All you need to know about Us & Our Planet
IKEA presents an innovative meditation on the many ways to live more sustainably, based on experience
In 1976, Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA set down the tenets of his company in a piece of writing entitled The Testament of a Furniture Dealer. It was a remarkably prescient composition, and its key points still ring true today.
‘Simplicity is a virtue,’ Kamprad stated in one passage; ‘waste of resources is one of the greatest diseases of mankind,’ he argued in another. And, at the very start of this testament, he set out the simplest, but perhaps the most ambitious goal: ‘To create a better everyday life for the many people’.
Over 45 years on from Kamprad’s original testament, Us & Our Planet demonstrates how this phenomenal furniture retailer continues to keep that vision alive.
The Leven Family. Photography by Gueorgui Pinkhassov. Mark and Lena Leven and their young son Daniel live in the bustling industrial city of Khimki, near Moscow
In truth, IKEA has never been solely led by its founder’s vision. Instead, the firm, which was founded in 1943, has carried out domestic research visits for decades, travelling across the globe and visiting the homes of ordinary people, to discover how they live.
The Leven Family. Photography by Gueorgui Pinkhassov
In this spirit, IKEA and Phaidon have created Us & Our Planet, a detailed, enlivening study of how to live more sustainably, based on the experience of both ordinary and extraordinary lives.
The book takes in a wide variety of dwellings and participants, from a Japanese forester to a French radio entrepreneur; a champion US skateboarder in Brooklyn, to a creative director in Bali.
In each case, Us & Our Planet’s editor, the writer and design authority Maisie Skidmore, guides readers through each of these visits, revealing how, via personal quirks, smart hacks and minor triumphs, each home and inhabitant demonstrates how we can live well, and sustainably, today.
The Soh Family. Photography by Juliana Tan. Calvin and Arlette, their children Evan and Dylan and Ng Swee Hiah ‘Mummy Soh’, between the Katong and Siglap districts, in the suburbs of Singapore
Interspersed within these research visits are case studies featuring some of IKEA’s best known and most innovative products. There’s the knotty pine IVAR shelving; the LÖVET side table, which inspired IKEA’s entire build-it-yourself ethos, and SYMFONISK, the new lamp that doubles as a wireless speaker, created in collaboration with Sonos.
Breaking up this inspirational prose are a series of equally inspiring photo essays by such talented photographers as Brigitte Niedermair, Barbara Probst, and Matthew Donaldson.
US & Our Planet
Part domestic documentary, part guide towards a great, sustainable future, and perhaps, part the testament of a very big furniture dealer, Us & Our Planet shows us all how we can create better everyday lives. Find out more and order your copy here.