Ypperlig: IKEA’s ‘Excellent’ Adventure

Quartz: “IKEA’s new collaboration with Danish product designers HAY is intended to ‘challenge people’s perception of IKEA quality and design.’ Ypperlig (Swedish for ‘excellent’ ) debuts as IKEA’s newest and most collectible furniture line … The 15-year old furniture design brand is among the leading players in the modern Scandinavian design scene—their Copenhagen showroom is a regular stop in design tours of the city.”

“Design connoisseurs swooned over the handsome Ypperlig injection moulded chairs and coveted the stylish color update to IKEA’s iconic Frakta shopping bag.”

IKEA spokesperson Johanna Martin comments: “We believe in making products that our customers want to keep and live with for a long time, regardless if it’s a product made in collaboration with someone or part of our ordinary range. But there is also an emotional connection which is important when making things sustainable. If you like the product you will keep the product longer.”


Cereal Killers: Food CEOs On The Firing Line

The Wall Street Journal: “A cereal killer is stalking the executive offices of packaged food companies, with Kellogg boss John Bryant being the latest victim. Other companies where chief executives have left since the spring of 2016 or are on their way out include General Mills, Mondelez, Hormel, Hershey, Nestlé and Coca-Cola.”

“Of the 10 largest U.S.-listed food companies by revenue, not a single one has outperformed the S&P 500 in the past 12 months … One reason is moribund food prices. Last month’s U.S. consumer-price index for food eaten at home was essentially unchanged from the spring of 2014.”

“Even as prices stagnate, consumer preferences have shifted toward fresher and healthier food. Meanwhile, supermarkets are suffering too and are responding by cutting the number of brands stocked or pushing store brands. Food companies have reshuffled or pruned brands to appeal more to consumers and done expensive acquisitions, such as General Mills’ 2014 purchase of organic food company Annie’s. To really move the needle, though, they will have to focus ruthlessly on costs.”


The da Vinci Code: Observe, Connect & Create

Walter Isaacson: “Today we live in a world that encourages specialization, whether we are students, scholars, workers or professionals. We also tend to exalt training in technology and engineering, believing that the jobs of the future will go to those who can code and build rather than those who can be creative.”

“But the true innovators tend to be those like Leonardo who make no distinction between the beauties of the arts and the beauties of the sciences. When Einstein was stymied in his pursuit of the field equations for general relativity, he would often pull out his violin and play Mozart. The music, he said, helped to connect him to the harmonies of our cosmos. At the end of many of his product presentations, Steve Jobs would display a slide that showed the intersection of streets labeled ‘Liberal Arts’ and ‘Technology.’ He knew that at such crossroads lay creativity.”

“There is a flip side for those of us who love the arts and humanities. Like Leonardo, we must be able to see and embrace the beauty of a mathematical equation or a scientific theory. Cultural critics who complain that today’s students fail to learn Shakespeare or civics or history should not be complacent about their own cluelessness when it comes to, say, what a transistor does or how a circuit processes logical sequences. All of these topics are valuable and enriching, especially when we can connect them to one another.”