Monday, April 03, 2006
This weekend I returned to IKEA, it's my first time inside an IKEA store in what seems like a long, long time. There was a period when we first moved into this house, when the kids were much younger that we were constantly going over and spending a couple of grand and then returning half the stuff the next day due to missing parts or damaged pieces, I remember my sores from the allen keys fondly due to the distance in time that separates me from the actual experience. IKEA is unique, a phenomenon of our times, the maturation of modernism, Bauhaus ideals made real through world markets, huge production and the cleverness of the designs to be made accessible to the masses. I love IKEA, not as much as Apple, their customer service could be better and I don't understand why they always manage to miss a couple of screws or plastic thingies out of at least one box. It’s almost as if it’s a conspiracy to get you back into the store. Once you go back to return stuff or get additional missing parts you have to buy Swedish frozen yogurt and Swedish coffee or go to the restaurant and eat Swedish meat balls to wile away the time while you wait for you ticket number to be called in the area set aside for returns. Sometimes you take your well-worn copy of their catalog along for reading material and end up deciding to buy a new kitchen, you know, as you’re there already. After all you’ve got the truck in one of the prized parking spots right up front, you can actually see it outside the yellow sliding doors just past the 10 foot high red letters that spell out Hej Då which is of course is Swedish for good bye. The reason I love IKEA is because they have made ordinary people aware of, if not great design, good functional affordable style. I also love the system of buying a kit; it reminds me of my childhood building Airfix models with all the little parts that need to be glued together. Anyway Saturday we bought the furniture, Sunday we returned it and got the replacement parts and then Sunday evening Ingrid (my daughter) and I built it.
The art that accompanies this piece is taken from the IKEA directions for assembly. These directions are one of the greatest examples of information graphics on the planet, no words, works in 50,000 countries and on 74 planets even the dog could use them, if only he had a thumb for the allen key. I love precise diagrammatical drawings with scribbles, yin and yang.
The art will be posted in about 1 hour from now.