TORONTO – News of IKEA’s switch from its popular Akurum line of kitchen cabinets to the new Sektion model has prompted many questions and concerns from IKEA customers. Whether you currently have an Akurum kitchen in your home or were planning on installing one, the announcement might have come as a surprise.
We spoke with the president of IKEA Canada, Stefan Sjöstrand, and public relations specialist Alicia Zoffranieri during a media preview of the kitchen line at the Toronto Interior Design Show Thursday night. They shared some important details about the switch and how it will affect customers. The five most important points are below.
The number one question we received after our initial story was published was whether IKEA will still honour its 25-year Akurum warranty. The simple answer is “Yes”.
“Customers who bought Akurum… will continuously have [the] 25-year warranty and they will continue to have the opportunity to get spare parts for their previous kitchen. And for us that’s important, to support our old customers,” Sjöstrand told us.
IKEA Canada also says there’s a “comprehensive after sales program in place” for customers. The company is also offering Akurum products and after sales service between Feb. 2 and Oct. 1 to those who would like to add to their current Akurum kitchen or require replacement parts (while supplies last).
Akurum has been around for 20 years and many people are wondering why IKEA decided to switch systems now.
“At IKEA we are continuously developing our range. That’s a natural process of IKEA. We have worked many, many years with Akurum and the time has come for a new kitchen system,” Sjöstrand said.
“There’s endless, endless, endless possibilities with Sektion. Whatever width or height you have in your home you can design it based on that. You can have drawers, cabinets — whatever fits your needs and wants,” he added.
A big reason IKEA replaced the Expedit shelving system with the Kallax model last year was because of the amount of material used in the production of the thicker Expedit units. When asked about the eco-benefits of Sektion, Zoffranieri told us there are “quite a lot of sustainability features” with the system.
“All of our appliances have been upgraded with energy and water-saving features. Our dishwashers are all Energy Star rated and one model — the Renlig — has a special water-saving feature that filters water from the last load of dishes and uses it to pre-rinse the next load,” she says.
Along with upgraded appliances, other eco-features include integrated LED lighting, larger waste-sorting bins for easier handling of garbage, recycling and compost and a water-saving faucet that reduces water flow while maintaining water pressure.
Because IKEA wanted Sektion to be a more modular system that can be installed in every type of room, the Sektion line is not compatible with the Akurum line. This means that a door or component for Sektion will not work with an Akurum kitchen.
“What is important is that we will meet two different types of customers,” Sjöstrand said. “We will meet the customers who bought Akurum from many, many years ago… and then we will meet the new customers for Sektion. Sektion will give new customers enormous and tremendous opportunities to design new kitchens.”
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Zoffranieri says that the biggest difference with Sektion over Akurum is that “Sektion is a whole new set of even measurements that gives customers the flexibility to customize their kitchen to suit any space.”
“The inside functionality doesn’t dictate the outside aesthetic. You can have a door front with several drawers behind it or one drawer front for every drawer,” Zoffranieri says.
The new Sektion kitchen planner goes online as of Feb. 2, but for those currently designing an Akurum kitchen with the IKEA Kitchen Planner, you’ll still have access to those plans until May 31.
Because of the differences between Akurum and Sektion, users who want to transfer their Akurum plans to the new planner will only be able to move the room dimensions over and nothing else related to the design.
There is still no word on whether an official kitchen planner iPad app will be made available. In the meantime, there are alternative room layout apps that work just as well.
While not related to the new IKEA kitchen, Sjöstrand is sad over the recent news of Target closing up shop in Canada.
“I feel very sorry for the 18,000 workers of Target. I really hope they can find a good place to work,” he said.
The Sektion line of kitchens arrives at IKEA across Canada Feb. 2.
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