When the Swedish affordable home furnishing company, Ikea, came to Israel ten years ago, it filled a void. The store filled the need for a more approachable, affordable place for Israelis to furnish their homes and experiment with interior design. Former Ikea Israel CEO Dov Rochman even called the opening of the country’s first Ikea store a revolution in Israeli furniture and design awareness.
Ten years later, Ikea has proven to increase design consciousness and Bracha Kunda, the head of the interior design department at the Holon Institute of Technology, said recently that “Ikea made interior design more accessible to the broader public, and brought it down to the people, but not in a bad sense. It increased design awareness in Israel and made it more part of mass culture.”
But what about sustainable design awareness? Is it just about saving money in our wallets? The past ten years have brought about great advances in sustainable interior design, including some local cardboard furniture options for both kids and adults.
When faced with a choice between cheap, new, readily available furniture from Ikea or more expensive, potentially upcycled, and harder-to-find sustainable design options from local designers, though, is it any wonder that the majority of Israelis aren’t jumping on the green furniture design trend?
Instead, for the most part, Israelis are flocking towards cheap, colorful, trendy furniture pieces from Ikea, which are cheap on their wallets but environmentally expensive. Sure, Ikea furniture comes in flat-packed boxes that save room and energy during shipping, but you can’t expect any durability from that Billy bookcase in your living room.
Maybe Ikea hasn’t been all bad for the sustainable interior design movement, though. If people have greater design consciousness, then surely some of them will gravitate towards sustainable design as well.
Noga Friedlander, the director of marketing at Tollman’s (a high-end home furnishings company), seems optimistic. “Ikea educates younger people to like and demand design,” she said, “so that when they are a bit older they are better prepared to understand differences and want better things. It makes them aware of design and its advantages, and afterward people are more prepared to pay more to have the real thing.”
“The biggest disadvantage of Ikea is quality,” said Friedlander. “But, again, they bring a relatively high level of design to a young audience, which afterward seeks this from higher quality companies.”
Hopefully this young audience will be looking for high quality sustainable design as well.
Read more about sustainable furniture design:
Krooom Makes Recycled and Recyclable Cardboard Furniture For Kids of All Ages
Studio Mesila is Paving the Track to Sustainable Design
Amir Zinaburg’s Recycled Designs Can-Can
Image via: OiMax