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The Ikeaization of India?
This project speculates on the internationalisation of Ikea’s forays into homebuilding. Filling a role once assumed by the Swedish welfare state, Ikea has been building low-cost prefabricated ‘BoKlok’ homes in Scandanavia since the 1990s, and, more recently, in the UK. At the same time, the multinational is expanding to further reaches of the Global South in search of new markets for its flatpack furniture. India is a case in point; with a rapidly expanding consumer class congregating in its cities’ new BPO and IT-oriented zones, Ikea has built two stores in the country since 2018, and is planning many more. Their fourth is being built in Gurgaon, India’s so-called ‘Millenium City’ located 30km south-west of Delhi, which is used as a case study to site the design work. For many on India’s new urban peripheries, Ikea’s hallmark of self-build is not a fun optional activity, but a basic necessity in order to stake one’s right to the city. The design is as such less for a specific building form, more for a catalogue of components to cater for different programatic needs and aesthetic preferences, for possibility.