Work / Animation

Ikea and its products are reimagined as a Greek tragedy by Edern van Hille

When the Paris-born Edern van Hille first moved to Angoulême to study animation, he did what a lot of new students do: go to Ikea and buy some flat pack furniture to bring a touch of personalisation to student accommodation. Edern laid out the furniture components before him, and started fiddling with a little Allen key. In that moment, his imagination spun off in all kinds of directions. “I imagined a story about Adam and Eve, where the protagonists are furniture and the snake is the Allen key who makes a bit of a mess between them,” explains the animator.

Despite the brilliance of this idea, the animation remained at the sketch stage, but provided the foundations for a new film Le Fils D’Ekia or The Son of Ekia. Where, for the animation student’s end of year film, Edern reimagines the Swedish superstore as a Greek tragedy.

The plot follows the story of a son, Morda, who was taken away at birth from his biological mother (the mother also happens to be an Ikea store). When the son is told about his true heritage from his adopted human parents, the son goes looking for his biological mother in the hopes of receiving some recognition. Tragically, she ignores him and commits a matricide and as a result, in this dark humoured saga, the son sets fire to her.

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Edern van Hille: Le Fils D’Ekia

From Oedipus to Agamemnon, most Greek tragedies possess a fundamental element of destiny which foreshadow its catastrophic endings. In keeping with this, Edern also adds in his own hint to destiny as, on the son’s packaging at the beginning of the short, the child’s name is revealed as Mordare, meaning “murderer” in Swedish.

Utilising Ikea’s signature colours of blue and yellow, the film’s stark alternating colour scheme only adds to its drama. “I wanted the tone to be both tragic (as he still kills his mother) and ironic and funny,” says Edern. “I wanted to balance these two aspects together and I hope I achieved it.” He spent a lot of time developing the contrasting aesthetic, and nearly incorporated the texture of Ikea’s blue bags into the film, before deciding that the blockiness of the blue and yellow proved most effective in communicating the story."

Produced in collaboration with Edern’s “very talented friend" Ouri Levin who worked on the sound, the absurd and rather bonkers film is an impressive first film for the young animator. Above all, “I just wanted to make a film that entertained me and allowed me to animate an idea that I liked,” he says. “I can see a lot of flaws and I still have a lot to learn, but this experience has got me started and I am satisfied with the result.”

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Edern van Hille: Le Fils D’Ekia

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Edern van Hille: Le Fils D’Ekia

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Edern van Hille: Le Fils D’Ekia

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Edern van Hille: Le Fils D’Ekia

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Edern van Hille: Le Fils D’Ekia

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Edern van Hille: Le Fils D’Ekia

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Edern van Hille: Le Fils D’Ekia