Tag Archives | Ikea
If you’ve ever lingered in a display at an Ikea store, wishing you could remain there forever, now is your lucky day. The Globe and Mail reports:
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The Swedes now want to place you and 6,000 neighbours into a neglected corner of your city, design an entire urban world around you, and Ikea-ize your lives. Ikea’s city-building ambition is in a triangle of post-industrial wasteland in the far reaches of East London. Their vision is to turn this grey netherworld into a tightly packed neighbourhood they’ll call Strand East.
This will be an all-rental private neighbourhood, run and overseen by a private company. And here is where living in an Ikea neighbourhood might come to resemble a long day in an Ikea store: The company wants you to be in a neat, clean, pleasant environment. And it very much wants you to have fun. Those things that normally just happen in life will be carefully managed from above.
Normally architects organize space to make the experience as efficient as possible. At IKEA though, however, the (almost 'urban') designers deliberately set out to confuse people. See this phenomenon analyzed [with] various (heat)maps, 3D reconstructions and other illustrations, in a talk (the IKEA case in starts at the 24:30 mark), by Alan Penn (University College London). The presentation focuses on how architects use space to sell things, by demonstrating how space creates patterns of movement, bringing people into contact with goods. It starts off with how spatial quality influences spatial behavior, which is then applied on urban environments, retail and shopping spaces in general.
Like many global companies mass producing goods, Ikea has a past of unjust labor. The Telegraph reports:
Ikea developed strong links with the communist state in the 1970s, opening a number of manufacturing facilities, one of which, according to Stasi records discovered by German television company WDR, used political prisoners to construct sofas.
The factory in Waldheim stood next to a prison, and inmates were used as unpaid labour, it is claimed. Gaols in the Democratic Republic housed significant numbers of political prisoners, with some estimates indicating they made up at least 20 per cent of the entire prison population.
Quoted in a Stasi file, Ingvar Kamprad, Ikea’s founder, said while he had no official knowledge of the use of prison labour, if it did indeed exist “in the opinion of Ikea it would be in society’s interests.”
[Continues at The Telegraph]
IKEA’s business has been booming. Although no one was significantly injured, this coordinated attack had alarm clocks exploding in three different European countries. Via Reuters:
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French, Belgian and Dutch police have launched investigations after minor explosions struck IKEA [IKEA.UL] stores in each country late on Monday in what appears to have been a coordinated attack.
No one was seriously hurt in the blasts at the world’s biggest furniture retailer, although two workers in Belgium suffered minor injuries.
Rigged alarm clocks blew up in IKEA stores in Ghent in Belgium and Lille in France, and there was an explosion in a bin outside the IKEA store in Eindhoven in the Netherlands.
The alarm clocks were linked to small amounts of gunpowder, and prosecutors said they did not think that the bombers had intended to cause significant injury.
“Federal police with dogs did a sweep of other stores but there was nothing suspect that was found,” An Schoonjans, a Ghent prosecutor, told Reuters.
In advertising and window displays, companies invite us to step into a lifestyle which we may access by purchasing their products. Suppose someone took the message too literally? While visiting IKEA with friends, photographer Christian Gideon created a series of pictures in which all facets of daily home life were simulated within the store’s famed mock interiors. The results are hilarious and poignant (with lots of bro bonding). Via My Modern Metropolis:
When a large multinational corporation is looking to cut costs, what does it do? Send jobs overseas to a less modernized country — one where salaries are a fraction of those at home and the law provides few rights or protections for workers — and watch the profits roll in. We are speaking, of course, of Sweden’s IKEA, and Virginia, USA. Is this our economic future? Current reports:
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Here we are, folks. Sweden’s third-world sweatshop. IKEA takes advantage of the destruction to our economy caused by outsourcing jobs by outsourcing their own jobs to the U.S. — and paying less than the workers in Sweden get ($8 in the U.S., $19 + better benefits in Sweden, for making the same products), about 50% of what the median income is in Danville (the town where IKEA’s sweatshop is located), with much stricter and abusive practices in the Danville facility, and with many less rights.