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December 4, 2004 5:55 AM   Subscribe

Elite Designers Against IKEA
posted by armage (90 comments total)

 
Don't forget to check out the TV commercials.
posted by armage at 5:56 AM on December 4, 2004


viralmarketingvectorfilter
posted by fleetmouse at 6:09 AM on December 4, 2004


has anyone gone to the shop link and tried buy anything?
posted by medea42 at 6:13 AM on December 4, 2004


Was funny, just as smart ads can be. It might be a old french habit, but personnaly I like to be warned when there's gonna be ads.

This is just some IK*A stealth advertising,and I hate being manipulated.
posted by denpo at 6:15 AM on December 4, 2004


Luckily, I'm immune to most viral ads.
posted by E_B_A at 6:16 AM on December 4, 2004


Super Greg approves!
posted by mr.marx at 6:17 AM on December 4, 2004


here's some cure
posted by denpo at 6:28 AM on December 4, 2004


Screw you guys. That was really funny!!
posted by zwemer at 6:31 AM on December 4, 2004


I don't like this part:

By viewing this website you agree with Ikea's assessment that one would have to be a pompous buffoon to want anything better than what Ikea sells. You agree to buy much Ikea furniture and enjoy it. You agree not to buy furniture from other retailers or from individual cabinetmakers.
posted by fleetmouse at 6:34 AM on December 4, 2004


Why is high design furniture "for the masses" always really, really expensive?
posted by orange clock at 6:36 AM on December 4, 2004


I've been waiting for Ikea to stock affordable and attractive roommates.
posted by srboisvert at 6:39 AM on December 4, 2004


Man... I really want that $400 limousine flag for my Jetta.
posted by yossarian1 at 6:46 AM on December 4, 2004


I've been waiting for Ikea to stock affordable and attractive roommates.

but you'll have to assemble them yourself... and then there's always the missing pieces.
posted by three blind mice at 7:14 AM on December 4, 2004


When "elite designers" offer goods at non-elite prices, maybe they can complain about IKEA. Until then, they can sell their overpriced, albeit beautiful goods as they please.
posted by AlexReynolds at 7:21 AM on December 4, 2004


Ikea...Swedish for "Held together by dowels"
posted by phirleh at 7:22 AM on December 4, 2004


Why is high design furniture "for the masses" always really, really expensive?

Because it's not made in Bangladesh?

I make furniture for a living (sort of) and just my work hours to make an IKEA cabinet clone would make it already twice as expensive.
posted by kika at 7:26 AM on December 4, 2004


Do I have to hit you-all with the Ikeaphobia hammer?
posted by Adam Greenfield at 7:26 AM on December 4, 2004


I swear, every single time this comes up...
posted by Adam Greenfield at 7:28 AM on December 4, 2004


"Held together by dowels"

Yours has dowels?
posted by lodurr at 7:47 AM on December 4, 2004


Deliver me from Swedish furniture.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:53 AM on December 4, 2004


To create a cabinet like this waz like climbing a mountain whiles being on fire!
- Van den Pump


LOL
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 8:04 AM on December 4, 2004


If someone genuinely likes "high design furnture", well, then, how nice for them. But what I find irritating is the fact that they then feel compelled to justify their "investment" by evangelizing the wondrousness of the design.

Thing is, though, with a few exceptions, most of the high-design furniture I've ever seen is complete crap from an ergonomic perspective. And the exceptions, more often than not, seem to me to be "high design" as an afterthought, for marketing purposes. (example of an exception: the Aeron -- still brilliant, still the last piece of furniture I'd surrender, I'd sleep on the bare floor before I'd surrender my Aeron. I love the way its design follows so directly from the design innovation.)

A lot of Ikea stuff is crap, it's true; I had a notion at one point to get a bunch of their stuff, but when I actually went to the store and saw it, almost none of it was stuff I'd have paid for. The construction was mostly not very durable, and those lovely looking bent-wood chairs aren't built for big and tall Americans.

It's not all bad, though: I'm working on a work-table assembled from unfinished Ikea parts; I love their stainless steel wheeled carts (which you can now buy at Target under another brand...); and some of my favorite kitchen utensils were impulse buys in their kitchen department (they make a great wide-bladed paring knife that's the one tool I take with me if I expect to have to prep food at a party).

I can honestly say that I suspected this was a scam viral marketing as soon as I opened the page. The copy was just a tad to ... ironic...
posted by lodurr at 8:04 AM on December 4, 2004


1337 designers against IKEA?
posted by horhey at 8:06 AM on December 4, 2004


Whoah, lodurr. "Complete crap from an ergonomic perspective"? Even a form-follows-function kinda guy like me understands that there are any number of registers by which design should be evaluated, and the ergonomic is only one of them.

You're gonna write off the Aluminum Group lounge chair or the Swan sofa because they're not infinitely adjustable? That, my friend, is nothing but an act of philistinism.
posted by Adam Greenfield at 8:10 AM on December 4, 2004


Funny funny funny..the guy (and or the crew behind that) stole the Ali G pimpastic attitude idea, made it more ridicule and actually did a good job.

It is hillarious, but a little dangerous ...true that some designer would like you to pay $xxxxxx for a "work" they did while sitting on a toilet..but if so how much should the Ikea furniture cost, if the the big cost is in the designer presumed or actual work ?
posted by elpapacito at 8:15 AM on December 4, 2004


Here's a truth for ya: The aesthetic appeal of a design is not an objective fact.

Here's another truth for ya: Functional (e.g. ergonomic) success can be an objective fact.

No, I'm not going to write those designs off because they're "not infinitely variable." I'm going to write them off because they're painful to use. The Aeron (and much of the Eames stuff, too) proves that it's possible to create beautiful design that's not painful. IMHO, most haute designers should be sent back in time and apprenticed for ten years at the Roycroft.

Also, FWIW: If whether I think "Aluminum Group lounge chair or the Swan sofa" look wonderful is the measure of whether or not I'm a philistine, well, then, you can call me Phil. But if you like them -- how nice for you.
posted by lodurr at 8:22 AM on December 4, 2004


Ikea...Swedish for "Held together by dowels"

I am having sudden flashbacks to my nine months working in an IKEA returns department and hearing countless variations on this joke. (Similarly, a lot of people would ask what "IKEA" really means, and I had my spiel prepared.)

The other common IKEA joke to tell the person you're returning defective furniture to or picking up missing parts from tends to involve a friend of theirs hearing someone claim they work for IKEA making furniture and responding, "You don't make the furniture! I make the furniture. You make boards and put them in boxes."
posted by antigreg at 8:27 AM on December 4, 2004


It's interesting, lodurr, because you're taking the extreme version of stances that I generally agree with, and in their extremity I neither agree with them nor find them appealing. I guess I just don't think that design is - or should be, at all - purely about human-factors integration.

I also don't think aesthetic appeal is as arbitrary as you suggest. There is such a thing as good taste.
posted by Adam Greenfield at 8:29 AM on December 4, 2004


I guess I just don't think that design is - or should be, at all - purely about human-factors integration.

So, who's taking extreme versions? That's clearly not what I've said, and I'm really not interested in letting you get off saying that it is.

I do regard it as silly, though, to say that some design is "good" if it fails on a critical design criterion. And if a chair or sofa is painful to sit in, then it has clearly failed on a critical design criterion.
posted by lodurr at 8:35 AM on December 4, 2004


The 'Monday Cabinet' ad was, I feel, the best of the lot. Did anyone else notice that van Deer Puup's Monday Cabinet was, in fact, much larger than that Ikea thing? Probably not worth the extra $971, but the two are hardly comparable just on price.

Should I be embarrassed by the fact that I was entertained by an Ikea ad? Probably. Thank jebus for the anonymity afforded by the internets.
posted by Tullius at 8:36 AM on December 4, 2004


Harvard sucks!
posted by armoured-ant at 8:46 AM on December 4, 2004


I don't have a problem with the strength of IKEA furniture, but I do with the hardness. No sharp objects around our entertainment center, please.

That said, I think IKEA is the best retailer ever-- my girlfriend and I spent 3 1/2 hours in the New Haven store over Thanksgiving saturday. and I actually enjoyed it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:47 AM on December 4, 2004


I like these more than I like the weird ones IKEA had a while ago about feeling bad for the lamp you've discarded in the street.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:59 AM on December 4, 2004


But what I find irritating is the fact that they then feel compelled to justify their "investment" by evangelizing the wondrousness of the design.
That about sums it up for me, too. While I do find IKEA furniture uninteresting and generally uncomfortable (and cheaply made! chipboard lurks beneath that Swedish veneer!), the thing I hate most about it (besides their nightmarish warehouse stores) is that the design is really oversold, both in terms of its aesthetics and versatility. Many of my otherwise intelligent friends have been bitten by the IKEA bug to the extent that they seem to think it's the end-all, be-all of furniture design, or even design in general. At best, the stuff is semi-functional and inoffensive.
posted by Dr. Wu at 8:59 AM on December 4, 2004


The Aeron (and much of the Eames stuff, too) proves that it's possible to create beautiful design that's not painful.

Yes, at 5 times the cost of a similarly-functioning IKEA chair. There is not one platonic ideal of a chair that suits everybody. Some people are more concerned with price than ergonomics, and for them, IKEA might be a satisfying point on the price-comfort-looks spectrum.

Demonstrate that IKEAs design paradigm stops other designers from making comfortable chairs, and then you can argue that IKEA is bad for consumers. You'd also be doing the same thing as the linked site is satirizing, but that shouldn't stop you.

So, who's taking extreme versions? That's clearly not what I've said, and I'm really not interested in letting you get off saying that it is.

In Adam Greenfield's defense (not that he needs me), I also got the impression that you were taking an extreme position. If you're not, then it's at least not "clear" from what you've said so far. Onus is on you, not him.
posted by Hildago at 9:00 AM on December 4, 2004


I figured someone would pop up in this thread taking easy potshots at Ikea, and I was all ready with a long rant about elitism and a lengthy personal anecdote about how extraordinarily hard it is to find a well-designed, pleasant-to-look-at bookshelf at an affordable price anywhere other than Ikea in my current city of residence . . .

. . . but then no one really took potshots at Ikea, and besides my anti-elitist diatribe was done better and more succinctly in Adam Greenfield's link. (You're on a roll lately, Mr. Greenfield.)

*sighs, returns to the Books section of his Saturday paper*

On preview:

*tosses paper back on desk, leaps to keyboard with renewed purpose*

I couldn't disagree more, MegoSteve. Those sad-discarded-lamp Ikea ads were frickin' hilarious. (And directed by Spike Jonze, no less.)
posted by gompa at 9:06 AM on December 4, 2004


Umm.. Little dogs, berets, striped shirts, who exactly are they mocking?

The logo looks more like a municipal advertisement for a museum exposition on Jacqueline Onassis than anything I would associate with pretentious (post)modern design.

They could probably have stolen some rhetoric from Moss, Philippe Starck, Karim Rashid, Droog "... distributed statement about design as a cultural commentary.. (!), Marcel Wanders "Here to create an environment of love, live with passion, and make our most exciting dreams come true" (wow!).

Consumer interpretation of IKEA product as high design is more a statement of their lack of exposure than an evil genius media campaign by IKEA.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 9:09 AM on December 4, 2004


I'm new to mefi, and just want to apologize if this rant is a little longer than socially acceptable. If it is, please let me know so I can tone it down in my future posts... kthx. ;)

"...most of the high-design furniture I've ever seen is complete crap from an ergonomic perspective."

I agree 100%.

If you're merely talking aesthetics, then fine, it looks great, yada yada. I understand what you're trying to say Adam Greenfield, but the fact is, a chair is a chair, because it has a purpose. That purpose is to sit your ass down in it.

If you want to make an interesting chair and call it art and sell it for ridiculous prices, go right ahead, but don't you dare expect me to sit in it, and certainly not to hear me say how great the chair is, cuz it looks so damned pretty, even though it hurts my ass everytime I sit down in it.

Of course function (and I include comfort as part of function) isn't the ONLY factor, I don't want a chair that looks like utter shit but feels like heaven... wait, if it feels like heaven, maybe I wouldn't mind... But really, it's best to have a balance. I think that's really what lodurr is trying to say.

Everytime I look at these sofas from these fancy-pancy "designers" I always hope that I'll see something that looks comfy, but alas, I usually end up seeing these metal edges, and weird curves with only partial back support, or hard material...

It reminds me of the orchid/wasp thing, where a male wasp thinking he's "gettin' it on" with the wasp, but the orchid is really just a decoy. It's like you're being seduced by the form, but really, you just whored yourself out to the design-gods who made this product, in order for them to make more functionless crap that looks real pretty.

What's the diff??? Think of the designer as some sick demiurge playing with your hormones for fashion, and all the while, this demiurge just gets off sapping your mana/prana/mystical joie-de-vivre to make more theft-inducing-orchid-sofas... That's how I see it.

I want a chair that was evolved in coformity with it's environment(ie: the human body), not in the mind of some gigalomaniacal "artiste". I want a chair that doesn't just seduce me for it's own sickening ways... I want a symbiotic chair that seduces me for it's own creator, sure, but also for my own welfare, I want to get something out of the deal for myself, and not just some pride inducing "look at how great looking this is (but really, sit over on that other piece of furniture)"

If I'm going to buy some art, I want it where it doesn't clutter my actual living space which can be put to good use doing some actual thing beyond merely looking pretty.
posted by symbioid at 9:10 AM on December 4, 2004


I like the aesthetics of the Swan sofa. The curves are graceful and inviting to the eye, much like the design of the Enterprise-D. But would I want to sit in it for three hours and watch a DVD? Heck, no. Give me my ugly, overstuffed recliner any day. When it comes to furniture purchases, my eye is always overruled by my ass.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:10 AM on December 4, 2004


On review, what symbioid said.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:11 AM on December 4, 2004


What does "gigalomaniacal" mean? I can't find it in the dictionary.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:14 AM on December 4, 2004


Onus is on you, not him.

Er, no: It's on him. Because he grossly mischaracterized my view. I took pains to establish that in my opinion it was possible to marry good functional and visual design, and gave examples, and he then characterized me as saying that "design is ... purely about human-factors integration."

If he (or you) thought that's what I was saying, you didn't read my comments. So the onus was on you to actually bother to try to understand what I wrote, and not make a knee-jerk design geek reaction to it.

Interestingly, you also seem to think I'm trashing Ikea on ergonomic grounds, or forgiving Herman Miller for their high prices. When I bought my Aeron, you couldn't get anything similar for less. If you can now, great; I haven't seen it, though.
posted by lodurr at 9:15 AM on December 4, 2004


MegoSteve, wasn't the point of the ad not to feel bad for the discarded lamp, being only a lamp? That aspect of it horrified me more, for every visit to IKEA fills me with the urge to consume and discard. Mouse pad? Yeah, I've got 20 but they are only 99c!!!

Their stuff is so cheap and plentiful and displayed with such bounty that why NOT take some of it home, and then, hey, throw it out when you get a better one.
posted by stevil at 9:17 AM on December 4, 2004


Metafilter: Please join us in our unqualified hatred.
posted by fatllama at 9:38 AM on December 4, 2004


I can't believe I'm the first person to be irked not by Ikea or by fancy designers, but by these ads.

At my local movie theatre, the Ikea ads play before every damn movie. And I didn't think they were witty or original or funny the first time I saw them.

They fill me with mighty rage.
posted by Katemonkey at 9:39 AM on December 4, 2004


Stevil, just because you can buy lots of stuff and throw it away doesn't mean you have to. You can't blame IKEA for your own conscious decisions.

Or maybe you can.
*envisions a new ad campaign where people blame IKEA for stuff*

"Mr Phillips, how do you plead?"
"I plead... IKEA."
posted by dum2007 at 9:40 AM on December 4, 2004


but, but,

IKEA RULES!

/swedish
posted by mr.marx at 9:54 AM on December 4, 2004


I think Ugoff was a more entertaining faux-elite shill.
posted by O9scar at 10:07 AM on December 4, 2004


Do their designs live, breathe and growl?

Actually my wolverine fur-clad pillows were making some kind of noise and those Dingo-hide lampshades I just got do seem to clash with my feral pig book-ends.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 10:12 AM on December 4, 2004


my girlfriend and I spent 3 1/2 hours in the New Haven store over Thanksgiving saturday. and I actually enjoyed it.

Ikea is a zoo on an ordinary Saturday; I can barely imagine what it must be like on a busy shopping day. All.. those... people... can't... breathe. *shudder*
posted by kindall at 10:52 AM on December 4, 2004


I like these more than I like the weird ones IKEA had a while ago about feeling bad for the lamp you've discarded in the street.

I actually felt bad for that lamp but that commercial made me laugh. I like the one that's going around now.. with the rug that keeps taking people out? Good times.
posted by LunaticFringe at 11:12 AM on December 4, 2004


When I want to buy new furniture, I only think of Ikea. It's not because I think it's brilliant or wonderful, though modernist design is growing on me. I go there because it is the ONLY store in North America who has figured out that many people have to live in small spaces, whether they like it or not. When you have a bedroom of about 60 sq feet, you want furniture that fits, not a huge bedroom set with gigantic headboard. Maybe you even want a loft bed - Where else but Ikea can you buy a loft bed for an adult? The Brick certainly didn't have any.

North American stores are just like North American restaurants - the sizes are just too big. I don't have room furniture that fits in my space, find space saving ideas, storage solutions, wardrobes for bedrooms without closets.
Actually, my current decoration scheme is entirely second hand - but the minute I get new furniture, I'm heading to Ikea and getting stuff to make my place comfortable.
posted by jb at 11:23 AM on December 4, 2004


i'd like a nightstand made of whorecarcass please, hold the fishnets.
posted by breakfast_yeti at 11:28 AM on December 4, 2004


Ikea...Swedish for "Held together by dowels"

actually, IKEA is an abbreviation for Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd.

ingvar kamprad is the man who founded the company.

elmtaryd is the name of the town where he was born. it is a tiny village in agunnaryd parish in småland in southern sweden.
posted by three blind mice at 11:51 AM on December 4, 2004


Minor points:

- Faint of Butt, what's an "Enterprise-D"? When I google it I only get a bunch of Star Trek links.

- lodurr, I have to say that if you weren't staking out the far end of the spectrum, or if you didn't mean to, then you just didn't make that clear.

I read and re-read what you originally posted, and it sure seems to me that you were pretty clearly saying that ergonomic success (not "comfort," even, which is something I believe you appended later) was your only index for evaluating furniture design.

If that's not what you meant to say, great. If it *is* what you meant to say, great...but really, really hard to defend.

Where I guess my hackles are raised is in the infinite regress of relativity that any discussion tends to fall into, where participants with a background in the subject at hand are not consensually recognized as same and anyone's expressed opinion may appear to be as valid as anyone else's. Because, simply put, I just don't believe this.

I think it's healthy to be skeptical of elitism, but just as healthy to be skeptical of anti-elitism - which is, after all, the sentiment this IKEA ad depends on for its impact. Nobody - nobody - yields to me in my contempt for Starck and Rashid and their ilk, but cultivating a loathing for them is not at all the same as writing off high design. That's what you appeared to me to be doing, and, again, if that was not your intention then I apologize.

- breakfast_yeti, that was a disgusting comment and completely unnecessary. Sometimes you people scare me.

- Finally, you know, you guys can call me "Adam." You don't have to say "Adam Greenfield" each and every time. It's a little clumsy, no?
posted by Adam Greenfield at 12:01 PM on December 4, 2004


That said, I think IKEA is the best retailer ever-- my girlfriend and I spent 3 1/2 hours in the New Haven store over Thanksgiving saturday. and I actually enjoyed it.

MMMMMMhhh...

1. shopping = female fun, most of the times
2. but you had fun at Ikea

ooooooohhh they have beds in Ikea :D ! Oh dirty dirty couple !
posted by elpapacito at 12:50 PM on December 4, 2004


Faint of Butt, what's an "Enterprise-D"? When I google it I only get a bunch of Star Trek links.

Er... I've never had to explain the starship Enterprise before, but I'll try. The Enterprise, serial number NCC-1701-D, is the ship seen in "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Although aerodynamics are not a concern when a vessel operates only in deep space, the form of the Enterprise-D curves gracefully in an almost swan-like shape, having been designed with aesthetics in mind. Contrast it to the Enterprise NCC-1701, the ship seen in the original "Star Trek" series, which is all straight lines and hard angles.

Sorry; I really didn't expect this derail. No reflection on you, Mr. Greenfield, but I usually assume that anyone I encounter on the Internet will have a working knowledge of Star Trek.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:50 PM on December 4, 2004


Ops should have been on preview : fuck for forest at ikea would make total perfect sense
posted by elpapacito at 12:52 PM on December 4, 2004


...but I usually assume that anyone I encounter on the Internet will have a working knowledge of Star Trek.

But it's not 1991 anymore. Thank god. *shudders*
Sorry, I just didn't realize you actually did mean the ship in Star Trek. That's generally not a point of reference I encounter a lot in discussions.

elpapacito, men enjoy shopping too. Or some men, anyway, myself among them.
posted by Adam Greenfield at 1:08 PM on December 4, 2004


I read and re-read what you originally posted, and it sure seems to me that you were pretty clearly saying that ergonomic success (not "comfort," even, which is something I believe you appended later) was your only index for evaluating furniture design.

Well, why don't we take a look at what I actually said, hmm? Here's one thing I said:
The aesthetic appeal of a design is not an objective fact.
You seemed to think that meant I was saying that all aesthetics were arbitrary. I really don't understand that interpretation, but hey, I can't get inside your head and figure out why you read things like you do, so let's move on. Here's another thing I said:
Functional (e.g. ergonomic) success can be an objective fact.

No, I'm not going to write those designs off because they're "not infinitely variable." I'm going to write them off because they're painful to use. The Aeron (and much of the Eames stuff, too) proves that it's possible to create beautiful design that's not painful. IMHO, most haute designers should be sent back in time and apprenticed for ten years at the Roycroft.
I suppose you can be excused for not the implicit valorization of the Arts & Crafts ethos, but I'm at a loss to understand how you ignore the fact that I cited specific examples of how ergonomically successful designs could be made attractive - and in a way that should have made it abundantly clear to someone who was not working very hard to misunderstand that I thought that was a good thing. I'm left to speculate that your exclusion of the middle was willful -- that you might have been picking a fight to count coup. (And by the way -- if I dissed haute design chairs for their "ergonomics", what the hell would I be talking about if not "comfort"? And so how could you support a claim that I 'added comfort later'?)

You don't have to say "Adam Greenfield" each and every time. It's a little clumsy, no?

Ah, familiarity. What a concept. You might note though, Adam, that the norm of address on MeFi is to address by handle. Yours is "Adam Greenfield". Often, when a person has been heavily active, or has established him/herself as a character, handles are contracted or recast. But that tends to happen in a spontaneous fashion -- as with nicknames in real life, quonsar (for example) doesn't generally get to choose for people to address him as "q", though people often do.

(I wouldn't, though, at least not to start. One ought to be careful when feeding the quonsar.)
posted by lodurr at 1:10 PM on December 4, 2004


Ah, excuse me -- should have read, "...excused for not catching the implicit valorization of the Arts & Crafts ethos...."
posted by lodurr at 1:11 PM on December 4, 2004


Oh, dag, I wasn't picking a fight. (And counting coup? That requires collecting a scalp: ick.)

I think I see where the difficulty lies. OK, going pedantic here: you're using "ergonomic" as synonymous with "comfortable," and I just don't see that. Ergonomical correctness is not isomorphic with comfort: the former implies fitness for a given task, the latter is context-independent.

"What the hell would [you] be talking about if not comfort"? I dunno. Degrees of freedom (DOF), maybe? Affording the user a full range of motion, or a properly constrained range of motion given the demands of a particular task? Noninterference with distal circulation, such that prolonged use or operation does not give rise to deep-vein thrombosis ("economy-class syndrome")? Lots of things that may have little or nothing to do with comfort per se, but are critical to any ergonomic consideration. You tell me.

As an aside: that's not my handle, it's my name. I hate handles. I wish all handles would go away, at least in this context. I believe, passionately, that communication in a venue like this is enhanced by the accountability that one only really derives from signing one's True Name to posts.
posted by Adam Greenfield at 1:27 PM on December 4, 2004


Faint of Butt: Gigalomaniac is a really sad pun I made a while back, I suppose, on the word Megalomaniac... I'm sure you know the definition, but -

1 : a mania for great or grandiose performance
2 : a delusional mental disorder that is marked by infantile feelings of personal omnipotence and grandeur

So... since Mega is prefix for million in comp-sci, I upped it to the next level, Giga. A mania for an even more grandiose performance. I've always called it Giga, with a hard G, but in Back to the Future, Doc calls it Giga, with a J sound(turns out that the J sound is actually a legit pronunciation)... So Gigalo-maniac is also sorta like someone thinks they're the pimpinest mack-daddy(though, properly, the word would be spelled gigolo).

Ultimately, as I said above, it's just a really, really sad pun.
posted by symbioid at 1:45 PM on December 4, 2004


my eye is always overruled by my ass.
posted by Faint of Butt


Seems to make sense.
posted by Vidiot at 2:28 PM on December 4, 2004


I wish all handles would go away, at least in this context. I believe, passionately, that communication in a venue like this is enhanced by the accountability that one only really derives from signing one's True Name to posts.

Interesting. I don't see how this is different from using the same login over a long period of time. People here know me as "Vidiot", a few know my real name, some others could probably find it if they looked in the right places. But what would signing my True Name to my posts add that signing my consistently used, posting-history-searchable login wouldn't?

[/derail, sorry]
posted by Vidiot at 2:32 PM on December 4, 2004


You and quonsar get a pass.
posted by Adam Greenfield at 2:42 PM on December 4, 2004


I'm sharing a field of two with quonsar?

I don't know whether to be delighted, or really, really frightened.
posted by Vidiot at 2:47 PM on December 4, 2004


By viewing this website you agree with Ikea's assessment that one would have to be a pompous buffoon to want anything better than what Ikea sells. You agree to buy much Ikea furniture and enjoy it. You agree not to buy furniture from other retailers or from individual cabinetmakers.

I didn't realize you made this up and thought the site actually said that (now prove me wrong by showing me it does exist).

Interestingly, when I did a search for "By viewing this website you agree with Ikea's assessment... etc", Google responded with 'Did you mean: "By viewing this website you agree with Nike's assessment...etc"?'

Back on topic, I like IKEA.
posted by Menomena at 2:57 PM on December 4, 2004


Well, not everyone feels that the Aeron makes the grade. Give me the old catcher's mitt every time.
posted by QuietDesperation at 3:40 PM on December 4, 2004


you're using "ergonomic" as synonymous with "comfortable,"

No, I wasn't. Try again.
posted by lodurr at 3:42 PM on December 4, 2004


Finally, you know, you guys can call me "Adam."

Yes, but until a couple of days ago, your user name was 'adamgreenfield' -- all one word -- if I'm not mistaken.

Then again, I prefer it when people call me 'stav' or 'stavros' rather than the whole syllable movement in one go, so fair enough.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:38 PM on December 4, 2004


I think the biggest problem with ikea is that you can walk into any 20 something's apartment and say "oh yeah, the lumperkinglop, i've got one of those too" . My personal favorite thing at ikea has to be the clearance area where you can get tons of random shapes and sizes of crappy particle board very cheap (i hacked together a kitchen counter/pot rack for $75 (most of that hardware) when everything i was looking at cost $300)
posted by NGnerd at 7:12 PM on December 4, 2004


Gigalomaniac is a really sad pun I made a while back, I suppose, on the word Megalomaniac...

Ah. Now I get it. It's quite clever, actually. I might have to borrow it.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:28 PM on December 4, 2004


stav: They could have called me "adam" then, too.

lodurr: Um, yeah, you kinda were. Again, if that's not what you meant, it happens to be what you, in fact, said. But no matter.
posted by Adam Greenfield at 8:12 PM on December 4, 2004


Adam... I would request a pass as well, for I am known by my moniker "symbioid". I agree with vidiot. Once people get to know me, they know my "real" name. I don't hide it. However, I do think that I just "am" symbioid in the virtual world. Even some of my closer friends that I know online still call me symbioid in e-mail correspondence, even though they know my real name(or a mix of the two throughout).

A name is merely an identifier. If I am primarily known as symbioid online, that's my identifier. In the real world("meat space" :D), people call me Dave. If you prefer to be known by your "real world" name, that's fine as well. I chose this name to identify me, because the name my parents have given me is nice and all, but I don't feel I am dave. I have associated the name with this body and consciousness, but as to who I am, and what I am, I am symbioid, and that's why I am that name online.

But I shall just call you Adam.
posted by symbioid at 9:24 PM on December 4, 2004


The fact that this discussion about IKEA has spawned such furious debate, introspection and external linking has partially confirmed a suspicion of mine that I've had for years about IKEA. IKEA has revolutionized the way furniture and design works in contemporary times for the average person. For that reason it will be talked about in history of furniture and design classes hundreds of years from now. I can just imagine fervent young art and design students poring over pictures of ROSFORS cabinets and ILEN serving cart/TV benches, explaining that these pieces show how the culture of the time emphasized the need for lots of 'things' and television/entertainment.

On a sidenote, in my experience, designers who identify themselves as uber-elite and bemoan the state of modern architecture/clothing/design/etc are usually just out of work and bitter, or students. The rest got jobs and design for companies like IKEA. There are of course the lucky few who are able to make a living as independant designers, producing only what they want, but these are few and far between.
posted by crunchywelch at 9:29 PM on December 4, 2004


I'm studying design, and if I can end up designing for IKEA, I'll be insanely happy. They do pretty good work, with minimal environmental impact, in non-sweatshop conditions, for real cheap? They get Americans interested in FURNITURE, and maybe one day they'll be interested enough where they'll actually buy some of mine? I could go and work for them, and not spend years worrying about all of that "ethics" shit that design professors who worked for Camel back in the day constantly moan on about?
Pass that sweet, sweet blue Scandinavian Kool-Aid, man, because I'm chuggin'.
posted by 235w103 at 2:41 AM on December 5, 2004


IKEA can be fun, but I needed the IKEA walkthrough in order to beat some of the stages.
posted by Jerub at 4:27 AM on December 5, 2004


elpapacito: You might be pleased to know that, from what I overheard (certainly didn't see with my own eyes, because I definitely don't have an account on a porn site,) the fuck for forest people actually did some candid shots at an IKEA once.
posted by rune at 4:33 AM on December 5, 2004


For that reason it will be talked about in history of furniture and design classes hundreds of years from now.
Oooh: nail, meet head. Very nicely put. If, that is, there is a "hundreds of years from now."

[D]esigners who identify themselves as uber-elite and bemoan the state of modern architecture/clothing/design/etc are usually just out of work and bitter, or students.
Who self-identifies as "uber-elite"? Let alone, who does this and "bemoans" anything? A Starck has everything he needs from the system - he has no legitimate venue for complaint.

I do agree with you, though, that design today tends to be of such average high quality and intelligence that people who complain much are probably just venting their bitterness at being left out of the game. Just off the top of my head, and from a few different design disciplines, Snowcrash, Yeohlee Teng, Diller & Scofidio, the Bouroullecs, Jasper Morrison, Field Operations, Naoto Fukasawa, FOA, and occasionally even Mr. Marc Newson, are producing exceptional work on something close to their own terms, to the point that the room for excuses is running out.

There's a real argument to be made that IKEA is the gateway drug responsible for design-consciousness expansion on the part of a whole generation now (though not necessarily any of the above-named). People go on to other and deeper expressions of this consciousness, but I think the phenomenon is real and I think the results speak for themselves.
posted by Adam Greenfield at 5:41 AM on December 5, 2004


Adam: odurr: Um, yeah, you kinda were.

Adam: Learn to read posts in sequence. I mean that in the nicest possible way. When I said "ergonomics", I meant "ergonomics". You are not the only person in this thread who has studied human factors; you need not condescend to us by telling us what we actually meant by the words we used.

When I first introduced the term "ergonomics", the subject of chairs had not been raised. We were talking about furniture, but most of the furniture discussed to date had been things like tables and bookshelves. Does it make sense to conflate "ergonomics" with "comfort" in the context of bookshelves? No, Adam, it doesn't.

But it does make sense to criticise a bookshelf, say, for having an overhaning lip on the front edge of the shelf, which would make it difficult to shelve books that were close in height to the height of the shelf. That's an example of a design failure on ergonomic grounds. (If you want to quibble, you can argue that's merely a failure of function, not ergonomics per se. But I see it as a human factor.)

I think the real problem here (to take a page from your book) is that you seem to think that "primary" and "critical" are synonymous with "only." They're not. If I say that ergonomics ought to the the primary criterion, or that it is a critical criterion, for judging the design of an object that people are expected to use, then I am clearly not saying that it is the only criterion. You seem to think that I would be.

I'll go farther: Even if I say that, should device A fail to satisfy "a critical" or "the primary" design criterion, it's a failure, I'm still not saying that criterion is the only criterion -- and I'm not even sayign it's the only criterion that matters. I'm simply saying that if device A fails to meet that criterion, then it's out of the running. If A and B both meet the criterion, then other, non-critical or non-primary criteria will clearly be used to differentiate between the two.

And I'll go further still. If I say that satisfying criterion x is sufficient to qualify A and B for consideration, I'm still not saying that the degree of satisfaction of x is the sole metric for determining the relative "value" of A and B.

Now Adam, however you choose to read what I have been saying, what I've outline above is what I was actually saying, either explicitly or implicitly. And of what I've said above that was only implicit, it really wasn't that hard to see. If you'd bothered to parse my examples, you'd have understood that. If you don't believe that and can't tell that by reviewing this discussion, that's not my problem, it's yours. But then, you're a guy who seems to impute dire motives to anyone who doesn't like Starbucks.

As for the handle issue... I've never seen a reason to care. Yes, some people who use "real names" as handles are nicer people. Some aren't. The evidence doesn't support the idea that using real names makes one more "responsible" in a forum like this. After all, the cause for that better behavior could just be that nicer people are more likely to use their real names. Furthermore, handles (as they are designed to do) often give you some insight into a person's personality -- or at least, to that which they want to project. They are part of the social interaction dance of this medium. One can choose to use them, or not; it's a bit like going to the bar on Halloween with or without a costume.
posted by lodurr at 9:32 AM on December 5, 2004


Good design, good meatballs. What's not to love?
posted by Vidiot at 10:47 AM on December 5, 2004


Beautiful design means it is functional (aka ergonomic) and beautiful. Otherwise it's not design per se, it's art. Nice to look at, but I won't buy it to sit in/shelve books on/organise my stuff. lodurr is right - funtion is not the only criteria, but it is the sina qua non.

This goes double, triple even, for architecture. At least I can choose what furniture to buy (within reason), but I have less choice on where to live and especially where to work/public spaces. At the University of Toronto, a graduate residence building was made without good lighting, for aesthetic reasons (the architect liked low lighting). However, the intended residents were all graduate students, many of whom frickin' need to read books all day in the one room they have to live in. Apparently the architect thought that no one read books anymore, just used computers. Of course, if books ever go out of fashion, the last people on the planet to be using them will be humanities graduate students. Another building on the same campus was designed with wall lighting, instead of ceiling lighting. Apparently no one told the architects and designers, and they didn't notice, that professors put up book shelves in their offices.

This is aside from all the issues with architecture and space (shape, ceiling heights, the way traffic flows in a public place, how places like libraries and universities need quiet corners out of the main traffic areas, study spaces, etc.) I am very sensitive to space, but I feel too many contemporary architiects are aware of what a building looks like, but less aware of what it feels like to live/work in that space. There are some spaces which may be beautiful, but are not functional - the new law library at the Univeristy of Cambridge was like this: a stunning open glass-walled atrium running up the whole of one side of the building. However, it meant that noise travelled up and down the library terribly - they had to glass off the atrium itself, thus ruining some of the design, because otherwise no one could work in the library due to the constant noise.
posted by jb at 12:58 PM on December 5, 2004


Ikea (MP3)
posted by tristeza at 2:30 PM on December 5, 2004


Habitat is nicer.
posted by meehawl at 3:07 PM on December 5, 2004


Mmmmmm, I fondly remember the Habitat in Citicorp Center. Terence Conran is still a genius, too.
posted by Adam Greenfield at 3:20 PM on December 5, 2004


God damn, Lodurr. God. Damn. How high are you imagining the stakes of this debate are?
posted by Hildago at 4:44 PM on December 5, 2004


"The Habitat site needs the MX version of the Flash plugin to work."

Talk about bad design.

(Also, that message is an image file, for some reason.)
posted by dirigibleman at 4:48 PM on December 5, 2004


lodurr/adam-- you've covered the topic more than adequately (I see lodurr's view on this); my tangent about using a screen name as opposed to one's real name: I'm really impressed when anonymous souls with no hope of gaining anything but an exchange itself work passionately to articulately express their views; and am skeptical of many who are known who write, it seems, as a means to enlarging their reputations. (This is a generalization, ofcourse).
posted by buddhanarchist at 7:04 PM on December 6, 2004


What a coincidence: I'm skeptical of pretentious hacks who hide accountability for their incoherence behind pompous handles! How symmetrically delightful! How delightfully symmetrical!
posted by Adam Greenfield at 2:43 PM on December 7, 2004


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