Inside Story, a current affairs and cultural studies newsletter from Swinburne University of Technology in Australia, has published an interesting article exploring the uncluttered influence of Ikea. “Decluttering with IKEA” explores a shopper’s desire to buy more to look like he has less.
Since many of our Workspace of the Week features include furniture from Ikea, it’s apparent that a good number of our readers (myself included) feel drawn to the clean lines and modern aesthetic Ikea offers. However, as the article points out, Ikea is a marvel at offering products that contain stuff instead of actually forcing their owners to purge. So, have we all been tricked or are only some Ikea shoppers tempted by the idea of uncluttering instead of the reality?
From the article:
… while IKEA encourages us to subscribe to the modernist design aesthetic that less is more, it manages at the same time to convince us — and this is the truly brilliant bit — that more is less. By means of a sophisticated sequence of in-store placements and displays, we are led to buy not just a sofa but a lamp and some drinking glasses and some other bits and pieces as well, all the while under the illusion that the process being engaged in is not one of randomly accumulating stuff but of de-cluttering and streamlining an overcrowded life. It is no mean achievement that IKEA has continued to embody in the public mind the modernist ideals of simplicity and minimalism yet all the while its total product range has been growing — to the point where, by 2010, it comprised some 12,000 items.
I’m interested to know what you think of the article. Check it out and then come back and lend your voice to the discussion.