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Developing concepts for the future of play at IKEA


Consumer Goods & Retail


Concept Development


Frédérique Moolenbeek
Tim Ramsche


Play is a critical part of every child’s development. It contributes directly to health and wellbeing, cognitive development, self-esteem and skills building. And it is fun!

IKEA is a brand known for its family-friendliness and warmth. In order to enhance the shopping experience for caregivers and their children, Inter IKEA Group is renewing the IKEA Play concept for their franchisees. Additionally, IKEA is adapting to the global urbanization by developing new store concepts, in which IKEA Play will naturally play a role. How can IKEA develop future-proof, family-friendly play solutions in an ever changing world?


Just as with IKEA construction kits, materials are vital for every successful construction. For this project, the core materials consisted of a diverse, international team of creative thinkers. Contributions from team members with different backgrounds like children’s psychology and strategic design enriched the process. In a series of sessions with the team and several inspirational speakers the foundations for the concepts were laid. Finally, the finer structures were shaped through concepting by Fronteer.

At the center of the project stood some key questions which we were able to answer in co-creation. At which points in the shopping journey do caregivers and children experience friction? What are the particular needs of children of different ages and their caregivers at this stage? How can we engage the children and simultaneously provide headspace for their caregivers? Providing in the customer’s needs, from young to old, soon became the main priority.

The storyline of the play solutions throughout the store is the glue which connects the play solutions and makes IKEA Play sticky. Understanding the customer journey through the eyes of children and caregivers helped us to discover opportunities. Through co-creation these aspects could be intertwined and solutions were created.


As we discovered ourselves, everyone is a ‘child at heart’ in some way or another. This turned out to be a vital discovery in designing the solutions for IKEA Play. Children are the future, and IKEA is driven to make sure they are free to just be kids. At this stage we cannot tell more but to keep an eye out for mysterious changes in your IKEA store.



Curious to hear more about this project?


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