Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of the Swedish interior design retailer IKEA, has died aged 91. In honour of Kamprad's influence on interior design, we here reproduce the news story posted by satirical website Artnose in August 2003
Auctioneers respond to 'IKEA challenge'
Renaming antiques brings market revival
By Artnose saleroom correspondent Jasper Plack
|Fnek: the new name |
for a Georgian bureau
Britain’s provincial auction houses are giving new names to old furniture in a bid to encourage younger buyers back into the salerooms. Declining attendances at country auctions have been attributed to a growing preference for the kind of modern furnishings sold by the Swedish furniture chain Ikea. But now auctioneers are fighting back.
One provincial auction house – Opossum & Son in Gloucestershire – have begun renaming old staples in an attempt to lure bidders back to the rostrum and now other salerooms are following suit.
On arrival at the auction house, George III bureaux are disassembled by saleroom porters, shrink-wrapped and packed into brown cardboard boxes with an Allen key enclosed before being sold under the name Fnek. Pie-crust tea-tables are in future to be known as Smeg, Victorian credenzas will be called Møben and the Regency mahogany linen press is henceforth to be referred to as Klübb.
“The response has been extraordinary,” said Tancred Tealeaf of Salisbury auctioneers Willies and Wallies. “Already prices are starting to recover. We’re doing a particularly brisk trade in Bluk and Smekyur – oh, sorry, Victorian balloon-back dining chairs and Regency wine coolers to you. Other popular lines are the Glink (Georgian sofa table) and Breg (Victorian tip-top breakfast table) which are selling like hotcakes because people like the way they can be combined with a modern interior. I don’t know why we didn’t think of this before. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”
This upbeat analysis was echoed by Sir Roger Pegg-Tankard, chairman of the old Fine Art Retail Traders’ Society (FARTS). “We had to do something,” said Sir Roger as he mounted his penny-farthing en route to a meeting of the society’s hastily convened ‘Furniture Renaming Committee’. “Buyers were leaving in their droves and prices were falling at a frightening rate. This initiative demonstrates that auctioneers are a dynamic, forward-thinking breed that is prepared to change with the times. I’ve seen the future and it’s flatpacked.”
Some auction houses, such as Tinkerbells of Tiverton and Mortiss & Tennons of Weybridge have started renaming old silver, clocks and watches and have begun selling hotdogs on sale days in emulation of Scandinavian retail strategies.
|Glob: available in |
packs of six or eight
One young couple interviewed outside a saleroom in Somerset approved of the new initiative: “We prefer buying at auction now that the furniture is flat-packed,” said Irene Halfwit of Bristol.
“My husband’s very good at screwing things. We’ve just bought a self-assembly Bøvaar, which is the new name for a Queen Anne walnut bureau bookcase. So Pete’s got his work cut out trying to understand the instructions. Shopping’s so easy at auction. And we love those little pencils they give you when you’re walking round.”
Salerooms across the country are reporting increased revenues due to the ‘Ikeaisation’ of auction culture.
David Dickinson was on a buying trip to Stockholm and unavailable for comment.
Artnose saleroom correspondent