FROM TUBULAR STEEL TO FLAT PACK: A CASE STUDY COMPARISON BETWEEN BAUHAUS AND IKEA INNOVATION LEADERSHIP IN CONTEMPORARY DESIGN
Author: Stephen T.F. POON
Abstract: This paper discusses the enduring influences of the Bauhaus in contemporary design by comparing the movement’s impact on 20th-century social change, and as a model for social inventiveness and innovation through promoting equality of arts for everyone by combining the arts and business. The review of literature and a comparative analysis of similarities and differences between Bauhaus and IKEA helps understand contemporary framing of design innovation, through minimalist styles mass produced for modern cultural consumption. The main findings show that shifts have occurred from classical Bauhaus to present design thinking methods, where pricing, distribution, logistics, and the realities of competitive markets have affected consumer perceptions of value and market notions of design excellence. The paper concludes that leadership in design innovation today calls for more pragmatic considerations of strategic pricing over design and quality. Affordability and price tag are perceived to increase mass appeal and accessibility of mass-designed products for consumer segments, but that comes at the expense of awareness and appreciation of quality, materials, and labour and workmanship costs.
Keywords: Bauhaus, furniture, design innovation, design process, mass production