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IKEA Chooses Tempe's Own, Niki Glen, for Public Art Project.

TEMPE, Ariz. -- IKEA Commissions Designer's Artistic Benches to Be Outside Tempe Store Opening November 10

IKEA, the world's leading home furnishings retailer, today announced that it has selected seasoned artist and Tempe resident, Niki Glen, to craft benches for outside the future IKEA Tempe. As part of its commitment to the city of Tempe, IKEA is participating in the city's "Art in Private Development" program, created to beautify the community with a variety of high-quality art projects. The art elements will be located as benches near the family-friendly parking lot and bike racks in front of the store slated to open Wednesday, November 10, 2004.

Artist Niki Glen was selected from among four proposals commissioned by IKEA Tempe and overseen by the store's management team. After being notified of her selection, Glen explained that, "this project will add warmth and create an exciting ambience for all that gather in this area - especially those with children! These benches are designed to have clean lines and a relaxing feel." Consistent with the family-friendly shopping experience offered by IKEA, this rest area will reflect the IKEA commitment to accommodating customers' needs.

"IKEA is known for function with good design, so we decided to incorporate functional art into this project, complementing the building's architecture and surrounding landscaping and in keeping with the design and heritage of IKEA. Niki really captured the essence of our humble roots in Sweden," stated Lars Meyer, store manager of the future IKEA Tempe.

The functional art display will consist of four benches created and installed by Glen and her colleagues, Helen Helwig and Kasha Banko. Each bench will have handmade clay, rock and glass mosaic pieces emphasizing natural materials as well as a unified theme and color combination of blue and yellow, to reflect IKEA and the colors of the Swedish flag.

Glen also noted she was inspired by nature - as is Swedish culture - and, therefore, designed the benches to include elements of earth, water, wind, and the sun. Glen added her idea began with the IKEA mission statement, 'to create a better everyday life for the many people,' and from there she integrated a feeling of celebration and joy for the many people to enjoy.

Glen has an extensive background in design, coordination and art project administration, having completed more than 75 public art activities including exterior installations and murals. Her recent local projects include a mosaic mural at The Desert Botanical Garden, a large-scale public artwork on the Interstate-17 underpass and an Artist-Designed Transit Shelter for the city of Tempe. Glen is currently a member of the National Society of Mural Painters and was on the Community Built Association's Board of Directors in 2002. Additionally, Glen won the "Tempe Beautification Award" for the Neighborhood Enhancement Program in 2001 and the Maricopa Association of Governments' "Livable Cities Award" in 2000.

Installation of the IKEA display, including a permanent marker of the artist's name laid into the ground, is set for this fall as part of the landscaped area in front of the store. IKEA Tempe will recognize Glen and her co-artists again during grand opening activities in November.

IKEA Tempe is currently under construction on 23 acres at the northeast corner of the I-10 and Warner Road. The future 342,000 square foot store will feature 60 different room settings, four model homes, a supervised children's play area, as well as a 250-seat restaurant that serves Swedish specialties such as meatballs with lingonberries and salmon platters. Other family-friendly features will include a 'Children's IKEA' area in the showroom, baby care rooms, preferred parking, and play areas throughout the store. IKEA Tempe also will be the first store in the West to open with both English and Spanish communication throughout the store. In addition, outdoor furnishings will be available year-round.

IKEA currently has more than 200 stores in 32 countries, including 21 in the United States. As part of its North American expansion, the company is aiming to open approximately five new stores a year. Other U.S. stores being planned include: Atlanta, GA; Bolingbrook, IL; Brooklyn, NY; Dublin, CA; Frisco, TX; Somerville, MA; Stoughton, MA; and West Sacramento, CA.

Since its 1943 founding in Sweden, IKEA has offered a wide range of home furnishings and accessories of good design and function, at low prices so the majority of people can afford them. IKEA was named in Working Mother magazine's list of "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers" and received the magazine's Family Champion award in recognition of the company's family-friendly programs. IKEA is recognized as a socially responsible company and supports causes that benefit children and the environment. To visit the IKEA Web site, please go to http://www.ikea-usa.com. For information about working at IKEA, please visit http://JobsAt.IKEA-usa.com.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Aug 31, 2004
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