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Flat packs How IKEA changed Swiss living rooms

Following the death of Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of Swedish furniture retailer IKEA, a closer look at how his products influenced the way in which people live today in Switzerland. (SRF/swissinfo.chexternal link

For decades the Swedish businessman lived in Switzerland, where he benefited from lump-sum taxation. He was one of the richest people in the world, and his family remains the wealthiest in Switzerland – as reported by Swiss business magazine Bilanz in November. After Ingvar Kamprad returned to Sweden, his sons Peter, Jonas and Mathias continued to run the business from Switzerland. 

At IKEA, Kamprad remained steadfast in his goal of bringing quality products to people of limited means. "A beautiful house and lovely life. A better place for children to grow up," he wrote in an internal training brochure for IKEA workers.

This remained the core of his credo. In order to make stylish furniture affordable, customers have to pick up the goods themselves and put them together at home. IKEA helps out by packing its goods in flat, easily transportable cartons.

The first IKEA store outside Scandinavia opened in the suburbs of Zurich in 1973. It was the test run for Kamprad’s motto: “If it works in Switzerland, it’ll work anywhere.”

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