Ikea in Paris: Comfortable Marketing

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Published March 15, 2010

 

I wanted to write a piece to close the Paris collections, but that’s going to have to wait because all I can think about is the sofas, easy chairs, and a few floor lamps that showed up in several big Paris Metro stations (Concorde, Saint Lazare and two others) last Thursday courtesy of Ikea, and backed up by its ads that read, “Plus qu’un Marchand de Meubles” (more than a furniture store).  I have become fascinated by these fake castoffs that I pass by on my way from point A to B more than once each day.  After the first few days in their underground home, the soft seats (bright red, chintzy floral, chic black, random) looked brand new, or as my friend the stylist Haidee Findlay-Levin would say, “perky.” But now they’ve been down there five days, exposed to careless but surprisingly not malicious treatment by passers-by so an accelerated, lived-in quality has begun to set in. I wonder if by the end of the operation (March 24) they will have reached the point of no return? Of course the definition of the end of a sofa varies. Then I thought about Ikea’s slogan, “More than a Furniture Store,” and I began to wonder why would a furniture store want to be more than a place that sells desirable tables and chairs etc.? Why more, when enough would be just fine?