Living in a Box
🍏🍏🍏 I really loved my Billy. Shelf, that is. Unfortunately his life ended after an attempted move, due to faulty assembly. It was truly a sad day.
My fascination with Ikea began at an early age. At one point my mother actually asked Ikea directly — on my behalf — about the color code of a very specific acidic green room at the warehouse. I had fallen head over heals for this tart apple crunchy space and my mother must have found it refreshing that I didn’t request anything pink. It lasted for about two years, before my MUJI phase surpassed Ikea and my room was painted chalky zen white (more on that in a later post) and Ikko Tanaka was everything.
But I digress, as Ikea was in many ways my first encounter with interior design and my mother let me dream and play and put things on wish lists, my Billy shelf included. When the yearly Ikea catalogue arrived in the mail I was ECSTATIC. I smelled the pages, fresh from the printer (incredulously enough, it still has a the same exact smell, albeit with a new font, Google Noto!) and dog-eared the items I so desperately wanted to have in my room, although it was already crammed to the rim with thingamajigs.
I’ve noticed Ikea on other fronts recently, as they opened their greenest outpost to date in Greenwich, London, billed as «the world’s most sustainable Ikea store», focussing on «user interaction through workshops and activities» (such as free-for-all yoga and meditation). It has a Learning Lab where you can book courses on how to «reduce, re-use and recycle». They’ve also recently invested in two massive solar farms and are completely rethinking their business model to include leasing of furniture in a circular model (as the majority of the company’s emission come fra raw virgin materials). I just don’t know what to make of this. Ikea is the place you go to buy a door knob (JUST THE ONE, PLEASE), and end up with ten (due to their clever way of managing their warehouse and placing «indispensable» items like neon colored napkins and Art Deco dishwashing brushes by the cash registers).
Fast Company has written a lot of really interesting content about Ikea lately, especially on how Ikea is struggling—and have to deal with massive restructuring as they’re set to slash 7500 jobs. They’ve been unable to keep up with the post-Amazon world of click-and-buy-two-day-delivery, and are now battling with their future identity.
As both a consumer, and designer, I feel confused when dealing with giants like Ikea. They have the money to put on a slick coat of acid green paint and appear eco friendly, but how are they actually changing things when the Billy, my once trustworthy companion is still in production, in its similar rickety-rackety state? 🍏🍏🍏