Monday, September 07, 2009

Ikea Culture

We live in an Ikea world. I like to find excuses to visit the nearest Ikea in Palo Alto to lunch in their cafeteria, eating either a smoked salmon plate or Swedish meatballs with Lingonberry jam. The cafeteria has a great view over the South Bay and the East Bay hills. However the reason for this post is to note that Ikea has been popping up in the conversation all over the world.

In China, the Ikea stores have become a great success, for the people, if not for Ikea. This LA Times story reports that Chinese people are flocking to the local Ikea store, to test the bedding, hang out and eat in the cafeteria, maybe even buy some plates, just not to buy anything big.

Meanwhile in LA itself, several young aspiring producers have noticed that an Ikea store is just like a movie studio with lots of little well lit sets showing off bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens. Just the place to make a short episode on the cheap. The actors mike up with wireless mikes outside, rush in and take a few shots and then rush out before any employees notice. Here is Ikea Hights, a soap opera, and here is a send up of The Real World.

Finally, as reported in the New York Times, there has been outrage over the decision by Ikea to change the font in their latest catalog from Futura to Verdana. Futura is a well respected modern san-serif font that suits the Ikea style. Verdana is the generic Microsoft version of a san-serif font that comes on every computer with Windows. I am not sure why this is so important, are these people really complaining that Ikea has lowered its standards to encompass the lowest common denominator font?

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