What an Ikea, Sir ji

I like furniture with sharp edges. Not the best choice as you end up getting poked. It is the clean lines that appeal to me. Rounded and moulded appear artificial.

My room has everything made to order. Except a work chair and a holdall. It was created according to my specifications, which have changed.

That's the point. That's why we cannot snort over Ikea's move to invest $1.9 billion spread across 25 stores in India. We may not need some Swedish all-purpose standard designs, but it is adaptable.

Besides, there are already Italian furniture stores in most cities. They are expensive and use leather that is hardly conducive for our climate.

Will Ikea pose a challenge to Indian stores? To an extent. I've been to their outlets and, except for a mini easel to place my notes, I have not purchased anything from there. But I can see how it might entice people who are not snooty. Why, some of them too might stop by, pick up some things and add their designer touches.

Regular furniture stores, at least in Mumbai, are not user friendly. I once landed up in Malad in what looked like a nice shop. As what I wanted was not available, I was asked to visit the godown. After jumping over an open drain, I entered a smelly room. A sofa was patted and dust clouds formed in the air. "Imported," said the sales guy.

"Why is it so dirty?"

"Antique finish."

Great. It was worse than the shop in Chor Bazaar that made an antique roll-top desk. I still have it. The wood is sturdy and it holds everything. It even has secret chambers where I keep the menus of takeaway joints. Now that would qualify as a secret if I ordered food for guests and passed it off as mine!

I am sure Ikea will have some such secrets.

Indians who know about sleeping on the floor or on khaats still get excited about futons. Outsiders have cannily caught on that we are penguins and will even buy ice cubes.


  1. I have been to IKEA several times but I find their furniture very boring , some of their fixed furniture has good design but not very sturdy, I doubt our people would accept it but what I find funny was the non-conducive nature of leather, I guess it is non conducive to miss versey when most of us find Leather to be aplomb, and a hinge of maturity and finesse. Most european furniture are made of wood which are not enedemic to indian wood, like walnut, rosewood which are costly for it's veneer unlike us completely entrenched in teak and other exotic wood.

  2. Another snooty uber-gentrified Moghul Rizwan :)

    No, you are right. some of their stuff can get boring as they focus on price and functionality.

    About the leather, it feels awkward even in luxury cars; I am not sure people would want that in a cramped apartments in humid climate.

    IKEA is to furniture, what Bollywood is to movies. Some like it a lot, others have to develop a taste for it or just tolerate it :)

  3. Rizwan:

    I wear leather, but when I am in my bespoke suite in the Alps, with a bespoke valet attending to my bespoke needs. I think it is déclassé to impose aplomb. It has to come naturally, and when the natural weather is hot and humid and your rear sweats from the mere sitting, then my dear, even Prof Higgins would be worse off than Eliza Dolittle.

    As regards wood, it depends on what critters you like in your table rather than on it...


    My idea if gentrified is clearly different. And do not diss Bollywood. It has given the leather whip cult status via all the villains.

    And Ikea...it don't harm no one. We probably have indigenous ones without names.

  4. I am not imposing "bespoke" aplomb , it s always hard to explain to a woman who is naturally angry :) there are various type of leather you get these days, many have been developed who acts like natural breather esp grain leathers with fine textures , these are natural and an outcome of good engineering and leather processing. when the rear is really sweating you would need an air-conditioner 24x7, I can understand your concern for natural comfort which is not forthcoming in a city like Bombay with 100% humidity laced with other challenges. Though I have not visited your esteemed city but it would be rather challenging for many (don't Laugh) - good furniture are contingent on good wood esp the lighter ones without critter


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