?

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