Why IKEA’s Cafeteria Can Be Your Next Office

 

“I’m at IKEA…. Yeah…. I’m working….” says a Megan-Fox-lookalike on the phone, with a somewhat blase voice. She’s in a table next to mine, swiping and typing on her iPad. Her office-like black belted-pencil-skirt and white fitted-shirt contrasts with the relaxed look of the lime-green plastic chair she is seated on.

She is part of one of three groups of people who still remain in IKEA’s eating area after what was an incredibly hectic lunch time, with people having Swedish meatballs or smoked salmon wraps. Freelancers/entrepreneurs (the other two groups being: students who enjoy the free internet connection the store offers and moms with their newborns, talking about ways to cut costs with diapers). In other words, most likely, people who are not employed.

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For better or for worse the idea of having a job is becoming more and more uncommon. A recent Forbes article says that by 2020 half of people working will be freelancers. “It’s not a job you get but an opportunity you can create” says marketer Seth Godin. The tendency for someone to be the creator of her/his own projects is greater at each day. And with that comes a feeling of freedom that quite frankly baby-boomers rarely felt. For the so-called “millennial generation” the sense of certainty is diminishing. Nevertheless, creativity is said to be boosting nowadays in these conditions, and so is the possibility to create your own meaningful life.

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Phenomenons like the publishing of private-like intimate spaces (the appropriation of public and semi-public spaces for private and independent labor or other uses) or multi-usage of specific spaces (the appropriation of public or private spaces for other functions during a certain period of the day/night, for example) enrich our reality. Maybe an influence of the “cloud-networking”-“time-sharing” concept in which time and space are maximized in one’s independent working life. You don’t have to own a 500 sq.m cafeteria/lounge space to work and meet with whoever you want. You only need to meet at IKEA (just make sure between 4-7pm).

As liquid-stimulating-shops become more permancy-friendly so does some people's sense of comfort and notion of private-public spaces change.

As liquid-stimulating-shops (great examples of the publishing of private-like intimate spaces) become more permanency-friendly so do change some people’s sense of comfort and notion of private-public spaces.

British band "The XX" recorded their first album in a "bath-room sized studio" after working hours in a small office space. "It was once a garage and was a pretty confined space, but perhaps that added to it." says band's member Romy Madley Croft. "We often recorded at night after everyone at the office had left. It was isolated and quite creepy." The space's condition were influential in what is a very intimate and serene record.

“The XX” recorded their first album in a “bath-room sized studio”.
“It was once a garage and was a pretty confined space, but perhaps that added to it.” says band’s member Romy Madley Croft. “We often recorded at night after everyone at the office had left. It was isolated and quite creepy.” The space’s condition were influential in what is a very intimate and serene record.

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IKEA Cafeteria after lunch. Tables and electrical plugs become available. Together with quietness and wi-fi connections this is a perfect atmosphere for some self-employed and other independent figurines.

In few years, the home-studio/office trend (“a certain mood of a certain generation” as David Adjaye refers to when talking about on excelent example of that, the Dirty House) has changed and now even the idea of permanently working at home is quickly changing. Co-working spaces, daily-rental arrangements, apartment-sharing, together with other more or less traditional spaces – from public libraries to coffee shops – gain an increasingly important role. The way we look at home changes considerably too. Home becomes almost as impermanent as any other space in the territory where a freelancer moves. This new paradigm of working space tends to look at these ambiguous spaces as socializing spaces, just like what happens in Japan with the Konbinis. In fact freelancers work everywhere, and for them there’s no rigid line between work and domesticity or between home and the rest of the territory. She or he is a nomad in the true sense of the term. These figurines of daily residential transience will consider home just like our older ancestries and not like our most recent ones, resisting to an obsolete paradigm of work that does not suit us anymore.

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