When is a toilet brush not a toilet brush? Going behind IKEA furniture names

  • Living
  • Wednesday, 15 Dec 2021

The Swedish tourist office (Visit Sweden) revealed all in a campaign showcasing 21 destinations that have lent their names to items in the IKEA catalogue. Photo: AFP

Have you ever wondered how IKEA comes up with its quirky and often unpronounceable furniture names? The Swedish tourist board has launched a campaign that humorously reveals the source of their origin, which might come as a surprise.

Bodviken, Skärhamn, Kallax. These unpronounceable names are now familiar to many of us thanks to the IKEA catalogue. And when it comes to naming its products, it seems that the Swedish furniture brand, established in 1943, was inspired by its country of origin, Sweden.

While many people long believed that the names were literal translations – like Kallax for shelf or Höljes for lampshade – that's not the case. The furniture giant has, in fact, borrowed from place names.

The Swedish tourist office (Visit Sweden) reveals all in a campaign showcasing 21 destinations that have lent their names to items in the IKEA catalogue.

Thus, we discover that "Bolmen" is "more than an IKEA toilet brush", that "Järvfjället" is "more than an IKEA gaming chair", that "Bodviken" is "more than an IKEA countertop sink" or that "Laxviken" is "more than an IKEA door front".

Each of the destinations is accompanied by a short description. Kallax, for example, "lies in Swedish Lapland, just outside the town of Luleå. Situated by the sea, this little spot is famous for its very smelly fermented herring (called ‘surströmming' in Swedish).

Every year in August, Kallax holds a fermented herring party where VIP guests and locals celebrate together".

The website also touches on Sweden's passion for design, from kit furniture to minimalist tone-on-tone interiors, from sustainable and innovative architecture to traditional craftsmanship. It also suggests many sites and places of interest, such as Artipelag in Stockholm. – AFP Relaxnews

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