Save up: Ikea is coming to Manila in late 2020, and it is going to be the biggest in the world with five floors and a 1,000-seat restaurant.
Georg Platzer, Ikea market development manager for Southeast Asia and incoming Philippine store manager, announced on Nov. 20 that Ikea will be opening at Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay City. It is operated by Ikea Southeast Asia, the franchisee which also brought Ikea to Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
“The store will cover 65,000 sq m—or the size of 150 basketball courts,” he said in a press conference at SM Mall of Asia.
The Swedish brand (pronounced ee-kay-uh) will carry 9,000 products, from furniture to food, and yes, the popular Swedish meatballs will be sold.
Platzer said that Ikea products are made with several factors in mind: Form, function, quality, sustainability, accessibility, availability and price. “It is mandatory for us to offer the lowest prices in the market to make sure that our range is affordable for as many people as possible.”
Ikea cuts cost by selling furniture in “flat packs,” which means you have to assemble the item yourself after picking them out in the showroom. Each pack indicates the size, color, material, measurements and features, and includes a step-by-step manual.
There is an option to have it done and delivered for a fee, but Platzer warns against furniture FOMO (fear of missing out).
“You would miss out on all the fun if you let someone build your furniture for you,” he said. “Do it yourself, I guarantee you it would be fun.”
Pretty and functional
For over two years, Platzer and his team has been stealthily studying the Philippine market, and found out that 13 percent of the residents in the Greater Metro Manila already know about Ikea and its Scandinavian aesthetic.
“All the designs are done in Sweden,” Platzer said. “Sweden is very dark; half of the year they don’t have sunlight.”
Such atmosphere led to the creation of pretty and functional home pieces to brighten up the home: modern furniture made of birch and light wood, candles and lamps, cozy cushions to keep the room warm.
While the Philippines is a very tropical country, Ikea’s universal pieces will address the need for compact and practical home solutions especially for condo dwellers.
Platzer’s team also recognized that Filipinos love to shop and dine out as a group; it is a bonding activity for family and friends, so they had to make the store huge, complete with a kids play area called Småland.
“The displays and aisles will be bigger for a safe and convenient shopping experience,” Platzer said. “The restaurant will also serve a variety of food that would represent both Filipino and Swedish culture.”
During the launch, a yellow-and-blue Ikea electric jeepney was parked in the venue. Beside it is the big heart mascot with hands inspired by the best-selling Famnig Hjärta pillows.
Swedish specials were also served such as the köttbullar (meatballs), salmon, apple pie and coffee. These are considered food for “fika,” the Swedish tradition of taking a break and catching up over coffee without talking about work—pretty much like having a relaxing merienda.
But what kind of Filipino food can we expect in the Ikea bistro?
Platzer said they are open to collaborating with local chefs, and enumerated the Filipino dishes he have tried so far: “sinigang, sisig, adobo flakes, kare-kare, lechon; name it, I had it. And halo-halo!”
Ikea products will be sold online, too, but for now, we can visit the viewing site http://ikea.ph for inspiration as we prepare to update our homes in two years.