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Interview, Ikea, edibles

Wednesday's interview went well, I think. It's easy to help show off how interesting someone is when he's a good speaker, well-practiced on the topic, and congenial.

One of my favorite short notes in The Shock of the Old, whose author I was interviewing, is the example of Ikea, whose owner is one of the world's richest men. Ikea is a good example of the importance of manufacturing and the lack of attention it receives in rich countries, with greater attention paid to brands and retailing. This modern, cutting edge company made its fortune through wooden furniture, not just the branding and retailing, but the manufacturing as well. The Billy bookcase has sold something like 40 million cases since it was launched at the end of the 1970s. No wonder, therefore, that Ikea is regularly in the news. Here are some recent highlights:

Ikea news
Ikea does tapas
Couple sued for installing Ikea kitchen.
Ikea makes a Billy bookcase version covered with quotes by Shakespeare and others.

I encountered the Ikea food-related articles over the past weeks via The Food Section, one of my favorite sources of food-themed news, which also tells me the Tim Burton's White Queen, in the new Alice in Wonderland movie, is based on Nigella.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
black_faery
Feb. 26th, 2010 10:33 am (UTC)
I love the Billy bookcases. Sturdy and deep enough to double-stack paperbacks, they're great.

My only real issue with Ikea is the cost of delivery - it would cost me more than the cost of a new bookcase to get one delivered!
owlfish
Feb. 26th, 2010 10:41 am (UTC)
Ah, the cost of delivery and assembly is one of his points too. That the store is designed to cater primarily to people who go and collect their own furniture and assemble it themselves. (Just think how different this was from a century or so ago when the default middle class model assumed some "help" around the place to do such chores.)

From his article "The Stuff of Technofantasy" in the New Scientist (January 27, 2007):
"IKEA subverts the modern and postmodern notions of what we are technologically in another way: it has shifted part of the production and transportation of furniture away from specialist (employed) producers back to the household. The company has created a new middle-class urban peasantry which has to load, transport and build its own furniture, though in new ways, of course."
black_faery
Feb. 26th, 2010 10:45 am (UTC)
I can appreciate that - and in the past I have fortunately had my parents (with Volvo estate) living locally. However, they're now in Cumbria and I have downsized from a Fiesta to a two-seater MG, so transporting stuff just isn't easily done any more! I love putting Ikea furniture together, though... :-)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )