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Objectified Simplicity

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been partial to IKEA. Perhaps it was all in the calculated simplicity of the products or maybe it had to do with a fascination in Scandinavian design. In any case, my mild obsession with the Swedish furniture retailer was always somewhat inexplainable – I just knew that I loved going to IKEA even if it was to to walk through the showrooms.

Yet, it wasn’t until the middle of the documentary that everything clicked: the appeal of IKEA lies in the form and function of their simple products. Alice Rawsthorn explains that the goal of industrial design has always been mass production resulting in the creation of standardized products that can be consumed by millions. IKEA seems to have nailed this; the standardization of their furniture and household products understands people and what they need.

And yes, one could argue that the lack of creativity in their goods yields homogeneity in their design and consequently, arbitrariness and thoughtlessness in their products; however, I believe that simplicity and minimalism is an indication of good design – just look to the ubiquity of Apple products for evidence.

 

Christine Bang

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