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A machine for living in
May 12, 2005 9:42 PM   Subscribe

BoKlok: Flat-packed boxes + alan wrench = home! With these relatively attractive six-plexes, Ikea seems to have made a reality of Le Corbusier's dream of mass-produced housing.
posted by pieisexactlythree (26 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
A bit grungier: LOT-EK architecture.
posted by AlexReynolds at 9:54 PM on May 12, 2005


Given that almost everything I--or someone I know--has bought from ikea in the past few years has had shoddy quality, poor engineering, and tends to fall apart if you sneeze on it, I'm not entirely confident in their ability to build houses.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:58 PM on May 12, 2005


Yet everything my family has bought from there has been fine - I know a well-to-do family that shops almost exclusively at Ikea, because they are just about the only place with slightly modernist or European furniture that isn't exorbitant. I really like Ikea design - they design for small spaces.
posted by jb at 10:23 PM on May 12, 2005


Is all the Ikea stuff made in China? Curious if the Sweden thing is all image nowadays.
posted by rolypolyman at 10:23 PM on May 12, 2005


In the interest of full disclosure, I actually ate an Ikea product tonight!
(actually just the Lingonberry sauce in the bottom left of the picture)

*ducks*
posted by pieisexactlythree at 10:26 PM on May 12, 2005


I can imagine what it's like to open that box now -- all you have are house panels and one freakin' huge hex key to put it all together.
posted by clevershark at 10:35 PM on May 12, 2005



Given that almost everything I--or someone I know--has bought from ikea in the past few years has had shoddy quality, poor engineering, and tends to fall apart if you sneeze on it, I'm not entirely confident in their ability to build houses.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:58 PM PST on May 12


Yet everything my family has bought from there has been fine - I know a well-to-do family that shops almost exclusively at Ikea


I know that Ikea, like Ford or Fender, offer a wide range of product, at a wide range of price, with a wide range of quality.

It's just a simple fact that the $40.99 coffee table isn't near the product of the $249.99 coffee table.

To anecdotally make judgment on the quality of their furniture is pointless.
posted by sourwookie at 12:02 AM on May 13, 2005


It's just a simple fact that the $40.99 coffee table isn't near the product of the $249.99 coffee table.

To anecdotally make judgment on the quality of their furniture is pointless.


On the other hand, if you could sell a table that cost 20 dollars to make for forty dollars or sixty dollars, which would you?
posted by clockzero at 12:31 AM on May 13, 2005


sourwookie, IKEA is not just scandanavian design, but also economy furniture. Their choice of materials for desk surfaces or bookshelves almost universally includes chipboard, plastic, and non durable materials. The joining hardware is typically designed more for ease of assembly and low cost rather than durability. I'd say they make a wide range of product at a low range of price (economy) for a low range of quality (5-10 years durability). This is based partially on my observation of IKEA furniture bought by others, but mostly on comparison of workmanship in store vs. other stores such as DWR which step up the price two notches, and the quality of design, materials, and fastenings 1-3 notches, or Limn which is $$$$$ for truly excellent furniture such as Ligne Roset. I do like a few of the children's furniture pieces from IKEA which are made from real wood, but it's definitely not worth putting up with the shopping experience. The best time to go to IKEA is if you need an entire set of furniture for a four-five year relocation; college or new job for instance.

However, I suspect that from the point of view of a real joiner, all modern wooden furniture has somewhat flawed construction.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:38 AM on May 13, 2005


Well, obviously if you can afford handcrafted joined furniture, which would always be preferrable, you could buy whatever you want made very well. But in choosing between nice cheap furniture from Ikea versus ugly cheap furniture from the Brick, I'll go with Ikea.

These houses are all right, but they are very open concept and have terrible kitchens. I would happily have a tiny livingroom to have a nice big kitchen.
posted by jb at 1:25 AM on May 13, 2005


Allen wrench.
posted by fixedgear at 2:58 AM on May 13, 2005


jb - yeah, kitchens are massively underrated. As someone who's flat hunting in new york right now that is a major grievance. Their cheap stuff doesn't last, no, it is reasonably well designed (although my gf just hates the generic look that it has) and offers off the shelf solutions for folk who don't have enough time to really think about these things nor money to buy 'real' furniture.

On a different note, I have huge respect for utopian luminaries of modernism such as Le Corboursier and if this means a step towards more affordable housing in the UK then it seems like a good idea. (when I left bristol last year it was impossible for me to afford to buy a home, not that NY is any better).
posted by blindsam at 4:55 AM on May 13, 2005


Don't forget Buckminster Fuller!
posted by sciurus at 5:14 AM on May 13, 2005


It's impossible to make non-crap furniture out of particle board - that said, their real wood stuff is decent. I sure wouldn't buy version 1.0 of these houses tho. "New!" IKEA stuff I've bought always seems to have incomplete instructions, holes drilled in the wrong place, etc., while their tried and true products, like the aweome Poang chair, have all the bugs worked out.
posted by selfmedicating at 5:24 AM on May 13, 2005


... Sears Homes
posted by tomplus2 at 6:21 AM on May 13, 2005


I have huge respect for utopian luminaries of modernism such as Le Corboursier
*spits*
posted by Popular Ethics at 6:57 AM on May 13, 2005


What does Ikea actually make their stuff out of? In a lot of things, it's not actually particle board or MDF, since it's not nearly heavy enough. Maybe one of those, laminated around a foam core?
posted by smackfu at 7:06 AM on May 13, 2005


Silly me. From the way the post was worded, I thought they had designed homes that could be built by the consumer. I was amazed. However, I was put straight...

Will BoKlok homes be available to buy as flat packs from IKEA stores?
A BoKlok home needs to be built by specialists and is not suitable for self-build. The homes will be built by specialist contractors and then offered for sale or rent. BoKlok UK will market the built homes in conjunction IKEA stores local to each development.

posted by MsVader at 8:25 AM on May 13, 2005


Yeah, I'm with MsVader. A pretty big *meh* after what I thought I was going to get was a flat-packed house. It seems more like a new kind of sub-division than a new kind of revolution. (And I'm not even all that crabby today).

But thanks AR for the Lot-Ek link.
posted by OmieWise at 8:50 AM on May 13, 2005


Skanska are the other partner (with Ikea) and they're a major multi-national construction company. I think the houses should be fairly good quality.
posted by dublinemma at 10:47 AM on May 13, 2005


Wow, I thought building my Ikea kitchen was a bitch!

Kidding aside, as sourwookie mentioned, there is varying degrees of quality in Ikea products. In regards to the use of particle board, laminates, plastics, or the fit and finish of some of their products in comparison to some higher end design, sometimes it boils down to paying for a name. I've seen plenty of high end designs that have utilized these same materials, yet seem to retain a high end price.

I really dig the concept and I'm curious to see if it will be brought to the U.S. and if so, how it would be received. I'm not holding my breath, its to outside the norm for most.
posted by spunpup at 11:03 AM on May 13, 2005



Allen wrench.
posted by fixedgear at 2:58 AM PST on May 13 [!]


Fixedgear, you missed my cunning Simpsons reference: In the episode where the Simpson family visits Stør, the Groening version of Ikea, Bart encounters a creature which looks like a giant hex wrench. Bart remarks on his nice costume and he reveals that his name is Alan Wrench and it's not a costume: he was found floating in the Van Allen Belt. "I need tungesten to live!" he declares.
posted by pieisexactlythree at 12:14 PM on May 13, 2005


Those Le Corboursier designs look like a lot of projects I've seen.
posted by Kellydamnit at 12:43 PM on May 13, 2005


Kellydamnit: Yup. Corbu was laughed out of France, but American cities were more receptive to his (and other modernists') ideas. You can find these "luminary utopias" in the worst parts of Chicago or New York.
posted by Popular Ethics at 1:19 PM on May 14, 2005


Touche Popular Ethics. For a particularly scathing look at modernism's migration to North America, I highly recommend Tom Wolfe's From the Bauhaus to Our House
posted by pieisexactlythree at 7:30 PM on May 14, 2005


Modernism looks beautiful in artists' drawings, when clean and set among trees and lakes. When dirty and unkept, it is terrible.

I saw a building in London, high modernism - most of it was very ugly cracking grey concrete. But the outside of one unit was painted bright white - and suddently you realised it was quite a beautiful design when clean and white. If only the whole building had been kept that way.
posted by jb at 8:30 PM on May 14, 2005


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