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Best of Canberra callout – non-IKEA furniture outlets

By Charlotte Harper 19 November 2015 38

Fakea. Photo: Francis Keany

Many, many, many of Canberrans love IKEA and were holding out for their arrival to buy new kitchens, sofas, dining tables and rugs. But others refuse to shop there or have actively campaigned to discourage others from doing do because the Swedish giant pays so little tax on its Australian profits.

Lobby group Fair Go for Canberra ran a very clever campaign to draw attention to IKEA’s legal tax minimization on the day the store opened this week.

They hijacked IKEA’s own in-store price-tags by sticking dozens of parody versions in their place around the Majura Park site. The “FAKEA” tags were designed to look like the real thing but included the words, “Design, quality and aggressive tax minimization”.

ABC journalist Frank Keany tweeted the pictured FAKEA tag saying “meanwhile, someone is leaving these around Ikea”, and looked on in surprise as it was retweeted 685 times and scored 468 likes.

According to the Fair Go for Canberra website, IKEA has made over $1 billion in profit and paid less than 3% in tax since starting operations here in 2003.

So, given all the attention IKEA’s tax minimization has received, and because we want to help the local operators stay in business, we’re thinking now would be the perfect time to publish a callout for Best of Canberra – non-Ikea furniture stores recommendations. What are the alternatives to the Swedish giant? Where did we buy our furniture BI (Before IKEA)? Of those options, which do you think RiotACT readers should visit when they’re next in the market for affordable furniture?

Let us know in the comments and we’ll visit the two most popular over the weekend and announce a winner next week.


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38 Responses to
Best of Canberra callout – non-IKEA furniture outlets
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dungfungus 5:30 pm 08 Dec 15

rubaiyat said :

dungfungus said :

I hope you don’t live downwind from the Mugga Lane landfill though because that’s where all this MDF junk ends up and it keeps emitting odourless toxic fumes for many years.

Odourless is good! If you can’t see it you just pretend it doesn’t exist.

That is exactly what the EPA says.

rubaiyat 12:15 pm 08 Dec 15

dungfungus said :

I hope you don’t live downwind from the Mugga Lane landfill though because that’s where all this MDF junk ends up and it keeps emitting odourless toxic fumes for many years.

Odourless is good! If you can’t see it you just pretend it doesn’t exist.

Nilrem 9:18 am 08 Dec 15

rubaiyat said :

MDF is basically extra thick formaldehyde impregnated cardboard.

Unlike cardboard and wood, MDF is not recyclable and quickly ends up in a tip somewhere.

Out of sight out of mind.

That sounds really bad. Bad enough to stop me from buying flat pack furniture.

dungfungus 4:29 pm 07 Dec 15

watto23 said :

dungfungus said :

Another thing the ACT Government ignored in getting IKEA established here:
From The Conservation Council of ACT Lauren de Waal Research Report
3.4 Business Regulation and Audits
“Alongside product regulation is the need to regulate daily processes of businesses operating
in the ACT. Businesses are currently regulated by the ACT Government using licences,
permits, approvals and codes of practices (ABLIS, 2015), with set standards and guidelines
for all (ABLIS, 2015).
Businesses are required to complete paperwork relating to foreseen issues when dealing with
hazardous or clinical waste, however there are no checks requiring thought about any
‘normal’ waste generation (Anonymous, c. 2015). Suggested is an audit, requiring businesses
to consider their potential waste generation across their lifecycle and all processes. This
would be completed prior to being granted establishment permission or development
approval, allowing for an overhaul of reported waste processes if government foresee an
issue.
Such an audit may have been useful in the case of the long-awaited launch of IKEA at
Majura Park, which will be saving locals from undertaking the ritualistic weekend trek to
Sydney stores. The Swedish-born furniture giant boasts the Canberra store will open ‘with the
full range of 8500 products’ (Gorrey, M. 2015), peaking community excitement with a
completed catalogue drop of 194,000 households (Gorrey, M. 2015).
While the public eagerly await this opening, it is important to assess the introduction of
easily-accessible flat-pack furniture to the ACT waste system. Flat-pack furniture is not as
durable or long-lasting as traditional wooden household furniture (Flat Pack Mates, 2013).
Joints are held simply with screws tightened by Allen keys and timber has been replaced with
weaker medium-density fibreboard (MDF), meaning replacement of furniture will happen
more often with broken items sent to landfill. The other issue is flat-pack furniture is
inexpensive and follows trends. As the latest styles and shapes are released seasonally, the
public feel less guilt when disposing of the last cheap purchases and replacing them with new
fashions. This cyclic flow of furniture will dramatically increase waste levels in the ACT”.

There is plenty of MDF flat pack furniture sold already andits also been disposed of already. Go check out, K-mart, big-w, Office works, fantastic furniture. If they can sell it what difference does Ikea make. You refuse to acknowledge Ikea could be good for the ACT economy for any reason. It may be political, or may be some other issue you have. sure they practise tax minimisation like every other company does in this country.
Ikea are developing flatpack refugee shelters that cost around $1000 to make. I want to support companies that have a can do attitude to the world with intentions of helping it. Ideas like that might help stem the flow of refugees, rather than the typical stonewall and stop it approach.

I’ve still got Ikea bookshelves that are 13 years old, look new and have no intentions of throwing them out any more. But i guess your anecdotes are more believable than someone with an opposing anecdote. I don’t own much Ikea stuff, but the stuff i’ve bought was cheap and pretty durable.

so is there anything you like about living in Canberra? it seems you don’t want the city to be a better place at times.

If you are comfortable with the warning that the Conservation Council and interpret it as making Canberra a better place I feel sorry for you.
The stuff you already have from IKEA is from another era – they don’t sell furniture anymore, they sell fashion.
I hope you don’t live downwind from the Mugga Lane landfill though because that’s where all this MDF junk ends up and it keeps emitting odourless toxic fumes for many years.

rubaiyat 3:43 pm 07 Dec 15

MDF is basically extra thick formaldehyde impregnated cardboard.

Unlike cardboard and wood, MDF is not recyclable and quickly ends up in a tip somewhere.

Out of sight out of mind.

watto23 1:21 pm 07 Dec 15

dungfungus said :

Another thing the ACT Government ignored in getting IKEA established here:
From The Conservation Council of ACT Lauren de Waal Research Report
3.4 Business Regulation and Audits
“Alongside product regulation is the need to regulate daily processes of businesses operating
in the ACT. Businesses are currently regulated by the ACT Government using licences,
permits, approvals and codes of practices (ABLIS, 2015), with set standards and guidelines
for all (ABLIS, 2015).
Businesses are required to complete paperwork relating to foreseen issues when dealing with
hazardous or clinical waste, however there are no checks requiring thought about any
‘normal’ waste generation (Anonymous, c. 2015). Suggested is an audit, requiring businesses
to consider their potential waste generation across their lifecycle and all processes. This
would be completed prior to being granted establishment permission or development
approval, allowing for an overhaul of reported waste processes if government foresee an
issue.
Such an audit may have been useful in the case of the long-awaited launch of IKEA at
Majura Park, which will be saving locals from undertaking the ritualistic weekend trek to
Sydney stores. The Swedish-born furniture giant boasts the Canberra store will open ‘with the
full range of 8500 products’ (Gorrey, M. 2015), peaking community excitement with a
completed catalogue drop of 194,000 households (Gorrey, M. 2015).
While the public eagerly await this opening, it is important to assess the introduction of
easily-accessible flat-pack furniture to the ACT waste system. Flat-pack furniture is not as
durable or long-lasting as traditional wooden household furniture (Flat Pack Mates, 2013).
Joints are held simply with screws tightened by Allen keys and timber has been replaced with
weaker medium-density fibreboard (MDF), meaning replacement of furniture will happen
more often with broken items sent to landfill. The other issue is flat-pack furniture is
inexpensive and follows trends. As the latest styles and shapes are released seasonally, the
public feel less guilt when disposing of the last cheap purchases and replacing them with new
fashions. This cyclic flow of furniture will dramatically increase waste levels in the ACT”.

There is plenty of MDF flat pack furniture sold already andits also been disposed of already. Go check out, K-mart, big-w, Office works, fantastic furniture. If they can sell it what difference does Ikea make. You refuse to acknowledge Ikea could be good for the ACT economy for any reason. It may be political, or may be some other issue you have. sure they practise tax minimisation like every other company does in this country.
Ikea are developing flatpack refugee shelters that cost around $1000 to make. I want to support companies that have a can do attitude to the world with intentions of helping it. Ideas like that might help stem the flow of refugees, rather than the typical stonewall and stop it approach.

I’ve still got Ikea bookshelves that are 13 years old, look new and have no intentions of throwing them out any more. But i guess your anecdotes are more believable than someone with an opposing anecdote. I don’t own much Ikea stuff, but the stuff i’ve bought was cheap and pretty durable.

so is there anything you like about living in Canberra? it seems you don’t want the city to be a better place at times.

Tenpoints 10:12 am 07 Dec 15

Furniture Wise is a good middle ground $ between cheap and disposable vs ultra expensive and durable. They do custom stained pine pieces which you can pseudo-design yourself (as in style, colour, dimensions). All made locally (Sydney IIRC).

I’ve got some furniture pieces from them in my house. Two end tables, a coffee table and a TV unit, custom dimensions to fit my living room. Functionally I expect the furniture to last 20 years, after which it could probably be re-stained/painted. Flat Pack MDF would be lucky to go 5 years before the veneer starts peeling away.

dungfungus 7:52 am 06 Dec 15

Another thing the ACT Government ignored in getting IKEA established here:
From The Conservation Council of ACT Lauren de Waal Research Report
3.4 Business Regulation and Audits
“Alongside product regulation is the need to regulate daily processes of businesses operating
in the ACT. Businesses are currently regulated by the ACT Government using licences,
permits, approvals and codes of practices (ABLIS, 2015), with set standards and guidelines
for all (ABLIS, 2015).
Businesses are required to complete paperwork relating to foreseen issues when dealing with
hazardous or clinical waste, however there are no checks requiring thought about any
‘normal’ waste generation (Anonymous, c. 2015). Suggested is an audit, requiring businesses
to consider their potential waste generation across their lifecycle and all processes. This
would be completed prior to being granted establishment permission or development
approval, allowing for an overhaul of reported waste processes if government foresee an
issue.
Such an audit may have been useful in the case of the long-awaited launch of IKEA at
Majura Park, which will be saving locals from undertaking the ritualistic weekend trek to
Sydney stores. The Swedish-born furniture giant boasts the Canberra store will open ‘with the
full range of 8500 products’ (Gorrey, M. 2015), peaking community excitement with a
completed catalogue drop of 194,000 households (Gorrey, M. 2015).
While the public eagerly await this opening, it is important to assess the introduction of
easily-accessible flat-pack furniture to the ACT waste system. Flat-pack furniture is not as
durable or long-lasting as traditional wooden household furniture (Flat Pack Mates, 2013).
Joints are held simply with screws tightened by Allen keys and timber has been replaced with
weaker medium-density fibreboard (MDF), meaning replacement of furniture will happen
more often with broken items sent to landfill. The other issue is flat-pack furniture is
inexpensive and follows trends. As the latest styles and shapes are released seasonally, the
public feel less guilt when disposing of the last cheap purchases and replacing them with new
fashions. This cyclic flow of furniture will dramatically increase waste levels in the ACT”.

Ryoma 1:27 am 30 Nov 15

HenryBG said :

Ikea furniture is hit and miss. They don’t make tables that are big enough for a normal house – most of their stuff is aimed at pokey little apartments.

That’s interesting. I live in a poky little apartment, and was looking forward to seeing what IKEA would bring. There were a few folding or nesting tables, and they were OK, but overall I felt “meh”.

For a start, I remember reading (not that I can find it now…D’oH!) that while IKEA did research about what Canberran households wanted that was largely conducted in freestanding houses. Which is a shame, because apart from my own situation, I thought they would have realised that the number of people living in apartments is growing in our fair city.

As such, I hoped to find a lot of space-saving furniture for people who are renting like me, and who don’t wish to put holes in walls, etc. And given that many of those who are renting tend to earn less than those in houses they are paying off, I’d have thought apartment dwellers would be one of IKEA’s key markets.

By the same token, I went to IKEA because I find that our local furniture stores just don’t meet my needs. They either sell cheap chipboard garbage, or they make beautiful, expensive furniture that is orders of magnitude too large. Why do our local furniture manufacturers not have anything like this stuff on offer? https://sourceable.net/transformer-furniture-eight-clever-designs/#

I am sorry, but for me our local furniture builders are nowhere near innovative enough. They have had decades to prepare for the arrival of IKEA, and no doubt back in the day there were similar outcries when either department stores or the likes of Harvey Norman arrived in town. Similarly, there have been apartments going up now for over a decade, and none of them have bothered to think about how they could have cornered the small-spaces market.

So, when I next buy furniture, I’ll do so here: https://www.brosa.com.au/pages/search-results?q=space%20saving&p=1 or directly from other websites. I am happy to buy local, but not if they can’t meet my needs.

switch 11:13 am 26 Nov 15

2604 said :

A bit of trivia for all you IKEA buffs: Ingvar Kamprad designed IKEA stores to require as few staff as possible (few floor staff, self-service collection of items from the warehouse, DIY assembly) partly in response to the huge costs of employing staff in Sweden.

Sounds like the perfect fit for Australia. Pity the ability to actually do anything with our hands is being bred out of us.

2604 11:01 pm 25 Nov 15

IKEA’s 3% tax rate is positively generous compared to the 0% tax rate paid by trade unions – which are multi million-dollar enterprises, many with their own property portfolios and other substantial business interests.

Also, given that union member fees are tax-deductible, unions are effectively double-dipping in the tax avoidance stakes.

A bit of trivia for all you IKEA buffs: Ingvar Kamprad designed IKEA stores to require as few staff as possible (few floor staff, self-service collection of items from the warehouse, DIY assembly) partly in response to the huge costs of employing staff in Sweden.

Maya123 5:12 pm 24 Nov 15

HenryBG said :

http://www.1825interiors.com.au/ The prices are very good.

I have a bedroom lounge chair and a few cushions from there, and they were good prices. I enjoy looking at their furniture and there are some very nice things to buy; however, I feel some of their furniture, especially the lounges with their cloth fringes (not to my taste), look like they would better fit in an American house, rather than an Australian house.

HenryBG 2:56 pm 24 Nov 15

Raging Tempest said :

HenryBG said :

Ikea furniture is hit and miss. They don’t make tables that are big enough for a normal house – most of their stuff is aimed at pokey little apartments. Plenty of their stuff is chipboard. .

I have an ikea table that seats 6-10 and its solid and heavy (but I’m sure its layered laminate or something). There are quite a few big table options including extendables. I’ve found it pretty sturdy, but it may well come down to how you treat your furniture. They only things we’ve killed in 10-odd years are a coffee table and a poang chair.

I have had a serious look at Ikea tables and nothing I saw was large or solid.
Not saying it’s bad furniture, but when you live in a large house and you want a large table, Ikea just doesn’t have it.

Raging Tempest 12:07 pm 24 Nov 15

HenryBG said :

Ikea furniture is hit and miss. They don’t make tables that are big enough for a normal house – most of their stuff is aimed at pokey little apartments. Plenty of their stuff is chipboard. .

I have an ikea table that seats 6-10 and its solid and heavy (but I’m sure its layered laminate or something). There are quite a few big table options including extendables. I’ve found it pretty sturdy, but it may well come down to how you treat your furniture. They only things we’ve killed in 10-odd years are a coffee table and a poang chair.

Lazy I 7:18 am 24 Nov 15

If you want real Scandinavian furniture, there’s always Grandfather’s Axe.
http://www.grandfathersaxe.com.au/

watto23 12:07 pm 23 Nov 15

rubaiyat said :

Lazy I said :

watto23 said :

Wash the double standards of Australia. Every Australian company practices tax avoidance to some degree.

This.

Kerry Packer said it best.

I am not evading tax in any way, shape or form. Now of course I am minimizing my tax and if anybody in this country doesn’t minimize their tax they want their heads read because as a government I can tell you you’re not spending it that well that we should be donating extra.

IKEA had a hell of a lot of people working there when I checked it out, I am almost certain they weren’t commuting from Sweden.

Can you distinguish between paying the tax that you owe on profits earnt in this country \ and wages?

They are not the same thing.

It seems you are encouraging every employer to say “Why should I pay tax? My employees do it for me because they can’t afford my devious tax accountants and bank accounts in the Cayman Islands?

I’m not condoning it, but until the government cracks down on tax minimization across the board, I see no reasons why any particular company can or should be targeted. Their staff pay taxes and people buying there pays GST. I want the laws changed, we’d have a lower company tax rate and a lower income tax rate if all the “tax minimisation” was reduced. The problem is the people and companies who take advantage of it are the ones who also wield the power and would end up paying more tax so the whole of society overall pay less.

Then there is the fear mongering about loss of jobs in Canberra by other furniture places. I highly doubt the person who shops at Ikea are the same type of person who will pay thousands for a well made piece of furniture. Fantastic furniture are the ones most likely to suffer and their furniture has been rubbish for years. Officeworks also sells a bit of flatpack furniture also. The fact that 10% of sales in the Sydney Ikea stores were from Canberra and region residents, says something about the quality of the cheaper flatpack furniture available here.

HenryBG 12:52 pm 22 Nov 15

Designcraft is the place you go to once, think, “that’s very nice”, and then never go again. Srsly, people *buy* stuff at this place? Surely you’d feel like the biggest sucker…

Ikea furniture is hit and miss. They don’t make tables that are big enough for a normal house – most of their stuff is aimed at pokey little apartments. Plenty of their stuff is chipboard. On the other hand, there is some good stuff there. Also the glassware and kitchenware is cheap and some of it is very good. (Next time somebody drops one of your champagne glasses you can ease their mind by saying, “Don’t worry, those glasses cost about $1 each at Ikea, here – break another one…”.).

And then there are the alternatives: horrible, cheap, useless furniture from the usual suspects.

Personally, I like stuff that’s made out of real wood. It’s always worth checking these guys out: http://www.1825interiors.com.au/
Alternatively, a bit more expensive but still waaay better value than either the chip-board sellers or the design-tossers:
http://designedfurniture.com.au/

The prices are very good.

Nightshade 1:39 pm 21 Nov 15

Maya123 said :

I can’t see myself being a frequent visitor there though, as much of the furniture was not to my taste and I can find more interesting and better elsewhere; that is, if I ever need more furniture. What I have now will likely last the rest of my life. Some of it, has already had several owners and still going strong. I can’t see much of IKEA furniture managing this. It’s built for a disposable society. Buy, use it for a few years and chuck. Very wasteful!

I have three IKEA bookcases and a sideboard. I had a particular look in mind and IKEA was where I found it. I’ve had them 10-12 years and they appear exactly the same now as when I first assembled them. They’ve just been sitting there with books on the shelves. I can’t see any reason for that to change – It’s not like I jump on them or use them as ladders! I don’t get why people claim that IKEA furniture won’t last – and I say this having a mix of furniture quality in my house – including pieces from my great-grandparents’ home that are still going strong after more than 100 years, cheap starter furniture, second-hand items, and some more expensive pieces I’ve gradually upgraded to. The IKEA pieces are what I wanted and I doubt there’ll be a need to upgrade them.

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