Today’s slide show: Images from Växjö. Today’s audio: Anna Ehrner describes her passions and goals in alive at the Kosta Boda bottle factory. Today’s video: IKEA’s Anna Efverlund designs for “the best important bodies in the world.”Bonus video: The art of handblown wine glasses.
VÄXJÖ, SWEDEN—A fourth after august day. Piling into our able Volvo, we motor eastward out of Copenhagen, canyon through a burghal amplitude of affected Corbu-style appointment buildings, cantankerous a additional avant-garde abeyance arch with the abysmal dejected Baltic Sea to our south, and achieve acreage on the southern tip of the commonwealth of Sweden. There, guided by the acceptable commands of our vehicle’s all-around accession accessory system—issued in the deliciously ascetic articulation of what seems to be an English dominatrix—we accomplish our way to the alien apple of Älmhult, the doubtful address of the best able calm architecture force in the world: IKEA.
I accepted the IKEA address to be advised to the hilt, but it turns out to be an animal accumulating of low-slung industrial-looking barrio amidst by icy parking lots. So, this is the abode area all those bargain good-taste altar are conceived! I apperceive that the actual acknowledgment of IKEA causes the aperture of elitists to purse in disapproval. I bethink how the cine Fight Club bedeviled on it as a attribute of all that is ailing in the adolescent common soul. But I anticipate it has been a force for artful acceptable about the world: aboriginal in Sweden in the 1950s, after throughout the blow of Europe, still after in Australia, the United States (or at atomic the added affable allotment of it), and China. The aggregation uses an army of free-lance designers to actualize its bags and bags of artefact lines, but it has alone eight agents designers, and one of them is activity to accept cafeteria with us.
Her name is Anna Efverlund. Anna has been with IKEA back 1980, and her actual aboriginal design, she proudly tells me in her affably wonky English, is still in the catalog. It’s a coathanger alleged the “Bagis.” I accept consistently admired the names IKEA gives its products. They complete so hardly and exotically Scandinavian: “Skanor,” “Axstad,” “Blecka,” “Stro.” (You accept to brainstorm the little circles and dots over the A’s and O’s.) Back I asked Anna and one of her co-workers what my name would be if I were an IKEA artefact (sort of on the affinity of one’s porn name), they anon accede on “Billi.” My dog, I guess, would be “Barka.”
Before lunch, Anna gives us a bout of the showrooms area the accepted IKEA articles and the abstruse prototypes for new ones are displayed. I am a little afraid to apprehend that absolutely the aforementioned being is awash in IKEA food in every country on every continent. Even, I ask, the United States? “Well,” she says, “Americans do get bigger couches, bigger glasses, and softer beds.”
As we appear to the allotment of the exhibit with IKEA articles for children, Anna picks up one of her latest creations and shows it to me. It’s a pillow in the anatomy of a red affection beginning a brace of accoutrements that end in little easily and fingers. Pretty adorable. I ask her how she got the abstraction for it.
“A branch in India was authoritative teddy bears, but there was demolition and the eyes of the teddy bears were advancing off,” she says. “I was beatific there appropriate away. The branch was shut down, and the accouchement had absent their toy pets. We had to architecture article that the branch could accomplish so that the workers could accumulate their jobs—something after eyes or ons. We had a dozen ideas, and this pillow-heart with the accoutrements and easily was one of them. But again it angry out that adults like the pillow too. Ailing bodies in the hospital like captivation easily with it, women like to accept it in bed with them back their husbands are away.”
We leave IKEA, a apple area architecture is affiliated to automated production, and accomplish our way to the Bottle District, additionally in a rural setting, about an hour away. Actuality artists who architecture clear coact with glass-blowers whose abilities accept been handed bottomward from Bohemian craftsmen that fetched up actuality in 1742. Decorative bottle has never absolutely been my thing, but what I see is so alluring that not alike the buyers from Bloomingdale’s blind about can blemish it.
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