I don’t often get to Ikea – a car being a prerequisite for visiting most of them. Or it’s a tortuous walk down the edge of the motorway. Or a train, then a bus, then humping a yellow bag all the way back again. Living in London, it is a wonder they haven’t cottoned on to the idea of Ikea Metro stores yet.
The whole Ikea thing fascinates me when I do get to one. The route planning taking you through room set after room set. The paper rulers. The café with vibrant green cakes. The meatballs. The shortcuts through to the marketplace..
This glorious ode to call it design, pile it high, sell it cheap is always rather smarter than I expect. In-store graphics are pretty darn tasteful. The product designs on sale nice and simple – for the most part. Although it doesn’t do to get too close to a lot of it. And some of the food packaging is really very well designed.
The fact that everyone seems to know how Ikea is ‘done’ is also interesting to me. Uncomplainingly, shoppers do all the work for the store. There isn’t much help to be had. You choose, find, hump your own flat pack furniture to the tills. And then load up the car, take it home, unpack and make it up yourself. Job done. By you.
This weekend the leftover toys from Christmas were everywhere. Tugging at the hearts of children bored of room after room of suburban-style Scandi. Surreal shelves piled high with furry polar bears, kangaroos, crocodiles, elephants, rats. Some lonely decimated shelves, with one or two unwanted fur things on them. It was like toy road kill in there.