One might begin with thanking oneself, especially if one plans on signing up to my blog, or following me in any capacity, that though I share an intense and passionate relationship with Ikea, I don’t strictly follow it’s winning strategy! Well, you could’ve found yourself faced with a couple of paragraphs of text, a few random images and a minimalistic title that suggested that putting it together with any level of comprehension is not just attainable, but also extremely self gratifying!
If you’ve been there and know what I’m talking about, you’ve worked out one of the greater feats of an expert amateur, welcome to the world of doityourself!!
Mikael Ohlsson, IKEA Group’s chief executive reiterates that an inherent dislike of waste is at the heart of the design giant, one that resonates with my own sense of “if you wanna junk it, don’t make someone else pay”. He speaks about the company’s thriftiness by highlighting one of it’s fastest selling item, the carnation red Ektorp sofa, a three seater, which once had a place in my own start-up life, and which has now been packed further ‘ingeniously’, or in ikeaspeak, flat-ter, doubling the amount of sofa per given space. A tiny little tweak like that slashed costing by £100, a lot to someone like myself, who moves home about every five years, and finds themselves holding the short end of the stick whilst budgeting homeware, and other such life essentials. Ikea’s ingenuity, above it’s immediate supply/demand gains, appreciably reduces the carbon footprint from it’s shipping. Win-win. What’s not to love ?!
In case you were wondering – no, I’m not an affiliate member and no, I gain nothing by championing it! I do hold out hope of someday getting a custom designed egg-cup for my valiant hurrah of why the company means something to me. I also hope that it would be one that doubles as a compact mirror designed to fit efficiently into one of my credit card slots! Never say never -clearly, you haven’t paid close attention to the product on page number %$&& in the current catalogue!!
My love of the brand probably harks back to a long standing resentment of living in a world that tacitly accepts, even extols Planned Obsolescence – a policy of planning or designing something with a limited productive life, so it becomes unusable, or unfeasible at best, after a certain period of time.
Who of us hasn’t felt propelled to buy a mobile phone sooner than we’ve really needed, just so it supports the newest apps, functionality or if nothing better, only for it’s perceived social value. My gripe here goes all the way back to when I was 16 and was made to buy a text book, which was ‘New and Improved’ only because of three chapters switched around and 6 additional mathematical problems! The cheek!!
To make matters worse, my existing, extremely competent and functional phone is rivalled by one that boasts an impressive 41MP camera. Mind you, a semi-professional dSLR stops at a modest 18! I can’t get the relevance of a 41mp camera on the NewGen Smartphones, and won’t, till I see a wedding photographer accept it as weapon of choice and still walk away with a paycheck, respect notwithstanding, but I’m not exactly immune! And just as quickly as I mock it, let me add that my Samsung Galaxy III has drastically gone down in street-cred from it’s mere mention!
Here again is why Ikea works as a larger symbol of my lifestyle choice… if one has no say in the matter, but to live with the disastrous consequences of planned obsolescence, it won’t hurt to keep it cheap, and recyclable! Being one of those who lives by flights of fancy – having eaten off paper plates in a small, yet indulgent flurry of “Street-food” themed nights; toyed with Orla Kiely melamine (if only to override the subsconscious screams of protest at the cheaper kinds), and played “Mother “with my precious, if limited quantities of Denby and Emma Bridgwater, I’d say that being fickle comes at a price, and one I’m not inclined to pay.
For a modest sum, I can redesign and reinvent my entire aesthetic, and afford to be clumsy too, it’s like I was the protype demographic the company designed for! Trying to get me to be stable and have a set, inflexible style is about as productive as starting to learn Swedish without accepting humbly that S,K,Y,N,D actually go together, often in that precise order…
If it wasn’t for Ikea, most of us urban dwellers would be lost for choice when it came to affordable contemporary design! There is a certain comfort of a well spent investment (read: Bang for Buck) when you’ve just set up a bed named after a Norwegian city, and nestled yourself comfortably under bedding that borrows it’s nomenclature from flora and fauna!
Yes, there’s a whole host of us that can be kept well-lit and satisfied on the Lersta till we’re comfortably settled in with an Arne Jacobsen !
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