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Browsing by Subject "puumateriaali"

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  • Hakala, Inkeri (2014)
    The purpose of this study is to examine young consumers’ experiences of wooden furniture and home decoration in Germany and Finland. This topic is approached from the point of view of taste, lifestyle and consumers’ goods relation. Qualitative data was gathered with ethnographic fieldwork in furniture stores and fairs and with 22 guided interviews conducted among consumers between 23-34 years of age. The observation material was used as background information to draw the cultural context of the study, while the interview data was content analysed using thematisation and characterisation. Based on the results, when new pieces of furniture are acquired appearance, price and quality are found to be three main attributes in both countries, followed by functionality and ecological aspects. While the use of rainforest wood species was heavily criticized in both countries, especially in Germany, the domestic country of origin was emphasized as an essential attribute only among Finnish consumers. In addition, interviewees expressed a degree of cynicism towards current eco-labels in use. The study has shown furniture retail chain Ikea to have a special role in consumers’ furniture discourse in both Finland and Germany. The talk about Ikea’s furniture offers a useful tool to decode the meanings and expectations consumers have concerning furniture also on more general level. Concerns regarding Ikea furniture are origin and eco-issues and the lack of individuality. In addition the low quality and durability of the Ikea furniture were compared to the stamina of the inherited or second-hand furniture made from solid-wood material. To express their stance towards environmental and ethical values, due to budgetary reasons, the consumers were found to favour second hand, inherited, and recycled furniture instead of eco-labelled, often high-end market, furniture. The furnishing tastes and skills evolve in phases. The individual taste is not perceived before receiving own experiences on the matter. According to this study the life phase of the consumers seems to have more influence than their nationality on the acquiring of furniture. The life phases detected are: (1) moving to first own home and starting the student life; (2) middle phase, where student life represents a conscious, style wise experimenting, but economically limited period; (3) adulthood and working life, in which the incomes are expected to rise and the furniture consumption to reflect more ecological and socially aware values.