Ceres Creative Blog

Form and Function can reunite… if you don’t buy store box furniture!

So by now I think all of Ottawa and surrounding natives are well aware of the monstrous Ikea that has been built in Canada’s Capital.    It is hard to miss driving on the 417.    Ikea in all their business wisdom would not have made this grand investment if we the people, (myself excluded)  weren’t eager to spend our dollars on their products.    I say we need the biggest Ikea in the country like we all need holes in our heads,  or for that matter the biggest landfill to accompany it.

Being the largest Ikea in Canada thus far,  speaks volumes to both the level of education and understanding regarding sustainability and how furnishings should be considered in this regard.    I think because purchasing furniture is considered a long term investment, many overlook the difference between an  8-12  year investment versus a 50 to 200 plus year investment.    When you do the math, over the years,  Ikea is outrageously expensive for the consumer,  but more costly is how it bares on our environment and depletion of natural resources.

I do not want to only call out Ikea,  as it is all inferior built ‘box store furniture’, particle core, thinned veneew, plastic component, screwed together crapola that irks me.

One of the services I offer is to source out quality furniture for my clients, whether that furniture be new, used, custom built, antique; the criteria is always that it is quality constructed using quality materials, that the function and size work for the client, and it has a timeless form.   I am also a resource of  ideas on what can be done to customize or restyle these pieces.   Saying this, I have never nor would I ever source from Ikea or other likened pieces as the product will not last.   They are not adaptable to refinishing, changing hardware, or even worth the cost of repair when damaged.

My tip for those who do purchase this type of furniture is to move it only once into it’s ‘home position’ and leave it be.  The moving torques the structure easily weakening it.

Form Follows Function is the means of having both functionality in your space as well as beauty, and granted, Ikea has beautiful forms that function well, but only for a short while in relation to how long furniture really can and should last.   Ikea and like products end up in our landfills on average within a decade.   Do you find this acceptable?

Before heading to that huge boxstore, look on websites such as Kijiji Ottawa, Used Ottawa, and my new favorite Dymon Mine, to give you an idea of the quantity and quality of gently used furnishings found locally at amazing prices.   Check out your local thrift shops too.   Shop for timeless pieces that you can purchase now, for less than fair value, and then save your money and plan the Re-Creation.   Much can be done through modifying, repairing, or refinishing these pieces.    Form and Function can reunite with a little care and ingenuity.

If you are purchasing new, be sure it is quality and will stand the test of wear and time.   Think about the adaptability of the piece for changing it up in future years.   The real beauty of quality is that your investment will not end up in the landfill prematurely no matter if your design taste changes, as someone WILL snatch it off your curbside before it hits the back of the garbage truck.   With quality purchases, you are contributing to reducing, recycling and reusing.

Our society has devolved into a  ‘I want it all and I want it now’  mentality, which has left many with debt and all with massive garbage heaps to live with.   Two generations back people saved their money and purchased quality ( that’s all that there was ) and they cared for what they worked hard for.   Do you remember the days of plastic covers on dining room seats to protect the upholstery,   table protectors, pads and clothe, the mandatory coaster rules?    Now I am not saying we should go back to plastic on our upholstery, but there needs to be a coming together of our values of then and now.

Purchase responsibly and consider what you are leaving behind for the generations to come.