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The quiet genius who made us feel at home.

By Linda S. Heard, Special to Gulf News,Thinker

Spare a quiet thought today if you will for Ingvar Kamprad, who passed away quietly in his sleep at the good old age of 91 at his home in Sweden. You may not be familiar with Kamprad but chances are you are familiar with the products sold by the company he founded and one that turned him into one of the richest people on the planet. Ikea, made up of his initials and places where he lived in Sweden, was founded by Kamprad when he was just 17, back in the late 1970s.

While Kamprad himself was renowned for his parsimonious, prudent and provident habits, driving a 30-year-old Volvo despite his personal fortune, his Ikea store grew to become the world's largest furniture chain with 412 stores across 49 countries. But Kamprad was a man whose stores revolutionised the way most of us live.

For students beginning college in a new city, personal spaces were furnished with the flat-pack furniture that became ubiquitous in dorms and common places. How many meals have been prepared in Ikea pots and frying pans, sauces stirred with Ikea utensils, drinks poured in Ikea glasses, and food served on Ikea plates?

For those of us who started new careers and lives in the UAE, Ikea is a first port of call, a place where the furnishings and furniture make us begin to feel at home, familiar, and starting to settle? Kamprad was a salesman first and foremost, but he had the wisdom to grow a store that made us all feel at home, wherever we live.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Jan 29, 2018
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