Oppressing the Danes. With flatpack furniture.

Shumi Bose in The Architect’s Journal:

IkeaThe most entertaining story by far in the papers is that of veiled Swedish neo-imperialism, quashing the spirit of neighbours in Denmark. And the battle tactics involve not the warships of yore, nor even the default UEFA points of last year; this time it’s IKEA.

In a deliciously cerebral and insidious move, the undermining of Danes is occurring even in the homes of millions of unsuspecting buyers, via the naming of Ikea’s product range. We’re all familiar with Ikea’s products (stop pretending), which are named rather than anonymously numbered, to suit their bright, cuddly and personable image. However, everything is political, even the friendliest of flatpack furniture. The Daily Mail reports on a study conducted at University of Copenhagen. which revealed that while other Nordic countries – Sweden, Norway and Finland – lend their words and place names to prestige products, for example the Stockholm sofa, or the Lillehammer bed, those named after Danish towns are less than glamorous.

Toilet seats, rugs, and doormats are providing the new semiotics of scorn; for example, you might rest your rear on an Oresund in the WC, which though lovely, is less than flattering to the beautiful Danish Oresund bridge; Niva in Denmark is not even worthy to give its name to an ornamental rug, being instead a roll of carpet underlay.

More here.  [Thanks to Jaffer Kolb.]