How do you plan on recycling or reusing your 2016 IKEA catalog — theme: “The Little Things That Matter” — once you’ve finished feverishly combing through its hallowed — and largely digitally manipulated — pages in search of ideas, inspiration and hidden unicycles?
A prop for a wobbly EKTORP loveseat?
One-dimensional dollhouse furniture?
Aspirational birdcage liner?
A decoupage tissue box cover to have close at hand for the inevitable weeping that will ensure while attempting to assemble a simple piece of furniture from the Swedish home design behemoth?
Or perhaps you’ll muster up the emotional strength to return the catalog, printed on Forest Stewardship Council-certified paper in 71 different versions and 34 different languages, directly to your nearest IKEA store for recycling. Maybe you don’t plan on parting with the 324-page wish book at all.
Whatever your plans may be, IKEA enthusiasts living in Belgium — the country largely responsible for the now-verboten IKEA hide-and-seek craze that later swept the Netherlands — now have an entirely new way to part with (but not really part with at all) the much-hyped annual mailer that’s believed to be more widely distributed than the Good Book itself. (Roughly 4.8 million IKEA catalogs are distributed in Belgium, a country of 11.2 million residents as of 2013).
On Sept. 12, IKEA Belgium's six stores, in participation with creative studio DDB Brussels, will host a shred-a-thon of sorts in which old catalogs surrendered by customers will be shredded and used as stuffing for a new, couch-ready cushion called KÜSS. Normally, the retailer’s inner cushion offerings are filled with duck feathers or polyester.
Explains noted Belgian designer Charles Kaisan of the eye-catching new — and presumably limited edition — cushion cover design: “I drew the design inspiration from the cellulose molecule, the natural raw material of paper pulp. Styled and repeated into a visual structure it becomes its very own source of inspiration."
The pillow stuffing campaign is yet another clever, eco-minded PR stunt from IKEA, a company that’s long excelled at clever, eco-minded PR stunts. But one important question remains: will KÜSS be comfy?
Likely not but there's no doubt the cushion will have a bit of, err, lumpy scrunch to it. And god forbid you lay your head on the catalog-stuffed throw pillow and doze off as your dreams will forever be haunted by frozen meatballs and $10 "birch effect" end tables.