Ikea’s new catalog can place furniture anywhere…

…even on your roof!

All you have to do is place the catalog exactly where you’d like to see a chair, table, or couch.

Angle it…

…and presto! There’s furniture!

Joking aside, it’s an incredibly well-done shopping app. (Here we see that this chair might not fit so easily through the front door.)

But it’s also still a lot of fun to place a piece of furniture smack-dab in the middle of rush hour.

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Ikea's New Catalog Magically Transforms Into Furniture

In an amazing use of paper, Ikea’s new catalog can be placed anywhere in your home, and appear as any piece of furniture on a smartphone or tablet.

Most augmented reality apps are silly. You sit in front of your computer, aim the webcam at your desk, and some moving promotion appears to be standing there (you know, sort of, because you’re still looking through your laptop to make that magic happen).

But now, Ikea has developed a killer app for AR. After using any smartphone or tablet to scan select pages out of its 2014 catalog, you can place the catalog anywhere in your home to make it appear as if it’s an actual piece of furniture. Watch the video above to see what we mean.

Technically, this is no more amazing than any other AR app to date. But every part of the actual use-case scenario makes sense. Consider the experience: You’re already reading this catalog. You come across something you like. Then, assuming your phone is nearby, the hardest thing you have to do is drop the book somewhere in your home—a satisfying tactile process that beats pinching and zooming on a glass screen. There are no stickers to tear out or cards to print. Every component of the experience is already integrated.

In turn, the customer gets a much more accurate picture than pulling out a measuring tape and imagining. And Ikea actually transports its products into the customer’s home, associating a living room with its showroom through a sort of digital test drive. It’s a good idea that’s brilliantly executed, along with a major upgrade from last year’s catalog. Now as soon as Ikea can insert a few coked-up cosplayers along with the synthesist from Hot Chip, I’ll really know how a FÖRHÖJA wall cabinet will fare in my apartment during a typical Wednesday night in.

See more here.

[Hat tip: DesignTaxi]

[Photos by Kelly Rakowski/Fast Company]

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  • gmdavis

    Great. But where I live (and much or the world) I shop online for Ikea and then make the 3 hour trip to the store. I don't have access to the printed catalog nor can I swing by and pick one up. It would be great if this ability was build right into the iPad app, no paper required.

  • Stephanie C.

     you don't have a postal system? I've lived in 2 countries with IKEAs. They were happy to mail me the catalog on request even when I lived 530 miles away from the nearest one. Nowadays when I live about an hour from one, I get three; one to me, one to a person who used to live here, and one to 'resident'. They will send all the catalogs you want if you ask them to.

  • Clement Zheng

    Agreed. Brilliant value-addition on a publication you can find in almost every home here. Love the "can it fit through the front door" concept!

  • Santiago Draco

    This is brilliant.   Not necessarily un-obvious, but excellent execution.