Conversation between Constantin Brancusi and Ingvar Kamprad

Constantin Brancusi and Ingvar Kamprad were from completely different cultures, countries, years and so on. Still, it would be nice to hear a conversation between them, considering the similarities in their characters, works, even health problems.

© Image by kmicican from Pixabay.

Before reading, the next video is similar to the idea proposed by my fictional script.


INT. IKEA STORE, Rue du Petit Clamart, FRANCE - MORNING (SCENE 1: The year is 2017. Constantin Brancusi wanders confused amongst the countless pieces of furniture. Around him, dozens of people are touching, studying and discussing the objects in the immense building. Behind him comes slowly Ingvar Kamprad. In his old jeans, tinted prescription glasses and scuffed shoes, he looks just like another pensioner scraping by on a tight budget.)


How can I help you, Sir? You seem a bit lost.

Constantin draws his coat holsters better, straightening his position without any smile.

CONSTANTIN (starts speaking with long breaks) I admire the work of this artist, how... he managed to express his art through reality and simplicity... I find this model of bookcase very interesting and practical.

INGVAR (smiling) I am glad you say that. "Ikea believes we can be educated and improved. Look at the display books on its bookcases: they are not just real, they are by great literary stylists. Look, too, at the products for children. There is nothing plastic or pretend; everything is solid and real."

Constantin turns his gaze to the mentioned objects.


Are you working here or are you just passionate about this area?

INGVAR (starts laughing and is approaching the 80-year-old man)

Well, you know... I'm Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of Ikea, but sometimes I like to claim that I'm only employed here to see what visitors think and what I can improve. So far, I have found this method a good one.

Constantin is bursting into laughter.


It is a clever method... Oh, let me introduce myself. I am Constantin Brancusi... (sighs)

Ingvar enlarges his eyes and feels how his feet soften.

INGVAR Oh God! I have heard a lot of praise for your work. Also, one of my son visited your studio in Paris, he referred to it as a masterpiece...

Constantin reddens in his cheeks and turns his eyes.

(silence) Ingvar clears his throat and place his right palm on Constantin's shoulder.


How about we go to the restaurant and drink something?

Ingvar checks his phone. Brancusi remains silent looking curiously at the device.

INGVAR I have a flight in four hours, but I would enjoy changing some points of view with you.


(SCENE 2: While Ingvar is taking the drinks, the famous sculptor remains silent at the table looking around the tremendous store. A few moments later, he is placing the hat he was wearing on a usual Ikea table, crossing his fingers through the beard. Ingvar comes quickly with one black coffee and a cider.)

INGVAR I hope you fancy a strong black coffee.

CONSTANTIN (smiling full of gratitude)

To be honest... I would have preferred a good champagne. And I must ask you... what is the concept behind this simplicity?

He looks up.

INGVAR (confused) What simplicity? Are you talking about the coffee? Oh God! We are not selling champagne here... speaking between us, some alcohol to clear our mind would have been excellent.

CONSTANTIN (taking short breaks while speaking) No... I meant the concept behind Ikea... In my time, I have carved some pieces of furniture too... you should know "The Table of Silence", if you said your son visited the studio I was using when I was alive... Regarding that project and many more, I focused more on conferring life to the objects... So, even if they seem simple, if you pay attention, there are hidden meanings... Returning to "The Table of Silence", for an unfamiliar eye is just a simple stone table, but it symbolizes the tense moment the soldiers encountered before going to the enemies. If you can believe it, "there are imbeciles who say that my works are abstract; what they call abstract is the purest realism, because reality is not represented by the outer form, but by the idea behind it, the essence of things


Silence for a few seconds.

CONSTANTIN Sorry, but here? Where are the meanings? I respect your business, but the art is absent.

Brancusi keeps his posture relaxed. At the same time, Ingvar gets serious.

INGVAR Oh, Sir... I will explain you, but I have a curiosity. Is that table, that you are talking about, in Romania?

There is a trace of sadness on the sculptor's face.

CONSTANTIN Yes... My beloved Romania... I died with the regret of not going back to my country. Even if I developed most of my career here, in France, I always had in mind to combine the simplicity of the Romanian folk art with the refinement of the Parisian avant-garde... I have not forgotten my roots, even if they never appreciated me...

INGVAR Oh, my friend... We have a common regret - the estrangement for our country. I have returned to Sweden's native lands after more than forty years. I have travelled a lot, but there is no place like home.

Takes a sip melancholically from his drink, moving his weight from one leg to another. Brancusi seems lost among the thoughts. Ingvar changes the subject in a subtle manner.

INGVAR I owe you an explanation. We don't have different visions. Besides the fact that we have designers, the whole intention of Ikea is that the person who purchase one of the products must do half of the job. In th-

(is interrupted by Constantin)

CONSTANTIN Excuse me for interrupting you, but... what do you mean by doing half of the job? Where is the creativity in this? Where is the artist work? What is the history of visual from in what you did?

INGVAR Well, you see... There is art in this too. Anyone should be able to afford stylish, modernist furniture.

CONSTANTIN (shocked) Modernism?! Stylish... I cannot believe what I hear! Has the world got to the point in which these two words are related?

A moment of silence.

CONSTANTIN Since when is fashion related to artistic movements? Everything is a business now... What's in the artist mind after all?

INGVAR Well, Sir... the artist's satisfaction is about the visual gratification and accessibility of the client, knowing that his entire living room can fit into one car. You see... This aspect improves the ability of having the components of an objects, instructions and, also, the accessibility of carrying it in small amounts of space at an insignificant price. I am sure you see the advantages...

Constantin seems doubtful. Ingvar checks his phone again and is pointing it to his interlocutor. A picture with a dining room pops up on its display. Constantin becomes interested in the picture, analyzing the pieces of furniture.

INGVAR (clears his throat)

See... This is a usual dining room filled with Ikea's furniture. You cannot tell me this room has no personality, that there is no art in this... It is just impossible to claim this.

Constantin ignores Ingvar's words, studying meticulously every product. After a few seconds, he looks up to Ingvar still being a bit unconvinced.

CONSTANTIN (starts talking with a line of enthusiasm, maintaining the known breaks between sentences)

I must admit... The structure of the chairs, the way the corners of the table fit properly with the rest of theme... yes... there is personality... Also, I admire... No, I adore the simplicity of the style, but still... this is not what I call modernist furniture...

Ingvar starts to get angry but keeps his smile. Coughs a few times. He stands up and looks at the sculptor. He checks his phone again.

CONSTANTIN I don't want to be impolite, but why is that device occupying so much of your time?

The founder of Ikea laughs and starts coughing more.

INGVAR It's a phone.

CONSTANTIN I know that! I've seen phones before... Every family has one as far as I know. In my time, a phone was used just for calls - keeping in touch with relatives and services - but you haven't received any call so far... Excuse me for having many questions, but I am a very curious person...

Ingvar smiles.

INGVAR Curiosity is a virtue; I am curious too.

CONSTANTIN Oh, virtue! So important, but so rare...

Constantin breathes heavy. Ingvar coughs louder than before.


Yes... Never mind. About the phone, it is a big deal now! Leaving this aside, would you like a quick tour of the store? In this way, perhaps you will get the idea of the 2017 modernism. You will notice that it is not so distinct from how you have experienced it!

Ingvar's face express enthusiasm and admiration. Constantin looks slightly amused at his hat.


After a few seconds, Ingvar breaks the ice.

INGVAR Are you in?

Constantin remains serious.

CONSTANTIN If you still have time, it would be my pleasure. I am intrigued by these changes...

(SCENE 3: Ingvar goes ahead vigorously, being followed by a man who is still confused by the circumstances. During the time, Ingvar starts talking confidently about the meanings behind the objects they were passing, Constantin is still trying to open his coat as a sign of politeness. After succeeding in opening his coat, with the hat in the right hand, he places his left palm on Ingvar’s shoulder, stopping him from advancement.)

CONSTANTIN (with a low and calm voice) Do you have breathing problems?

INGVAR Yes. A superficial pneumonia.

CONSTANTIN (sad) I had the same problem... being worse affected by the huge amount of champagne I was consuming...

Ingvar laughs, but the laughter is interrupted by the coughing. For the first time, he is captured by a sadness that he tries to conceal.

INGVAR Oh God! Yeah... Anyway, it is fine. Let me tell you a funny story about how I started this business.

Constantin is straightening his position without any smile, but his eyes express the interest for knowing the story. Ingvar starts talking without waiting for an answer. He feels like he knows his interlocutor for years.

INGVAR I was trying to fit a table into the boot of my car and my friend suggested I should take the legs off. The rest is history.

Constantin laughs.

INGVAR In that moment, I felt inspired and I thought... why shouldn't I help the rest of the world with this concern? I needed something affordable, but also inspirational, you know... to let your eyes delight! I didn't want to be selfish keeping this idea at this point - to be just an idea. So, I fought for founding Ikea.

Constantin smiles for the first time with all his heart.

CONSTANTIN This is a motivational and impressive story!

INGVAR Thank you!


INGVAR Is the furniture modernist in your perspective now, Sir?

CONSTANTIN I admire your involvement, but I cannot change my beliefs about what my entire life meant... I appreciate that you have dignity and value a part of the meaning of modernist... the simplicity... the reality...

A tall man comes directly to them.

MAN Sir, it is time to go!

INGVAR I'll come now! Let me say goodbye to my friend.

The man leaves. Ingvar looks sad to the famous sculptor, but in an admirable manner. They shake hands.

CONSTANTIN Sir, you are an artist in your own way. I appreciate this.

INGVAR You are the same, Sir.


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Matei, L. (2015). “Viața lui Constantin Brâncuşi: de la spălător de vase la Paris, la Coloana Infinitului”. [online] Available at: [Accessed 27 Dec. 2018], (2017). “Document. Interviul lui Brâncuși în ziarul ‘Curentul’ – octombrie 1930”. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Dec. 2018].

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