Death of a sails man


Sweden’s flag, the colours are from Magnus III’s time: 1275, since you ask

Ingvar Kramprad has died, 75 years after creating IKEA.

Aged 17, he maximized the gift of dyslexia, flattening objections to his ambition and created the framework of IKEA – his initials and those of his home location.

I first came across the store in France, shocking my companion that I’d never heard of it. This was in ’83. It seemed weird to walk round a warehouse full of recognizable shapes, colour combinations and utensils I’d never seen in England but found ubiquitously in Sweden.

His thing was accessibility. Enabling all to have access to robust, enduring, ecologically sound furniture & utensils.

Contrary to popular opinion, Sweden is not a Utopia of egalitarianism. Class structure exists, sexism is rampant as is racism, homophobia and anti-semitism. I know: who knew? Well, any Swede who’s spent time away from this really bucolic land.

But the man, this modest humanitarian was not hewn from a Pine. He really was made of tested stuff which endures in virtue of its compassion.

According to a pal who also took his Stockholm bus to work, he travelled as all other commuters and carried a wee lunch pouch: no grand corporate dining for him.

I learned the store sells Kallas Kaviar (mumsfilibabba). Yesterday, I was impelled to get some – along with tunnbröd which alas wasn’t stocked so had to make do råg knäckebrot. Why yesterday?

I’m hoping it was in empathic acknowledgement at some preternatural level for his heroic achievements.

© IKEA                                                                             Ingvar Kamprad 1926 – 2018  As practically every one sails in Sweden, the flag floats everywhere