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Archive for January, 2006

The Amateur Gourmet: Ikea, Therefore I Am

January 31st, 2006



“There comes a time in every New Yorker’s life when he or she must ride
the A train to 42nd street and 8th Avenue, snake their way past the
crowds to the Port Authority, climb down the stairs and board the bus
at Gate 5 for Ikea. This is a rite of passage for any new New Yorker,
and though I’ve been here for a year and a half now it’s better late
than never. Lisa joined me for the journey and the free shuttle
shuttled us to New Jersey in little more than 30 minutes. My favorite
part was going through the New Jersey Turnpike tollbooth: I felt like
Tony Soprano, except thinner and less prone to murder….

…Now you may begin to wonder: why write about Ikea on a food blog? What
does Ikea have to do with food? What’s love got to do got to do got to
do with it?…”

The Amateur Gourmet



Photo Set: trAvelpig

January 31st, 2006



“IKEA at home and in the store”

Photoset by trAvelpig at IKEA Lovers/FLICKR
© All rights reserved. Used with permission.


IKEA Dresses Filipinos As Swedish Maids In Kuwaiti Ad

January 31st, 2006


Here’s yet another example of how a seemingly harmless ad concept can turn out to be a cultural hot potato.


“…this Kuwaiti IKEA ad on the back of a local dining guide that shows
Filipinos, apparently the predominant wait staff in the country,
portrayed Swedish maids. While Botata tells us its very common to see
Filipino wait staff in Kuwait, he took issue with IKEA dressing them up
in stereotypical Swedish garb and headlining the ad with, “Enjoy the
Swedish hospitality at IKEA store.”

We don’t pretend to understand all the cultural ramifications of
this but we prefer our Swedish maids blond, buxom and holding beer St.
Pauli Girl-style. Then again, that’s got its own nasty, sexist,
stereotypical baggage.”


Advertising & Marketing

Hot Dates

January 30th, 2006

Monday Cuteness Attack!



“My hot date for a Saturday night at IKEA (he was, actually, super hot…after all that running around in the IKEA kids’ area).”


Image: Massdistraction @ FLICKR
© All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Submissions are welcome.


Through the Bat Cave

January 30th, 2006


Notes from my Moleskine:

Ingvar Kamprad’s bilingual exhortations for a better life plastered over a huge poster of birch trees competed with a bright red Klippan for my attention as I entered. The couch won and I settled in the waiting room, breathless from the cold outside.

I started this blog last November, partly to document my move to a new apartment and share my curiousity for this company. In its roughly 3 months existence, I have seen impassioned rants, emotional raves and a few eye-rolling emails in between. All in the name of I.K.E.A. Recent mentions at Yahoo and by hip bloggers like Gawker and Design Sponge has brought more site traffic than anticipated. Those + previous preliminary emails = this first official meeting. I didn’t know what to expect.

Samantha Gravina, their new Chicago media person turned out to be as bubbly in real life as over the phone. The enthusiasm seemed genuine. I follow her through a maze of halls to the employees’ “co-worker’s” lounge.

The half-hour-or-so chat gave me an opportunity to state our website’s peaceful intentions and hear Sam’s abbreviated version of  the inner workings within the Big Blue Box. Pleasant, concise but not perfunctory. I like her efficiency. Not much off-the-record corporate details. I’ll dispense the juicy “authorized” morsels in coming posts.

It was late on a dark, blustery Sunday afternoon when I finally emerged from what she fondly calls “The Bat Cave”.  I saw the reddish glow of the metropolis towards the east. This little blogging adventure has truly begun. (TEXT & IMAGE: ABF)


IKEA ranks among top of Readers’ Choice global brands

January 30th, 2006


“In 2005′s results, Google took the lead from Apple in what is shaping up to be a back and forth contest through the years for these two innovative tech companies. Each year one out-does the other, and this time it is Google’s turn to shine….

…Prior to Google, life was a source of wonder with no ready answers; with Google, we are all instant scholars. Those worried that the company might run out of ideas should visit Google Labs—a welcome assurance that more delights are close on the horizon.

Equally impressive on the innovation front, Apple unveiled a tremendous amount of new product in 2005, prompting pundits to speculate that the brand would soon flame out in exhaustion. (Just how low are our expectations?) The iPod shuffle, iPod nano, iPod video, Mac mini, and Tiger operating system all emerged from the busy Cupertino workshop this past year.

Well below these two leaders but rounding out the top five for Global brands are newcomer Skype and old favorites Starbucks and Ikea.”


Also: IKEA (U.S.) ranks  #96  on the 2006 FORTUNE 100  Best Companies to work for.

[via Jen/OH IKEA]

In the News

Bröken Up By Ikea

January 30th, 2006


“Two months into their
marriage, Andrew Motiwalla and his wife had only a futon mattress to
their name and an entire unfurnished house to decorate. And so the
blissful couple set out from New Rochelle to the 350,000-square-foot
Ikea in Elizabeth, N.J., eager to acquire the trappings of their new
life together.

But by the end of the day, Mr. Motiwalla had been reduced to a
cursing, furniture-throwing wreck in front of his new bride. While
trying to assemble the chairs they had lugged home, Mr. Motiwalla was
screaming in frustration – “I hate this! I hate this! I hate this!” -
while his wife pleaded for him to calm down. The couple had to hire a
carpenter to assemble the furniture for them. “There’s probably some
equivalent to road rage in the furniture world,” Mr. Motiwalla said
recently, “and I experienced that.”

Ikea offers good design, extremely low prices, and easy-to-navigate
stores. But there’s a catch: For couples, a trip to the megastore can
often wind up in a fight.”

Bröken Up By Ikea
By Ruth Graham
The New York Sun


Image: “Instead of a Divorce buy at Ikea” print ad by Forsman & Bodenfors 2001

Advertising & Marketing

Journey to Ikea

January 30th, 2006
Cdr“We finally began to inch our way towards the huge blue and yellow
mass looming in the distance.  As we neared the home stretch, we passed a Home
Depot and Jordan’s Furniture, neither of which must have been pleased by the
arrival of their new low cost, imported neighbor.  

We decided to ditch the car a little further from the store than
necessary–a wise decision that assisted in a speedy escape. We entered the monstrous building via the parking garage and were
whisked to the next floor on an escalator.  As we reached the top  we were
pushed into a crowded foyer of couples and families with small children. The
smell of warm cinnamon buns filled the air eliciting audible stomach growls from
passers-by.  A second escalator beckoned, promising a speedy delivery to the
showroom and a $5.99 herbed salmon dinner.


The S/O was entranced by the tear-off, disposable measuring sticks. 
“Ow, how often do you wish you had one of these,” she cooed.  Afraid of getting
lost, I grabbed a combo map/blank shopping list.  There were even mini-golf
score pencils to jot down your wants and needs.  I quickly realized I grabbed
the wrong map when it said I was being escalated to the “segunda pisa”.  Silly,
me, I thought I was shopping in an Swedish store in America. 
As soon as the escalator stopped, we were swept into a current that
pushed us through the various display rooms–I felt like a human herring forging
my way up river.  Not liking crowds too much, I took my only solace in Olivia
Newton-John piped in over the sound system, inquirying if I’ve “never been
mellow.”  Mellow in this place?”    

“Cape Cod Cabin Fever, Part II: Journey to Ikea”
Cape Cod Today


[Thanks Jen/OH IKEA]



January 28th, 2006


© 2006 ABF Thanks to Jason for the suggestion.



© 2005 ABF Thanks to Jessy.

Its been a long but exciting week. Special shoutouts to:

Apartment Therapy

Scrapbook Goddess
The Rat and Mouse
Mademoiselle Surprise
Star Wars Epics
and the many, many readers who forwarded our link. Thank you very much.
See you on Monday!


decor8 : IKEA [fresh new finds]

January 27th, 2006


A tiny project of turning a three season porch into an art studio
space/home office/guest bedroom would go quickly and flawlessly.

“Reality: Harsh.
My entire abode has morphed into a bermuda triangle of all things
unclean. It’s a 24/7 construction site, with construction debris all
over (I found insulation in my shower drain, of all places)
and more eff words flying around than a DeNiro film. My floors are wet
from snow. The sounds of hammers fill my day. There’s no end date in
sight. But I’m keepin’ the faith. To quote Samuel Butler, “You can do very little with faith, but you can do nothing without it“.

most of us know, having faith in our space always leads to shopping,
and shopping almost always leads to IKEA. You can bet that I’m dreaming
of the day when I can find a Billy or a Motiv or a Nordmyra in my space
instead of a construction crew.

You have to check out IKEA’s juicy finds for Spring…”

Holly Becker