Posts tagged “IKEA”

My car, my coalmine

I have unintentionally discovered a new way to test my comfort level with what I am consuming. In three separate events, aggressive olfactory triggers suggest that what I am putting into my car (and my home and my life) may be more toxic than I realize.

#1 the guest bed I went to IKEA a few months ago to get a SOLSTA sofa bed. An employee helped me get that giant box into my Honda Element but my 8 year-old, Max, and I could not get it out of the car and into the house, so it stayed in my vehicle. For a week. And my car smelled horrific. Like I had left a to-go container of MDF-laced dinner in there. I began to have serious reservations about putting that piece of funky smelling furniture in my home and inviting my guests to sleep on it.

#2 the luggage I hosted some friends from out of town for the weekend. When they picked me up in my car so I could take them to the airport, I was startled by the olfactory assault of marijuana; a smell that apparently infiltrated their luggage while sitting in my home for a weekend. Thanks to California Proposition 215, marijuana is legal in our state for those who have a prescription and, it turns out, my downstairs neighbors are card-carrying members of a medical marijuana clinic. I hadn’t noticed that scent in my home and then I got a whiff of suitcases that had sat in my car for less than 10 minutes. Thanks to my vehicle, I became aware of what my son and I had been unassumingly consuming. It’s worth noting that since I brought this to my neighbor’s attention they have taken to smoking outside and using an air filter.

#3 the bike I got Max a new bicycle. He’s still learning to ride so it spends most of its time parked in our garage. When we loaded up the car for a road trip to Napa last weekend, I decided to bring the bike. About 30 minutes into the journey, Max started complaining of a headache and we both became aware of the stench of rubbery bicycle toxicity emanating from the back of the car. No matter how many windows we rolled down we could find no relief. The odor was completely overwhelming. When I found a park and finally pulled that bike out of the car he refused to ride it. It’s now back in the garage and I am wondering if Max will ever want to ride it.

Sadly, the car still reeks of bicycle and the garage has become yet another coalmine where the canary of my consumption fights for breath.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from steve_portigal] User-Led Innovation Can’t Create Breakthroughs; Just Ask Apple and Ikea [Co.Design] – [This old saw again! As if user insights and strong vision are incompatible? Shame on FastCo for this hyperbolic crap.] We asked friends on the Apple design team about user-centric design. “It’s all bullshit and hot air created to sell consulting projects and give insecure managers a false sense of security. We don't waste our time asking users, we build our brand through creating great products we believe people will love." IKEA designers don’t use user studies or user insights to create their products. “We tried and it didn’t work..”Of course, neither will say this publicly since both are extremely closed companies and would risk offending users (and the design community) by speaking out against user-centeredness. Since no one will speak up, the false value of the user-as-leader has spread. The best brands are guided by a clear vision for the world, a unique set of values, and a culture that makes them truly unique and that no user insights could ever change.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Words Move Me – Sony adds social networking around reading (but doesn’t seem you can *buy*) – "Words move me" was created by Sony to celebrate the words that move us and to share our reading experiences with others. Connecting with readers around literary moments enables us to express our individuality, share our own stories, and find commonalities with others.
    (Thanks @gpetroff)
  • Sony’s Daily Reader – Kindle Competition: Touchscreen Plus AT&T, for $399 – Includes software to link with local libraries and check out a library-based electronic book. Also has portrait reading mode (showing two pages), touchscreen, and broadband wireless access to add books without a PC.
  • IKEA as destination retail, in Beijing – Although the store is designed similarly to Western IKEAs, the meaning and usage has changed. In Beijing, It's a place to rest and eat, more theme park than shopping emporium.
  • The lost art of reading: David Ulin on the challenge of focus in an era of distraction – Who do we want to be, she asks, and how do we go about that process of becoming in a world of endless options, distractions, possibilities? These are elementary questions, and for me, they cycle back to reading, to the focus it requires. When I was a kid, maybe 12 or 13, my grandmother used to get mad at me for attending family functions with a book. Back then, if I'd had the language for it, I might have argued that the world within the pages was more compelling than the world without; I was reading both to escape and to be engaged. All these years later, I find myself in a not-dissimilar position, in which reading has become an act of meditation, with all of meditation's attendant difficulty and grace. I sit down. I try to make a place for silence. It's harder than it used to be, but still, I read. (via Putting People First)

Low footprint Halloween

We went to a Halloween costume party yesterday. The invite urged/threatened us to create a costume with an emphasis on recycling, so we put together silly costumes that made use of materials we had around the house. We used a bit of tape and a bit of thread, but it was all stuff that was unused or eventually going into the garbage (as much of it did, today).

Chain taken from an old conference badge. Badge is the reflector from the Ikea “LOCK” light fixture for the headgear, UPC code from empty box of Kong treats.

Found chain with binder rings and shower ring as holster, battery pack with expired batteries and a storage box from wall-mounting hardware.

Guns made from old bathroom faucet valve stems and closet hooks. One screwed right into the other easily.

We took apart an IKEA “Lock” light fixture, and inverted it and stitched it to a baseball cap (with the cap’s button poking through the base’s hole of the same size), then taped the socket upside on top, with the wire connectors as deely-bopper-style endings for the wires.

And the result? Pretty silly!

I’m in the Boston Globe!

I’m featured in The Boston Globe (registration required) in an article about the cultural impact of IKEA.

Its prices are just one way IKEA is altering how America decorates
By Linda Matchan, Globe Staff | November 3, 2005

STOUGHTON — When the Swedish home furnishings giant IKEA opened its first US store 20 years ago, the country wasn’t quite sure what to make of it.

”An anomaly to furniture retailing,” concluded HFD, a furniture trade publication, in an article called ”The IKEA impact.”

”IKEA’s main strength is that it is selling hype,” one furniture manufacturer commented suspiciously.

Fast forward two decades, and it’s hard to imagine a home furnishings company that’s had more impact on design and home furnishings retailing than the anomaly called IKEA, which, as it turns out, has sold a whole lot more than just hype. Last year, IKEA’s cash registers rang up more than$2 billion worth of products, among them such signature IKEA items as an $80 Po?ng armchair; a $40 Billy bookcase; a $200 Klippan sofa; and the all-time IKEA bestseller, Glimma tea lights, $3 for a bag of 100. (Not to mention 371,041,280 Swedish meatballs, according to an IKEA bulletin dispatched Oct. 26.)

”To me it’s an amazing emotional experience when I walk through IKEA and see how much stuff I can get for under $10 — and these are all things I already own,” says Steve Portigal, founder of Portigal Consulting, a California firm specializing in research, design, and business strategy.

”And yet I find myself thinking, ‘This is a cool watering can,’ and then fighting the urge to buy seconds and thirds. The low barrier to purchasing things, and the ease with which you can buy more of something you already have, doesn’t make me feel very good,” he says.


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