Tuesday, March 21, 2017

klippan is about karma, nor kronor!

My old student apartment at the 'Vildanden W' of Lund University, in Lund, Sweden.  (2009). Note the pristine IKEA Klippan couch.  This picture would later end up on the pages of the Dutch designer furniture magazine, Meubel, and on the walls of the IKEA Museum in Älmhult, Sweden. 

Editor's note: Below is the (true!) full-length story that previously appeared in IKEA Museum's Billy-Klippan (arguably, the two most renowned pieces of IKEA furniture of all-time) blog.  Although the blog was taken down when the IKEA Museum was officially opened in Älmhult, Sweden, in 2016, excerpts of the story are on display in the actual museum today. 

I get the keys on a summery afternoon in July. They tell me the place is tucked away in the far corner of Lund University’s sprawling Vildanden student “ghetto”, back in the W block, amongst the lush trees of cherry and chestnut. I open the door. As I look up, the golden late day sun filters in through the picture window at the back, spilling onto the polished birch laminate floors. Finally! After months of waiting, I have a student apartment to call my own.

Naturally, the next step is to find furniture – and help make my adopted house a home. Back in Canada, where I’m from, the first instinct of any student in need of furnishings is to beeline it to the local IKEA. So here in Sweden (and especially in Sweden!), why would things be any different? I go to the IKEA in Malmö. I come home with a truckload of flatpack boxes. Hours of Allen key-driven craftsmanship ensue. When all is said and done, one piece of furniture stands out from the rest – my iconic Klippan sofa, in a spotless natural white. Yes, I am home.

Over the next year, my living room Klippan serves as a cornerstone of my student home-life abroad. I spend hours writing my thesis, plunked down on the Klippan. I spend even more hours avoiding writing my thesis, curled up in the fetal position on the Klippan. I eat dinner on the Klippan. I watch TV on the Klippan. I talk on the phone on the Klippan. I have friends over for drinks on the Klippan. Even Peanut, my six-inch tall teddy bear, makes his home on the Klippan! Well, you get the idea. My Klippan rocks!

But sadly, next spring I finish school and give up the keys to my student apartment. I choose to give away my furniture, including the Klippan. I accept no payment for the venerable sofa. The Klippan is about karma, not kronor! That’s what I say. I leave Sweden, and fly home to Canada.

I find a grown-up job, work grown-up hours, and save up a little bit of grown-up money. After a couple of years, I put in a bid to buy my own apartment.

I get the keys on a summery afternoon in July. I open the door. As I look up, the golden late day sun filters in through the floor-to-ceiling windows, onto the Berber carpet. Finally, I own my first apartment.

Perhaps you can guess that the first piece of furniture I move in is an IKEA Klippan sofa, in that familiar spotless natural white. That was three years ago, and I still own the Klippan today. I’m happy to report that my Canadian Klippan has served with aplomb in its role as a cornerstone of my current home. I hold hands with Sarah, the beautiful girl who I will marry this summer, while we watch TV on the Klippan. I read books on the Klippan. Sometimes I still eat my dinner on the Klippan. And, of course, my teddy bear Peanut still makes his home on the Klippan!

Eight years of countless stories on two Klippans, each a half a world away. For all of life’s lovely, exciting, sad, difficult, and happy moments, it’s nice to know that some things – like a reliable Klippan sofa – don’t change. :)