Before talking about IKEA the Book: Designers, Products and Other Stuff, let me give you an idea about where I am coming from. Last month a prominent Indian apparel firm wanted to feature me on one of their social media channels. They wanted a full length picture of mine in a style that was me. I told them I would give it a pass because I have no style and it would be very difficult to find a full length picture of mine!
I guess my deep aversion to design has something to with the prices they come at. What is designer, would usually cost my half year’s salary. And with that kind of money I could actually travel to Antarctica, you get the drift, that is where I come from.
Well, Ikea the Book changed that perception. I wonder why I didn’t think of style or design in terms of functional and reasonably priced! I have now finished reading the book which has about 384 pages. But it is still a fast read. A lot of pages showcase the designs of Ikea through the ages. Maybe that is why it is a fast read. It has many pages that are ‘look’ rather than ‘read’ pages.
The author, Staffan Bengtsson interviews many Ikea designers like Noboru Nakamura, Maria Vinka and Lennart Ekmark among others. There is an interview with founder Ingvar Kamprad as well. The passion of Ikea for accessible design or what they call ‘better everyday life for many’ shines through.
As Ikea do not have any stores in India yet, I am not really familiar with their products other than two that they gave to me. One is the Stolle Dala Horse and other the Lykta table lamp which is made in India. My daughter plays with the horse and my brother-in-law Amrit is using the lamp. I can’t say much about Chhavi as she is more interested in dropping the horse and scratching it to see if it can withstand all that, my brother-in-law is surely enjoying the lamp.
I actually would have not written about the products if I did not read the book. I would credit Ikea the Book for igniting an initial spark for affordable design in me.
PS. I was invited as an academic by Ikea India to attend Ikea + India 2025, an event held at 4 Points by Sheraton. The book, table lamp and the horse were Ikea’s way of saying thank you for my time. I told them that if they ever needed people to gate crash I would make time.