I went to the IKEA house party on Greek Street in London’s Soho today*. Loved it! They’ve taken over a whole house and recreated a room from each decade on each floor, starting with the 80s.
Entering the 80s room, I just totally mainlined on nostalgia. It was extraordinarily palpable. Recreated around me was an era I lived through without a smart camera. Moment by moment, lived spontaneously and immediately forgotten. Never revisited until now. It’s a strange feeling to walk into the re-creation of an era you lived in the moment and haven’t been back to since. The effect was just like sniffing a bottle of the 80s. In fact, if they had worked on the scent in the room, I might literally have teleported back.
I’m a huge fan of IKEA. It’s form and function in affordable harmony. Before that cheap furniture was MFI: tacky, beige, lowest common denominator. MFI never struck out with any kind of aim to fly high and as the Guardian quipped it fell flat on it’s back. IKEA has vision. It sells to millions of people and yet it’s still possible to own a piece of IKEA furniture that none of your friends have. Because they make short run lines as well as classic repeats. I have a slim chest of drawers made from naked wood that I’ve never seen anywhere else. It’s great for storing necklaces, earrings and balled up socks.
On each floor of the house is a room from a different decade. They’ve all been styled perfectly and with humour. Next to the disco in the 80s room is a Twister game laid out on the floor with the slogan ‘the game that ties you up in knots’. Perfect, perfect slogan for an IKEA flat pack instruction manual with tangled up people clearly drawn by the same illustrator.
Climb up the house through the 90s, through the present to arrive at the future. Here is a responsive room with a vegetable garden. In 2025 ‘smart assistants’ are less of a novelty and we’ve stopped asking them silly test questions and posting the silly answers on YouTube. Hopefully they’ll be able to tackle aphid attacks and manage sprinkle systems because we don’t have gardens anymore and our living rooms are furnished with lettuce.
Likeable. Anything could happen really. Smart assistants would be handy, even essential for some people. My friend is currently trying to figure out how Alexa or Siri can help her mother who is unable to move after a stroke but can speak clearly.
*Actually the IKEA house party was 18 October 2017 – I’ve only just got round to finishing this post. It finished that weekend but if you’re interested, head over to the Geffrye Museum in Hoxton (London UK) as the whole museum is based on the same rooms through the ages premise. With easier access as you move along through the rooms rather than up and down stairs.