Sunday, September 3, 2017

IKEA 2018 Catalogue* - Review - *this is crazy!

first impression

*I star it because I have the Canadian edition. But the personal stories in the catalogue are international - you really do feel like a citizen of the world reading it. SO accessible - I think every household in Toronto gets one in the mail, and I am certain that if you did not get one than you can call up IKEA and request one. In this digital age, print format still rules - I was surprised how many people 'phoned-in their RSVP' for my show/talk last year, even though instructions were clear to reply by e-mail - technology can be a barrier to some. 

Back to the catalogue, though! It's wonderfully square, reading it feels like browsing on a wide screen - a nice comforting feeling, a lot of us are used to that 'widescreen format'. Paper good as usual, glossy, good quality print. 

I will not talk about the tastefully arranged interiors featuring exclusively IKEA products - encompassing all aspects of living. The offering - products and ideas - is so wide, that it boggles the mind how one company can manage to do it so well. Their size makes them incredibly influential - with great power comes great responsibility - and IKEA shows how to do it well. 

*edit: but I will say that a lot of the floors in that catalogue are crazy expensive - I don't know if you can get more expensive than large format herringbone, for example - having done a lot of floors in my life. 

If IKEA is paying any attention to what is happening in the world of design it will not be able to avoid the fact that it's products are hacked. I defined it as a conscious creative act of taking an IKEA product and altering it in a way - can be creative or utilitarian intent. You cannot imagine my glee when I read that there are 2 [TWO!!!] chapters dedicated to IKEA hacking! One - on an individual level - how can one become a hacker themselves! Yeezus! Straight from IKEA's mouth - that's a legal statement I would argue! For sure that chapter was very well reviewed by IKEA legal. 

Another chapter - IKEA + Tom Dixon. Shut up! Tom Dixon?!! Tom Dixon is probably the most well known and respected name in Design - a giant monolith with no natural predators - Wikipedia lists him as a self taught designer - I carefully studied his furniture designs - I am furniture designer myself [I list that as my obsession] - so I would like to say that even though I am nowhere near the greatness of Tom Dixon, I can say that we share similar experience of designing furniture - if not passion for furniture. AND they use the word 'hacking' - this is a first too! Official! Printed copy 4 every1 2 see! That's a legal statement - right there! I guess all the big lawyers at IKEA had a meeting - I wonder if their team is international? like they have someone from the US / N. America?, surely there exists a European Union division - so they had a meeting, and they figured it out that this 'IKEA hacking' isn't going away, it's here to stay and likely get larger, so might as well take a stance on it. And what do they do? What is IKEA's opening salvo in the IKEA Hacking world? - TOM DIXON. That's HUGE! 

So, imagine that in the world IKEA Hackers - usually, average ordinary people - Community* - mind you on the crafty and creative side, but never really big, famous names - maybe with the exception of that Balenciaga, $2145 knock-off of IKEA Frakta bag ! [get out of here with your knock off Balenciaga! and c'mon! $2145 for a bag like that?!! that's undemocratic!! - I yell from the stage]. And suddenly you get the biggest name in design thrown in! Is that even compatible? What will be the result? There is a process - I have to read more in-depth to cast my verdict though. Curiosity though! - the final 'hacked' product will be available both at IKEA and Tom Dixon - I am wondering about the price point, go check out Tom Dixon on-line

*First edit: This collaboration, with the participation of Tom Dixon's students from the design classes that he teaches at renowned and prestigious design schools - they floated some interesting ideas - but it appears that anyone will be able to collaborate on the design with IKEA. I think this is the world's first such 'relationship' - the scale - 1 to 1 - an individual with a giant. I mean, relationships like these existed before - design butique firms that specialize in small batch productions, productions that larger companies just would not bother with, there is no money in it. And here we are facing the case of 'the smallest batch production of 1'. It is as if we are back at the arts and crafts era, when jobs were artisanal - people were making in a fashion that a broom-maker could exchange work with a shoe-maker or a baker - very intimate personal relationships. Maybe I am thinking too much about it. 


Anyways, it's late already and I got to wake-up at a decent hour tomorrow. Rest assured I will add to this later.

Ciao!
*I defined IKEA Hacking by its three core pillars - Accessibility, Affordability, Community,