Cataloguing Our Inadequacies
Gillmor, Alison, Winnipeg Free Press
The stylish, organized world presented by IKEA makes us forget we can't actually achieve it
222 So says a new informational video about the 2013 edition of the Swedish home furnishings bible, a phrase that could sound sinister if it weren't surrounded by wholesome Scandi-modern accessories.
In fact, the new catalogue is offering "augmented reality" -- interactive features that can be scanned by smartphones or tablets, allowing users to snoop inside Best* storage units or change out the duvet covers on a Nordli bed.
That's cool and new, I guess. But in some ways the IKEA catalogue has always offered augmented reality. What else can you call a vision of the modern family home in which four people are shown cheerfully sharing a bathroom during the morning rush? Where wardrobes are full of all-white clothes? Where even the junk drawer is styled?
With its irresistible mix of realism and idealism, the IKEA catalogue has always conjured up a vision that looks kind of like your house, if you were only giving impromptu outdoor dinners for 25, or playing spontaneous ping pong games on the kitchen island, or helping your kids make imaginative felt finger puppets at the dining room table.
The IKEA catalogue debuted in 1951.This year an estimated 211 million copies of the catalogue will be distributed in 43 countries. And of course, this particular edition will be a big thing for Winnipeggers -- a 395,000-square-foot big thing, to be exact. Suddenly, the words, "If you don't find something here that's right for you, you'll find much more... at your IKEA store," can be read with a sense of smug entitlement rather than with bitter resentment about the IKEA-worthiness of Etobicoke and Coquitlam.
As our very own store rises on Sterling Lyon Parkway, I can almost feel the gravitational pull of Billy bookshelves and Storsele rattan chairs. …