Ikea’s Big Catalog Secret? A Talented Furniture Impersonator – Creativity

Last year, Swiss agency Wirz Werbung Zurich gave us a new point of view on Ikea’s catalog by getting famous German literary critic Hellmuth Karasek to review it. This year, to promote the 2016 edition, the agency lets us in on why the famous tome always manages to look so good — and so “human” — by revealing Ikea’s big secret: a furniture impersonator.

The three-and-a-half minute film, directed by Bjorn Ruhmann, explores the life and processes of Torbjorn Lundberg, a 34-year-old method actor from Malmo, Sweden. Lundberg throws his heart and soul into literally becoming Ikea’s various pieces so that the catalog’s photographer can pre-plan the best looking pages.

He stands stiffly posing as a Billy bookcase, hangs from the rafters like Hektar pendant lighting and puckers his lips around a lightbulb as an Arstid table lamp. Throughout, he explains how intense the work is — he even has to shrink himself down– not just physically, but emotionally, when posing as smaller pieces.

It’s a thankless job, as we see Lundberg sitting off meekly on the sidelines while the photographer takes official shots with the real Ikea pieces, giving the furniture, not the actor, all the love.

“We wanted to show the dedication and the passion that is the basis of the catalog, but we wanted to be a bit humorous and self-ironic,” explained Wirz CCO Livio Dianese.

As for the casting, “We had this actor, Anders Back, who just was Torbjorn,” he said. “When we found him, we changed the script, which before was more about a big-headed dude, to a script that showed a vulnerable guy doing his job with a lot of dedication.”

We can’t wait to see what’s next for Torbjorn and Ikea. It seems like his moves would make for a quite innovative furniture-inspired yoga workout.


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