How can we support you if you have a compact home and move a lot? When we developed LINNEBÄCK easy chair, we asked customers on two different continents for advice. It resulted in a unique piece of furniture colored by hundreds of different everyday lives and stories. “When you create a product, you want it to find a place in people’s hearts. That’s why it’s always best to ask, instead of assuming what customers want,” says Ditte Bruun Pedersen, who was involved in developing LINNEBÄCK.
As one of the first steps, Ditte and her colleagues invited a group of international university students to test mock-ups the development team had created by hacking IKEA products with cardboard, fabric and foam. From the feedback they received, they made new designs that were turned into actual prototypes of LINNEBÄCK. They brought the prototypes to IKEA stores in China and Denmark so that customers could test them. Their reactions surprised Ditte. “The customers were eager to talk to us and not shy at all. One of the things they told us was that they preferred a lower backrest to make the chair more discrete. That’s especially important if you have limited space and want to avoid an over-furnished feeling at home. We also decided to rule out the armrest that we had on one of the prototypes for the same reason.”
One feature that few customers seemed to care about was that the fabric on the back of the chair was as thick and cushy as on the front. “They thought it was unnecessary since they probably would place the chair against a wall and not in the middle of a room,” says Ditte. The lack of attention this detail got actually turned out to be a good thing. “We found another solution for the fabric, and it contributed to the low price. Every time I see LINNEBÄCK, I’m reminded of what we learned when we met the customers. Their suggestions have filled LINNEBÄCK with history before it has even reached people’s homes.”