IKEA has served as a springboard to the world towards modernity, changing the way people inhabit spaces and making it affordable to furnish a whole house with a very reduced budget.
Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad has died, on the 27th of January, aged 91, after building the empire of -do it yourself mate-.
Ingvar Kamprad. Photo: Björn Larsson Ask/SvD/TT.
Despite its usefulness and pleasant looks that have evolved through the years, some people agree that this company, which promised to create a better everyday life for the many people, has declined into the kitsch and the banal, aesthetically speaking.
At the same time, the company has been accused of boosting our throwaway culture and like Laura Collins mentions in her article: “Is the Ikea comfy or creepy?”. We may need to stop and think in which way this molds our routines and our attitudes.
Nevertheless, we need to recognise that the success of Ikea, either by lack of resources for us to be able to buy more expensive objects or perhaps by pure desire, it’s real and that it has shaped a new lifestyle for a big percent of the population.
Today we would like to give you a basic guide to build up your own idea of the man who found Ikea and his company:
- Ingvar Kamprad started as a child making a good profit from selling cheap matchboxes to neighbours from his bicycle.
- The name for the company came from his initials (I.K.) and the first letters of the farm and town on which he grew up (Elmtaryd y Agunnaryd).
- In 1950 he started selling furniture made by local manufacturers close to his home. However it wasn’t until 1956, when trying to fit a table into the boot of his car, he came up with the idea of the flat-packed.
- Ingvar Kamprad had contact with Swedish fascist leader Per Engdahl. He apologised in a letter to his employees and mention that was “a part of my life which I bitterly regret”.
- Ikea has one of the most elaborate tax evasion schemes of any company that operates within the law.
- IKEA is the world’s third-largest consumer of wood in the world.
- It has been calculated that at least 10% of the children born in Europe have been conceived in an Ikea bed.
- Nearly 1 for every 100 people has a Billy bookcase at home, even Bloomberg uses them.
Billy bookcase one of Ikea best's seller.
- The only markets it has not reached yet are India and Latin America.
- The Ikea Catalogue has been compared to the most popular books alongside the Bible.
- Their catalogues are designed to reflect the differences in product range by region. For example, houses in China or Japan are much smaller than in other countries, in this case, catalogue designers will crop main images and then design a cute but small home.
Differences appreaciated in catalogues.
- The iconic but controversial meatballs generated €1.8 billion in sales last year.
- Despite Kamprad’s wealth, he was known for his frugal habits, such as buying clothes in flee markets, driving 20 year old cars or flying with easyJet (nothing to criticise here!)