Ikea announced today that they will partner with Marriott to create a new budget “hotel brand” based on their prefabricated furniture model. The hotels won’t include Ikea furniture, but instead will be built based on new construction methods that stress lower-cost materials. Prefabricated hotel rooms will be built in a central location and placed wherever needs arise. This is a similar model to what some retailers are doing with popup stores in areas that swarm with large groups of people for specific events. Kind of like what Apple did at SXSW during its iPad launch — quickly create a popup store to sell items where people are gathered, and then take the store down after the event is over.
Popup hotels could be quickly assembled in areas where events bring large amounts of people together. Even here in Austin right now, it’s virtually impossible to get a hotel room, and if you do, it’s easily $400 a night. Popup hotels could offer some relief to the need for rooms, and will attract a younger, more budget-conscious traveler.
Ikea and Marriott will launch their first popup hotel in Milan this year.
I am admittedly immersed in the Apple ecosystem. Everytime I try to climb out (buying Win 8 products or a Chromebook), I still get sucked back in. One of the things I can’t stand about Apple’s current GUI on their OS and iOS is the use of skeumorphism.
In a nutshell, skeumorphism is taking something digital and making it look like paper. For instance, the Notes app is designed to look like a yellow legal pad written upon with a black marker. The iCal app has “leather-bound” edges. Apple’s Address Book looks like, well, an old-fashioned address book.
Image from apple.com
Wired.com points out today that Apple is on a hiring spree. With Steve Jobs gone and Scott Forstall ousted, we’re entering a new era of design under Jony Ives.
“The early days of the Mac, the iPhone and the iPad perhaps necessitated skeumorphic design to acclimate users to new apps and programs that accomplished tasks in new ways. But it’s no longer needed. The concept of the desktop and the graphical user interface isn’t foreign anymore. We’re grown comfortable with the swipes, double taps and myriad other gestures that can dismiss applications or open up shortcuts in the blink of an eye.”
Apple is hiring senior software engineers to help re-imagine the graphical user interface, someone to develop new APIs and frameworks (iOS) and even someone to help give Siri a personality.
Brilliant design doesn’t happen overnight but here’s hoping, infused with new ideas and creative energy, Apple can eventually move away from the skeumorphism that looks to the past and moves into the clean lines and gesture-based design of the future.