It’s a cliché that casinos are designed to prevent people from recognizing how much time has passed (no windows) and to steer people away from exit routes and back to the tables.
But much more salient, to me at least, is the infuriating design of Ikea stores. Invariably, my wife and I separate at some point and then, once I’m done browsing, I end up spending 20 minutes walking in circles trying to find the route back to children’s furniture (or some other designated meeting spot). I wind up passing the same mock studio apartment half a dozen times, blood pressure rising with each new sighting.
This confusion is carefully planned and orchestrated by Ikea, explained Alan Penn, a professor of architectural computing at University College London, in a recent lecture, in which he makes use of some very cool maps and digitized models of customer flow. One result of Ikea’s rat-maze design: 60% of the things people buy there were not on their original shopping list.
The company also pulls off a rather difficult balancing act: “There are a lot of people who go there and don’t enjoy it, but still seem to keep going back,” Penn says.
Ikea as Rat-Maze - Ideas Market - WSJ