How IKEA Uses OpenAI in “One Stop Shop” for Building Design!

The world's third largest consumer of timber will expand machine learning technology to more than 30 countries before the end of 2024.

Wed 07 Feb 24


IKEA has launched a new AI assistant, which allows customers to design interior fixtures and fittings and process purchases using machine learning. 

The “first-of-its-kind” software will allow users to articulate home design needs and receive customised recommendations based on room dimensions, personal style and sustainability commands. 

For now, it will only be available for US-based customers; however, IKEA plans to roll out the OpenAI-powered software in more than 30 countries over the coming months.

The push to machine learning comes as more and more architects and building designers use AI programmes like ‘midjoinery’ to assist in designing projects of varying sizes and scope. 

According to the CEO of the Building Design Association of Australia (BDAA) – Australia’s peak body for building design, AI and automation are already impacting the design industry.

“It can quickly process vast amounts of information, helping designers make informed decisions and explore innovative solutions,” according to Chris Knierim, who said, “AI-driven simulations can evaluate designs’ environmental impact and energy efficiency, leading to more sustainable and eco-friendly buildings.”

Midjourney AI is the “ChatGPT for artists” and has taken the design community by storm —footage courtesy of @Mangostreet.

It is the latest move by the world’s largest furniture retailer and follows plans announced last April, which saw it invest $2.2 billion to improve its retail experience – which includes constructing new stores, “plan and order points,” and more than 900 new pick up locations across the US, with more than 3 billion euros invested into new and existing stores across Europe.

In announcing the new software yesterday, Francesco Marzoni, IKEA Retail’s Chief Data & Analytics Officer, said the company will now take “a pragmatic, execution-focused approach, learning by doing and capitalising on our early efforts of a Responsible AI framework.” Before adding that, IKEA Retail has taken years to “activate a broad ecosystem of partners to bring to life several experiments so that we can take part in the AI evolution as we shape our company strategy.”  

For more than 18 months, IKEA has been at the forefront of the push to use AI to improve its customer experience, launching IKEA Kreativ, which used the previous generation of spatial computing, machine learning and 3D mixed reality technology to visualise living spaces.

According to Parag Parekh, the company’s Global Chief Digital Officer, “the new IKEA AI Assistant on GPT Stores is an ongoing initiative and the continuation of a journey that looks to enrich the retail experience and explore additional avenues to interact with our customers and coworkers, as they help us improve and develop further”. 

In December 2023, IKEA launched AI-driven demand sensing technology, marking a significant move towards transforming its customers’ shopping experience. 

IKEA is the world’s third-largest timber consumer by volume. In 2019, it procured more than 21 million cubic metres of timber for furniture products – and following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it was one of the hardest-hit retailers impacted by Western sanctions.


  • Wood Central

    Wood Central is Australia’s first and only dedicated platform covering wood-based media across all digital platforms. Our vision is to develop an integrated platform for media, events, education, and products that connect, inform, and inspire the people and organisations who work in and promote forestry, timber, and fibre.


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