Monday, November 11, 2013

Horses for Courses and Scandinavian Furniture for my Apartment

My apartment is now a home. A nice, cozy living area, and a sleek, minimalist desk means I can spend these long, cold and wet Leuven evenings with a little more comfort. Thanks to IKEA. The convenience of Swedish consumerism means that I can furnish a new apartment in a new country in 2 days flat, 1 day spent at IKEA itself, and 1 day spent assembling the stuff.

IKEA has been selling mass-produced, beautifully designed furniture (and other items for home-improvement) at relatively cheap prices at its stores around the world since the 1950s. It specializes in "flat-pack", dis-assembled furniture made from MDF or medium-density-fibre, a wood-like product that is engineered from wood-residuals and is lighter than ordinary wood, making it easier to transport. Transferring the labour required to put it together to the consumer reduces its cost and also gives them a sense of achievement. And every time I put together a piece of IKEA furniture, I get exactly this, together with an appreciation for design, carpentry, space-saving packaging and clear, diagrammatic instructions that are easy to follow regardless of whether you speak Swedish or Swahili. My only hope is that no horses were harmed in the making of this furniture*.

* "Horsemeat found in Ikea meatballs in Czech Republic"

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