This October is Ikea‘s 25th anniversary in the UK. And my how they’ve gro… wait, no, that’s not right. You see, I just got sent a picture of their very first UK catalogue cover, dated 1988, and yet it’s not. Dated, that is. Seriously, have a look:
Be honest now. If it didn’t have 1988 emblazoned across the top, would you have any idea what year that was? No. It could be any time in the last 25 years. It could even be now. That low industrial-look lampshade, the French country-style chairs (PS LOVE the cane webbing, you should totally bring that back guys), the neon print fabric, the floor lamp that I think I’ve seen in every student house I’ve ever been in. I mean, the only thing that really gives it away is the photography. For reference, here is the 2013 brochure:
So they’ve had a little font update, it’s a bit sharper, a bit brighter but beyond that… who’d know?
The thing is, I can’t decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing. On the one hand, those who bought Ikea furniture in the 80s can probably afford to feel a bit smug (assuming Ikea furniture lasts this long… can anyone confirm? I was four in 1988 so still very much in the Peter Rabbit nightlight stage of my interior design career). I mean sure, we’re not talking iconic design here but at least your home doesn’t now look like this:
Mmm, fierce. But actually, you know what? I bloody love the 80s.* And there’s something kind of brilliant about awful, dated interiors isn’t there? It definitely isn’t just me. Avocado bathroom suites are a real collectors’ item now. If you don’t believe me, just check out eBay. Anyway, I suppose the only real moral of this story is that Ikea are very good at doing exactly what we know they’re very good at doing: creating plain, one-size-fits-all furniture that works in any space, scheme or indeed era.
[Before you go, check out the Habitat brochure from the same year HERE. Wow… er… how
sedate elegant. So glad my (parents’) house didn’t look like that in 1988.]
*True story. In fact here’s me and my mate getting our Bananarama on at a party a few years ago. You can’t see it but on the back of my denim jacket I wrote ‘Franki says Relax’ in neon marker. I am so rad.