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Brief Published: 16 Jan 2012

Ikea’s Reality Retail Theatre


Hard as it may be to imagine, it seems that after reality TV comes reality theatre. In this case, reality retail theatre. Scandinavian homewares giant Ikea has installed a temporary apartment at the Auber RER station in Paris – using the daily activities of its five young flatmates to showcase its products to daily commuters.

From January 9-14 2012, the flatmates will conduct their lives under the watchful gaze of passers-by, who are encouraged to drop into the flat itself for a closer look at Ikea’s furnishings. After January 14, the flatmates will leave to make way for new inhabitants – the winners of a competition on the brand’s French Facebook page, who will stay for just one night. In the meantime – continuing the Big Brother-esque theme – the page is also showing filmed highlights of each day in the apartment.

The installation was conceived by French communications agency Ubi Bene, whose brief was to demonstrate how the Swedish brand’s products can work within a compact space. The apartment measures 54.2 sq m (about 584 sq ft) –similar dimensions to a typical Parisian apartment.

Following in the footsteps of Ikea’s sleepover event in its Essex store in the UK in November 2011, it seems the brand is keen to become more intimate with consumers, in as many ways as possible.