Ikea Opening Temporarily Places Canberra ‘On the Map’
by The Editor
It’s really big, it’s blue, and those from the Southside can drive over a new bridge to get there. Its Canberra’s Ikea Store.
Let’s be clear about this, there is almost nothing in this Ikea that separates it from other Ikea stores. Sure, there are some cool facts (the store is 25,000sqm in size, the dining room seats 380 people, there is over 1900 solar panels to run the entire operation during summer), but that’s kind of a footnote as to what is really going on here.
Stay tuned to Monday morning when Canberrans scramble their Ford Territorys through the spaghetti of Pilliago’s ten-year roadworks to be one of the first to secure a Billy bookcase from over the horizon.
So what is is about us that has half the city drawn like a moth the the flame for ubiquitous goods with no sense of place? It’s a scenario oft-repeated over recent years, with Canberrans going ga-ga for Costco and Zara, Apple and Uber.
If Canberra is ‘cool’ (as we like to tell ourselves), then why does it take the arrival of these brands to make us feel like we’re a city of note? You can be pretty sure that Sydneysiders don’t swell with pride at industrial-scale homeware stores, nor do Melburnians spruik a ride-sharing app as the jewel of their public transport mix.
We’ve got so much of which to be proud. Articles here, here and here from the big city folk we seem so keen to emulate do the job of pointing out the many awesome business and environments that have been created without the help of the global giants we so quickly embrace.
At this stage it;s worth noting that we don’t hate Ikea. in fact, IKEA is awesome. It has taken previously unattainable Scandinavian design and made it accessible to hundreds of millions of people all around the globe. We’re all for making the world a better-looking place, and the less ‘fast fashion’ in interior design, the better.
So go for it. Fill your house with Ikea. You have our support. But why not look at a couple of feature pieces to create real talking points and support local Canberra creative? Scott Mitchell has a long history of crafting beautiful wooden pieces (some of which can be found in Parliament House). For a more contemporary edge, have a look at Tom Skeehan, who’s style has really solidified over the last couple of years to become one of our best designers.
This is the sort of stuff we should be excited about. Canberra, with its high social-economic demographic means the Ikea business sees value in setting up in Canberra. What we should be doing is treating the Swedish operation as a something incredibly ordinary, generic and unexciting and use it in that context. For the latest ideas with hand-crafted care and a strong place in community, have a look at people like Tom and Scott.
So, will we be heading out to Ikea? Of course! We can’t help but admire the scale, the logistics and the relative quality that comes from this international operation. To be honest, we’ll probably give it a miss for this week. At the moment flashing signs warn of the traffic delays thanks to people making their way in and out of the car park.
It’s a safe bet that, probably by the end of November, we’ll make our way with a catalogue filled with post-it notes to load up a trolley of our own. Why? Because these DIY products make a great backdrop to the beautiful, locally-made feature pieces that we’ll treasure forever.