Ingvar Kamprad: A tribute to the father of flat pack

Photography credit to DesignLovr

When I was 17, I was mostly worrying about my A Levels, who was dating who and what I was going to wear to the weekend's party. When Ingvar Kamprad was 17, he was already busy revolutionizing the furniture industry. Kamprad was special from a very young age, and by founding IKEA back in 1943, began the journey towards becoming the “Father of flat pack”.

A true pioneer of the furniture industry...

As you may already know, IKEA regrettably announced his passing at the age of 91. And though his long life came to its saddening close, his legacy will remain forever. Starting out as a dyslexic 17 year old boy struggling in school, to later overseeing over 350 stores across 29 countries, Ingvar Kamprad will forever remain the epitome of how far one can get by working hard. The impact of Ikea on this industry is unprecedented. Ever since the commercialisation of its first flat pack furniture piece, the LOVET (appearing in its 1956 catalogue), the company became a true household name in the “easy to assemble furniture” movement. This first piece changed the way we purchased furniture unlike we had ever seen before. By giving the customer the task of assembly, Kamprad was able to keep production costs low while making the product easily transportable. As a result IKEA was an accessible furniture company to everybody. His mission to make everyday life easier for the masses was met with overwhelming success.   

European Leaders, a portrait of Ingvar Kamprad

Photography credit to European Leaders

... And inventor of a revolutionary shopping experience.

But IKEA isn’t just a furniture shop, it’s an experience. People will travel for miles to visit IKEA stores and often will stay the entirety of the day. Their unique layout allows visitors to be fully immersed in the experience. A real opportunity to envision how furniture can work inside your home, inputting their simplicity and value into your own life. IKEA has become a celebrated family day out. It is also worth adding that IKEA’s dwellings are so large it takes almost a day to navigate them. This is why Kamprad had intuitively introduced restaurants into the business as he thought hunger was stopping his customers from spending. It is estimated that between 1987 (when they opened their first British store) and 2012, IKEA sold over 11.6 billion Swedish meatballs and 1.2 billion hot dogs to UK shoppers. You could almost say that the company’s food has become as iconic as its flat pack furniture! Moreover, the company has been known to print as many as 200 million copies of its catalog every year, making it as popular as both the Bible and the Quran.

Omni, a portrait of Ingvar Kamprad

Photography credit to Omni

And yet a man of simple taste.

It is only fitting that IKEA would call its founder “one of the greatest entrepreneurs of the 20th century”. Employees would often describe his warm and playful nature that underpinned his hard work, noting "He worked until the very end of his life, staying true to his own motto that most things remain to be done". Ingvar Kamprad was a passionate visionary in the furniture industry, and his input will be greatly missed.

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