Throughout all history of human civilization, man has always used materials at hand given by the Nature to satisfy his primary needs for shelter, clothes, food, etc. however, as time goes by man mastered skills of making fire, manufacturing fabrics to cover his body instead of animal skins. Later he learned how to shape clay, how to make glass. To put it in the other words, he began to look for satisfying not only his basic but also some aesthetic needs.Man wanted to enrich his environment and to bring beauty in it, no matter whether cast in stone or carved of wood, or made of glass.

And that concerned not only the appearance but such features of the tools and household goods as their smell, touch and maybe even smell (though here it means his absence in fact). Thus, this was the beginning of design science, the major tasks of which are to meet all those requirements of efficiency and appropriateness of our surroundings together with pleasant impression and being things you can rest your eyes upon.This is not an easy job as different people have different tastes. "De gustibus non es disputabunt" (as the Latin saying goes) and nothing has changed from times of the Roman Empire, unless the discrepancy increased in fact on the basis of different financial standing and modes of life.

Particularly on the turn of the nineteenth century and at the beginning of the twentieth century first Britain and then rest of Europe experienced a design reform.This period is generally associated with the name of William Morris and is believed to culminate in what is commonly known as "the Bauhaus". To start with, William Morris is the British artist who is deemed to be the founder and the head of a reform movement whose goal was "to fight the damage incurred on culture by industrialization" (1). Starting from 1861 he renewed old traditions of handcraft techniques so that to produce high-quality and even exquisite goods, for example, fabrics, carpets, furniture, whatever.From his very childhood the artist admired the romantic and courage knighthood and splendor of the medieval.

This epoch became an epitome of his ideals and he decided to realize it in the form of furniture, wall papers and fabric that combined romantic spirit of the bygone times and some natural materials. The latter was due to the boyish interest to the forest and garden that can be obviously observed in floral motifs of his wallpaper and fabric designs for which he is now most famous (1).With regard to the special emphasis placed on the medieval culture it can be explained by the fact that the society of the nineteenth century was full of ills and sins, therefore, artists like Morris went back and turned to the Middle Ages. Relating to William Morris he was double successful, as he was a member of the circle of the Pre-Raphaelite Brethren, including Dante Gabriel Rosetti who became his tutor. Though he proved to be a poor painter but one of his most powerful talents was discovered - an amazing gift for two-dimensional designing.

No matter what he took up, William Morris was always trying to reveal inner world and special fascination of the things around him. "Beauty, which is what is meant by art, using the word in its widest sense, is, I contend, no mere accident to human life, which people can take or leave as they choose, but a positive necessity of life" (2:114). For William Morris in the core of his art and philosophy was the idea of the beautiful house. He has real passion for the architecture in a whole and his own houses in particular. As an Englishman he literally followed the slogan "My house is my castle" and make it a reality.Such Morris's well-known houses, as Red House in Kent, the sixteenth-century Kelmscott Manor, and his London home, Kelmscott House bring us back to the medieval times of knights and their fairy ladies whom they served and berhymed.

Everything inside those houses is intended for turning domestic life into realm of high aesthetics. It was Morris's cherished dream and wish "to revive a sense of beauty in home life, to restore the dignity of art to the ordinary household decoration. " Even today works and breakthrough trends are easily recognizable by their organic forms and rich embellishment.His inspiration the designer sought in flora around him as well as history before him. Numerous Morris's activities were intended for reviving medieval arts and crafts, such as manuscript illumination, dyeing, and tapestry weaving (1). Remarkably, that his art patterns and philosophies introduced are still up-to-date and live long after his death.

He is rightfully considered the pioneer of the modern design and it goes without saying that he made great impact on other designers who regarded him as guru and took his style for a model and source of inspiration. Citing Nikolaus Pevsner: "Morris succeeded in what he set out to achieve.He made young painters and architects in all countries turn to craft or design; that is, he directed them towards helping people in their everyday lives" (3:141). Once Morris confessed that he was worried about his company as, to his mind, it was "going to be of no influence on the future" (4:124). For sure, his fears were vain as though the firm has been closed, in fact, but his designing has outlived the company as well as its owner and what is more, survived during transformation of interior design from mere craft into art. Rookmaaker defined the distinction between Art and craft in the following way:"Art has suffered from this.

High Art has shunned all practical demands such as decoration, entertainment or any role that might smack of involvement in real life. Yet this type of art inevitably attracts almost everybody with some talent. In the art colleges are many who study painting or sculpture as a free vocation, and they will be the 'free' artists of tomorrow, most of whom will not be able to live from their work. "But inevitably the "low" arts have suffered as well.

They became the 'popular' arts, sometimes called 'commercial. ' It is art in the service of mammon.As all genuinely talented people tend to shun this field, its quality has deteriorated, and too often what is produced lacks all imagination or quality. And because that is usually the art that is offered for consumption, it means that everybody, knowingly or not, suffers. It has its share in the ugliness of the world today" (4:224-225).

The above-mentioned Englishmen (Rookmaaker and William Morris) together with another their countryman John Ruskin were driving force of the reform movement, raised against negative effects of general industrialization and decadence of arts and crafts.The result of their mutual work and aspiration was what is the so-called ‘Neo-Victorian’ (Modernist) style which can be vividly exemplified on Morris’s Red House, as well as some Californian ‘castles’ (such as Mission Santa Barbara, dubbed as the “Queen of the California Missions”) characterized by red bricks, tiled roofs, and stucco arches, particularly above doors and main windows. The new interior was very simplified and handmade things were given the top priority. In fact, reformers were quite critical of machine-made goods, maintaining: "Today almost all wares that are made by civilized man are shabbily and pretentiously ugly" (3:91).The only drawback of such philosophy was that, though all those things that made your house the most pleasant and convenient place in the world were of highest quality, they were very expensive.

However, this was later improved by the Bauhaus group who are regarded to be Morris's successors and started the true industrial design (3:183). The Bauhaus Movement in Germany inspired by Morris made a strong impact and broke a fresh ground in architecture and design of the last (twentieth century).Perhaps, the most famous followers of this movement are such architects as Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe as well as artists such as Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky and Laszl Moholy-Nagy. Their style strikes with its simplicity and usability, thus, providing the possibility to be employed in different ways.

Among major factors that influenced design and architecture of the turn of the twentieth century was the First World War that brought in poverty and high inflation rate. The Bauhaus responded by creating new aesthetic tenet more relevant to their time and keeping pace with the technological development.Straight edges, smooth forms, sparse furnishing were essentials in the new house of the ‘man of new epoch’. The main objective was (in concurrence with Morris) "simplicity, multiplicity, economical use of space, material, time and money” which is much the same today (5).

Hence, the main purpose of the Bauhaus collective was to satisfy needs for contemporary housing, starting from the basic household items and ending up to the completely ‘stuffed’ house. Yet, contrary to their predecessor and spiritual father Morris, the Modernist made use of the technology and mastered the machine.Though, the Bauhaus furniture was also handmade at first but it was already intended for putting into mass industrial production. Notably, that Le Corbusier expressed his chief aim as “co-existence of man, machine and nature in a state of equilibrium” (5). Nevertheless, the ulterior objective was to build cheep but nice houses.

Unfortunately, the Bauhaus school was doomed to an end just after 15 years of existence, which was done at the Nazis’ arrival. However, many representatives of the school left Germany and immigrated to the US where they enjoyed wide popularity.Maybe that is one of the major reasons for IKEA-obsession as this furniture is in harmony with the Modernist principles. Furthermore, IKEA’s fame is not restricted to the United States and crossing the boundaries unites millions and millions of its fans around the world. But before we get down to examining which of Morris’s ideas and foundations of the Bauhaus school have been embodied into IKEA’ product, let us learn some facts from the history of the company. It was founded as early as 1943 in Sweden by a farmer’s son Ingvar Kamprad, and received its name from the founder's initials (I.

 K. ) plus the first letters of Elmtaryd and Agunnaryd, the farm and village where he grew up (6).At first IKEA’s main products were small items like pens, picture frames, watches, etc. and the specific feature of the company was that all goods were sold at a reduced price.

However, 1947 was marked by the fact that IKEA started to sell furniture produced by the local manufacturers. The beginning was successful; hence the line was even expanded. Later, as Ingvar understood that this was a ‘gold vein’ he focused exclusively on selling inexpensive furniture, which created for the today’s IKEA.Furthermore, in 1955 IKEA began to design furniture on its own and though the reasons were quite trivial (search for cheaper solutions at the face of fierce competition) but the owner of the company must have been born with a silver spoon in his mouth because everything what happened to his company was always for better. In 1958 the first IKEA store was inaugurated in Almhult, Sweden (6).

After that followed stores in Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, Australia, Canada, Austria, Netherlands, France, Belgium, the USA, the UK, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, United Arab Emirates, Spain, China, and the last store in Russia in 2000.The products offered in the IKEA stores have always correspondent to the company’s concept of form, function and price (of course low) (6). At the same time they are in accordance with principles put forward by Morris and the Bauhaus group relating to the design. The main materials used for the IKEA’s furnishing are birch wood, leather and cretonne, which corresponds to Morris’s philosophy of ‘organic forms’. A vivid example of Morris’s trend realized in the IKEA’s furniture is one of their first products, particularly the PRIVAT sofa, designed by architect Ake Fribryter in 1969 (6).It had straight lines, and was of white color with brown floral cretonne.

Because of its simplicity the item was at very reasonable price and consequently was a success. The sofa does not stand out from the whole range of the IKEA’s products and similar examples are quite numerous. All items are of high quality but their price will not disappoint you and will not cost half of your month salary. What is more, goods are designed not only for adults but for kids as well and since they are “the most important people in the world” the company puts them in the spotlight (6).

This is proved by the great number of goods for kids, among which are: the KLIPPAN sofa, DAGIS kids’ chair, etc. The latter obviously confirms the unity of the IKEA’s concepts and those of Morris. It is simple, has no sharp corners and is very functional. In addition to all above said, the IKEA has provided few more useful options for their customers. Among them are online planner tools that can be downloaded from the IKEA’s official site and give you the perfect opportunity to plan your kitchen and see it in 3-D view on your screen before you decide to go to the store and buy it.

This practice, in fact, dates back to the early days of the IKEA when the customers could come to the showrooms of the IKEA’s stores and examine and touch offered goods before buying them. In such a way the IKEA managed to outdo its rivals and win the market. The IKEA is constantly expanding its range but what remains is good quality at a low price. To make sure of this you have just to drop in to the company’s site and you will discover world of useful, multipurpose and very affordable goods with curious names.

No wonder, that they are so popular on an international scale and many call it IKEA addiction as crowds of bargain-hunters surge in the stores every day causing even traffic problems and congestions. To cut the long story short, the IKEA’s product is an epitome of the principles suggested by Morris and his followers - the Bauhaus school. All goods meet such requirements as simplicity and functionality. Furthermore, in response to Morris’s appeal to turn to the Nature the IKEA generally uses ‘organic’ materials such as leather, wood, textiles, etc.

and decorates the products with floral patterns.Yet, in contrary to Morris’s philosophy the IKEA is more close to life and they do not lose the opportunity to reduce their prices (which are really low) manufacturing them on the production line. Thus, though the IKEA does not offer expensive handmade goods as Morris did, but it supports the views of the later Bauhaus school, which wanted to combine nature, man and machine in a harmonious unity. Moreover, in order to reduce the cost of goods the IKEA develops the product design by its own strength, whereas goods themselves are manufactured by their partners.

And, to my mind, the IKEA succeed in it and its current popularity and constant rapid growth serve as best evidence. The IKEA’s goods serve as living examples of Modernist design and reflect innovations put forward by such famous architects and painters who belong to the beginning of the twentieth century, namely William Morris, Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky and Laszl Moholy-Nagy. The specific features of the Modernist design are simplicity, straight corners, along with minimum of the furniture.The last is achieved with the help of multipurpose products such as, for example, some of their novelties: SORLA teacup and saucer, KONCIS roasting pan with grill rack, TJUGOFYRA multipurpose lighting, etc. Moreover, the IKEA facilitates the main purpose of the Bauhaus school, i. e.

to satisfy needs of the wide public for up-to-date and convenient housing. Offered products are designed taking into consideration different tastes of the customers as well as their discrepancy on the basis of age, mode of life, etc.Furnishings can be used both for offices and for homes and are divided into goods for adults and goods for kids. The main company’s strategy is to change life of common people for better by filling their houses with practical and at the same time gratifying to the eye things, which is fulfilled by bidding low prices without detriment to the quality of the goods.

To sum up, the IKEA has incarnated all main principles suggested by design reformers and having fulfilled their ideals has achieved much success.