Ikea is a guilty pleasure of mine. I love it. I can’t help it. It’s a big box store. Yuck! But they serve Swedish meatballs! With lingonberry jam! And things are simple, and cheap(ish). Maybe it’s the desire for some kind of Scandinavian ethnic identity (I’m a mish-mash of things, not at all Swedish, but a little Norwegian); maybe it’s the desire to live at the center of something big and expansive (the IKEA-verse), or maybe it’s just cultural laziness, but I do love IKEA. I used to take the free shuttle from Port Authority to Elizabeth, New Jersey to visit what was then the closest IKEA (for someone without a car). Once I didn’t buy so much as a Bjorkefall, just ate lunch and came home—full, content, comforted. 

Somehow, though, now that IKEA is in New York City—in Brooklyn, in fact—I haven’t been in years. I haven’t been since I bought bookshelves for my Cambridge apartment (that would be, let’s see, I think about 4 or 5 years ago).

I’ve been right outside the controversial Red Hook IKEA, but never set foot inside it. And they even have a free water taxi shuttle from downtown Manhattan. I’m sure I’ll make it in sooner or later.

I still look at the website while waiting for something to print at work, still page through the catalog when it comes in the mail, still think about IKEA from time to time, and I’m clearly not the only one:

IKEA-fans furious over new catalog typeface
Aparently IKEA has ditched the stylish Futura font for Microsoft’s clunky Verdana (which was designed for legibility online, not in print). Oops.

Beijing loves IKEA–but not for shopping
Chinese IKEAs are popular for just about everything except buying furniture. I’m not the only one who will make the journey for a/c and a meal. I never thought about napping there, though.

IKEA at Liljevalchs
A survey of 60+ years of IKEA design at Liljevalchs, a museum in Stockholm. I suppose I should start advertising my apartment as a permanent collection of late 20th-century IKEA design.

Is There Bauhaus in IKEA?
A thoughtful analysis of IKEA’s design principles in the ever erudite Design Observer.  The author chronicles his first-ever visit to the Swedish super store.

IKEA Hacker
A website devoted to clever re-puposings of IKEA objects. The ubiquitous made personal. 


and my favorite:

IKEA Heights
A 4-part melodrama (full of overacting and potboiler-worthy plots) filmed entirely in the Burbank IKEA. Without the knowledge or consent of IKEA or the shoppers. An oddly compelling repurposing of the space of IKEA itself, and an astute subversion of the private nature of semi-public spaces like IKEA.



This entry was posted on Friday, September 4th, 2009 and is filed under urbanism. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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