I really like the new 2012 Ikea catalogue. Firstly the photography is great - lots of beautiful natural light, and the styling - all that greenery and the very grounded, realistic look (by the standards of interiors brochures generally, if not our actual homes). The products are totally in tune with the mood of the times: there's an absence of frivolity and gimmicks and a whole lot of utilitarian, functional looks and simple, humble materials. Things with a more enduring, neutral style, rather than of-the-moment fashions. I get the feeling that they're trying to tap into their customers' need for practical stuff to make their lives easier and more comfortable. It's achievable rather than aspirational.
Ikea's two big pushes this year are bedrooms and small space living. Small space living is self-explanatory: people can't afford to move into a bigger place so they need to manage their burgeoning possessions better, hence there's a lot of emphasis on clever storage throughout the home. Regarding bedrooms, my best guess for the reasons behind Ikea's focus on this is that it's a valid way to indulge ourselves in a recession. We're not going out as much, plus the world is a scarier place, so our homes gain more significance in our lives. And the bedroom is the home-within-a-home, with the bed itself as the ultimate inner sanctum. It's always been my favourite place. So perhaps it's about encouraging us to make more of this room, as a place where we can unwind and be ourselves.
Here are some of my favourite shots from the new catalogue, I'll do an edit of my favourite products very soon...