Flat pack to the future: how Ikea shaped our lives | Nell FrizzellOct 8, 2017 6:00
Thirty years ago Ikea opened its first store in the UK. It’s had a huge impact on our homes – and us, says Nell Frizzell
I have measured out my life in coffee spoons and mattresses, bath mats and bookcases, cushions and double duvets. These touchstones of my life may seem sporadic – the cooking pot I went off to university with, the first towel I bought (rather than stole from my mother), the rucksack I wore during my pregnancy, the changing table that will, I hope, one day serve as my child’s desk – but they all unite under a single Swedish philosophy: “To create a better everyday life for the many people.”
I didn’t know about this philosophy until I stood, bathed in the gentle air of meatballs, in the foyer of the Ikea Museum in Älmhult, Småland and read it off a giant white wall beside a portrait of the Ikea founder, Ingvar Kamprad. The museum, which opened in 2016 on the site of Ikea’s first ever store, tells the story not only of Swedish life via its common household objects (not to mention the more arresting ones such as “bog ore” and “sausage horn”), but gives a glimpse into the life of Kamprad, his staff, those early furniture experiments (denim divan, anyone?) and the unlikely rise to global proportions of this small, backwood business. Continue reading...