By Ashlee Starratt
Photography by Zhan Temerkhanov
If there’s a home décor item you’re missing to make your house a home, chances are, you’ll find it IKEA. And with some vibrant new collections making their Doha début this spring, adding a pop of colour to bring your space to life is as easy as taking a walk through IKEA Qatar. But what does it take to keep their ever-evolving interior showcases looking fresh and fabulous? We chat with IKEA Qatar’s Communication & Interior Design Activity Specialist, Dana Alsabbagh Arribas, to find out.
ILQ: You oversee the look and aesthetic of the store and how the products are displayed – that’s a huge job! Walk us through how new showcases are planned and what a typical day on the job looks like for you?
DAA: The store always needs to look fresh and inspiring, so a typical day would start planning with the team what needs to be done to achieve that. We go through our existing collection, and the new ones, then we brainstorm on the creative direction according to the trends we want to take.
ILQ: Is there a method to the madness when it comes to the layout of the store? How do you arrange new collections in order to entice people, and what emotional reactions do you hope to get from customers as they walk through the store?
DAA: We usually have directions from IKEA regional office, but after that we [use] our own creativity and local adaptation to relate as much as possible to our customers.
The idea of the IKEA store is to be able to touch everyone – so it’s important to vary the styles and the feel of the rooms.
Every year we visit homes and ask them various questions regarding needs and lifestyle to make sure that our room sets are relevant to what people are looking for, and inspire them for functional solutions.
ILQ: Tell us a bit about the new collections and activities. Some of them are very vibrant, such as Spridd and the PS 2017 collection – perfect for summer!
DAA: Spridd is a really fun collection from British designer, Kit Neale. The whole collection is designed for youth and is inspired by music, with very graphical drawings and vibrant colours. His whole idea behind the collection was to give the opportunity to teenagers to express themselves through the décor of their rooms.
Our PS 2017 [collection] is really for the young adult starting out in life – someone on the go, like many of us in Qatar. It’s a funky collection that’s perfect for people that follow what they feel like doing.
(IKEA Qatar's Dana Alsabbagh Arribas)
ILQ: What do you enjoy most about your job?
DAA: I really like the feeling of accomplishment when I’m done with a showcase. I like seeing people’s reaction when they see a room-set and get inspired about doing the same in their home.
ILQ: What are some other new items or collections that IKEA Qatar customers can look forward to coming up for spring/summer 2017?
DAA: I’m really looking forward to the Hemmafest collection; this is a very special design for Ramadan – it has a lot of Arabic-inspired patterns and colours perfect for the season.
ILQ: How do IKEA Qatar’s collections cater to different budgets? Do they come in different price-point ranges?
DAA: During the year, we have different collections that fit different wallets. IKEA makes sure that the store always offers different solutions for everybody and their budget.
ILQ: If someone wants to design their dream room – how can they go about doing this with IKEA Qatar?
DAA: You can start with our website and get inspired from there – we have short videos and tips about decoration and home organization. Obviously, nothing beats coming to the store and getting inspired with our room sets!
ILQ: What’s the most popular-selling item at IKEA Qatar?
DAA: People respond really well to our limited collections, as their originality is always giving a fresh look to your house.
ILQ: What inspires you when arranging an activation for a new collection showcase – or even just a regular interior set-up?
DAA: Before creating a room-set, I like to picture a story – Who lives there? How old are they? Where do they work? etc… And from there I design and decorate the room.
ILQ: How do Arabic homes and their décor requirements differ from those of the Swedish aesthetic, and how does IKEA Qatar tailor its collections for the local market?
DAA: Swedish houses are smaller than what you would find in Qatar; they’re more functional with clean lines, and less place for décor.
Qatari houses have more space, and focus a lot on social gathering with majlis. They’re also really fond of decorations.
IKEA does adapt to the needs of the local market, [for example] we do offer bigger sets for sofas to meet the needs of furnishing a majlis; we also have Ramadan collections every year.
Want to get started on your dream room with IKEA Qatar? Click here and be sure to let us know in the comments below how it turned out! Also, don’t forget to give us a like and a share – it keeps us going!
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