Harikrishnan Sasidharan

25 February · Kollam ·

The power of design.

Being a graduate student in Europe is a tough task. In addition to the hassles of managing your studies and life, you need to take care of your finances. Every moment of shopping, you do a quick math that converts the prices of the essentials to native money and comparing how much the same cost in your country, often ending with a sigh.

Cometh the hour cometh the thing. IKEA .

My love for Ikea starts with its super cheap breakfast. I used to stay in that part of Delft where I could cycle to the largest Ikea concept store in Europe in less than 5 minutes. It was a deal not to be missed when you had some spare time.

Sweden has given the world cultural concepts such as “lagom” (just enough) and “fika” (coffee break) selling everything from food to fashion around the globe and Ikea has always embraced these aspects in its business with great success.
In addition to food, they sell everything that a home maker needs and at a bargain. The beauty of it all is, how this linear sequence of well designed spaces arranged with great thought and taste unfolds while you move along with the blue frakta shopping bag, a paper tape as ruler and a pencil. The space was a mecca for an architect and a relief for a poor student having hunger pangs after a long walk along the floors marked with arrows so as not to be lost amidst design.

The man behind it all Ingvar Kamprad died recently. His story is an inspiration. Its not an easy task to build a thing from scratch. He made Ikea the largest retailer of furniture in the world. His idea of packing furniture as flat bed pieces made the business flourish.

After my first semester of study I decided to part with the cosy company of my Indian house mates and embrace the hospitality of a true dutch house, and to broaden my cultural perceptions. I had a tiny room in a big apartment shared with a Belgian and a Dutch. After several visits to Ikea I could design its minimal space to my taste, in a budget. I made use of the flat pack by assembling a cart out of supermarket trolleys ( the innovation credit goes to the genius of an engineer Ashish Nigam ) and pulling the packs back. The saved Euros of transportation always helped to have better belgian beers on the weekends.

Ikea, the man and the story needs a lot of recognition for taking quality design to the masses. And its an enduring reminder that quality and originality thrives amidst all the chaos and copycats

  1. I leave out the political support of IK to fascism and his alcoholism, out of this post as i am not doing an analysis of the guy.

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