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Message: 'I see that it is 20 years sinc...' with Replies

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  • I see that it is 20 years since the first IKEA was opened in the UK. Do you think it has had a beneficial impact in terms of making quality design and style available to the masses or has it led to a sort of banalification in that you see the same thing everywhere. I think they have had quite an impact on the craft sector in terms of their prices and design influence but what is bright and funky one year is tired and dull the next as with Habitat. Love them or hate them it's going to be difficult to ignore them.
    11 Feb '07 - 2.01pm
  • If you want a piece of beautiful hand made furniture, then there are people who can make that for you.
    If what you need is a piece of furniture that is suitable-for-purpose right now and inexpensive (although possibly not that durable), then IKEA probably have what you need. I think it's great that IKEA have contributed towards making simple, clean design popular. I bought a wardrobe from IKEA recently. It's completely made out of chipboard covered in a birch veneer, which means it looks good on the surface, but probably wouldn't stand being moved to another house. Thirty years ago, if I wanted a wardrobe and had the same budget to spend, the nearest affordable option would probably have been 1940's plywood furniture in chiaro-oscuro brown from a secondhand shop. I think the IKEA option is preferable in terms of design (although the secondhand option would win in terms of durability and not wasting resources). If I had the time and money to make a wardrobe myself, that would be ideal!
    13 Feb '07 - 10.25am
  • In a sense IKEA's 'banal' furniture is indistinguishable from 'efficient' furniture (even if it is a very short-term model of efficiency - i.e. limited thought given to environmental impact, formaldehyde in chipboard etc.) Eventually, in any given material, be it wood, metal or whatever, you must surely reach a point where ergonomics and economics combine to create a limited number of ideal solutions, even if ideal solutions from an engineering point of view are not necesarily acceptable from an aesthetic point of view by potential buyers!
    If IKEA didn't do it, someone else would have done. Whenever new materials and production methods become available, it takes some time for people to stop thinking in old ways and start designing specifically for the new medium or method, and then it takes time for those ideas to become affordable. IKEA is Bauhaus for everyone, eighty years or so after Bauhaus!
    13 Feb '07 - 4.20pm
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