In perhaps the biggest IKEA-related uproar to hit since pork was detected in moose lasagna, the do-gooding Swedish home furnishings emporium has announced that it is retiring EXPEDIT, an ubiquitous MDF shelving system that you, I, and everyone we know owns or has owned at some point.
The news, first announced in Germany before it quickly spread across the globe, has hit vinyl collectors particularly hard, prompting in-store hoarding, Twitter-based panic attacks, and Facebook campaigns launched to save the flat-pack classic.
While the Billy is the world's best-selling piece of furniture for housing printed tomes it is the grid-like Expedit that is the record collectors' essential buy, second in importance only to their turntables. And it's no surprise why: The individual Expedit compartment's standard, relatively narrow 13.25" width and stacked verticals provide the support needed for heavy vinyl. Those with LPs stored on more conventional, longer-span shelves typically experience more SAG than a Hollywood film production.
So how will the KALLAX differ from its beloved predecessor?
If you take a good at the below image, you’ll notice the distinctively chunky outer edges of EXPEDIT have been thinned down, shaved by about a centimeter. Not a drastic switch-up by any means but enough to prompt a bit of old-fashioned upset. As we all know, consumers — vinyl collectors or not —are resistant to change even if it involves a slight redesign of that boxy bookcase that took 2 hours, a lot of yelling, and a fifth of whisky to assemble.
The reason that IKEA decided to overhaul EXPEDIT boils down to this: they wanted to save money on materials. It may seem insignificant but when you’re dealing with a hugely popular item from a company that uses 1 percent of the world’s wood supply, it adds up.
Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan over at Gizmodo does a great job of explaining the economic — and environmental — benefits of the redesign.
If Ikea can cut even a centimeter of wood on each of those products, it will save massively on material costs. It's also going to help them make good on their claim of sustainability. Right now, 25 percent of Ikea wood is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (which certifies that wood is legally and sustainably sourced). Last year, they pledged to increase that number to 50 percent within five years. And when you're selling hundreds of millions of products a year, even the smallest savings count.
So this decision probably has nothing to do with design, and not much to do with stirring up excitement — though that doesn't hurt — either. It's just good business at a truly massive scale. So mourn for Expedit—but remember that it's being replaced by basically the same thing, and it's coming from a more sustainable company.
Via [Core77], [Gizmodo]
Related stories on MNN: