Everyone's favorite Swedish housewares giant just did something that is either awesome or terrible. IKEA took over a Tokyo subway train, outfitting the monorail from top to bottom in its college-dorm-friendly wares. My favorite thing (comprehensive mass transit) and my least favorite thing (I have NEVER stepped foot into an IKEA store) combined? I don't know how to feel. Perhaps I should consult one of those 15 “new” emotions scientists have discovered. I’ll go with “happily disgusted.”
There’s some happiness there because public transit is a wonderful thing and innovative design that draws attention to infrastructure just melts my little urban-planning-happy heart. But IKEA? Ugh. I don’t want an over-priced, cheaply made table in the middle of my train car. However, I do appreciate that food and drinks were provided.
IKEA did the massive overhaul to celebrate the opening of a new store at Toyko’s Tachikawa station, which is of course serviced by the monorail. They basically turned the train cars into a moving showroom and offered up snacks and libations for opening day. Like I said, IKEA furniture shall never enter my home, but I am a tad jealous of the Tokyo train riders. I can begrudgingly admit that some of the accessories were cute and here in New York City, there is not a pillow or paper lantern to be found on these grey, grimy train cars. Then again, those cotton and poly-blend cushions would stand no chance against the bodily fluids and other things that get wiped, smeared, and dripped onto public transportation seating.
The idea is pretty ingenious. Surely, IKEA paid a pretty penny to revamp the train and the stunt likely got more people on the train than would normally ride it, so that’s more money and attention for mass transit. That’s a great thing. IKEA got lots of positive buzz, so it’s a win-win situation. Now if other companies could figure out how to do something similar here in New York, that would be awesome. An Anthropologie train car? Oh, a snack train car sponsored by Utz. Yes.