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Music Furniture


Recently – through a discussion on the online forum llllllll – I found out about various appearances of modular synths in adverts for Swedish furniture company Ikea. Credit go to users xmacex and Knivtid, who provided the photos and most of the intel.

Now, this is interesting for various reasons. It’s a clear sign that modulars are part of a life-style aesthetic, they carry a shared symbolic meaning, which now reaches far beyond the “scene”. I guess this is both good and bad, but right now I mostly find it an interesting thing to observe.

Are modular synths part of a certain creative-intellectual middle-class aesthetic? Are they becoming a status symbol of some kind? To be honest I don’t know, but this definitely warrants some deeper thought, and closer analysis.

For now, I’ll leave you with a couple of photos and videos.

Ikea ad (Photo by xmacex / CC BY-SA 4.0)
Ikea ad detail (Photo by xmacex / CC BY-SA 4.0)

The artist in these photos is Andrés Beltran, one of the many artists in IKEA’s Genombrott campaign. Here’s a Videoportræt of him, where he talks about his work as a sound designer and the rabbit hole he went down during the lockdown.

Genombrott, which btw. means breakthrough in Swedish, seems to be campaign about promoting young talent in different creative fields and showcase how they dealt with the various issues that came with the lockdowns.

This one is not the only Ikea ad featuring a modular though. Here’s another one.

Ikea magazine ad

The photo seems to be taken from the video below. The modular appears at the beginning and the end. Again they are working with a musician, in this case the Swedish rapper Silvana Imam.

I should add that I’m in no way affiliated with Ikea, nor has the content been endorsed by them in any way.

This made me curious though. I think I’ll go look for more modular appearances in commercial ads now!


Graphic designer, illustrator and soundmangler. He makes music as kurodama and as part of the electronic music duo kvsu. Together with his wife Elizabeth he runs Papernoise, a small design studio located in northern Italy, specialised in graphic design for the world of music.

Comments 3
  • Anatol Locker
    Posted on

    Anatol Locker Anatol Locker

    Reply Author

    As we all know, the agencies working for big companies are always on the hunt for something that’s “hip”. Modular looks cool and somewhat mysterious… IMHO, it’s meant to be just a fashion prop for IKEA.
    I don’t think we’ll see Gucci, H&M, Sparkasse or Target go modular any time soon. 😉

    • Hannes
      Posted on

      Hannes Hannes

      Reply Author

      Yes definitely! Though I see an interesting confluence of things here. When I first watched I Dream of Wires, it kind of became conscious of the fact that modulars can be some sort of artistic/musical furniture. Big format modulars probably more than eurorack, due to the sheer size of the systems. So it’s interesting to see them pop up in ads for actual furniture.
      It would be fun if Ikea would make a shelf system with built in 3U rack frames 😀

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