Lars-Po Faydöl: The man you see in every Ikea installation guide

ikea man

Lars-Po Faydöl is a person you’ve probably seen hundreds of time, yet it’s unlikely any of you know who he is. Lars-Po works for Ikea, and the reason why you’re likely to have seen his face is that he appears in pretty much every installation guide that Ikea supplies.

You might not recognise him from his photograph, as he is represented in the guides as a two dimensional, line-drawn character, such as this:

ikea man

I bumped into him recently at a Solo Pal Friday networking event, and I asked how he ended up becoming one of the few “instruction life models” in the world. He said:

“Well, I started off in Denmark, at Lego, where I was a life model for both the minifigs (miniature figures) and the life models character in Lego’s construction guides. The techcomms teams at Ikea and Lego have close ties, and the greater variety that Ikea offered attracted me, when the possibility of working there came up.  “

I understand a typical day for Lars-Po involves posing next to the latest piece of Ikea equipment and being photographed constructing the item, step by step. Ikea has a standard set of emotions and poses (currently just three emotions: “happy”, “sad” and “puzzled”), and the project team provides Lars-Po with details of which of these they want him to use at each stage. Once the photographs have been taken, the Technical Publications team convert these into line drawings and insert them into the installation guides.

He said:

“Ikea normally releases new products in the first quarter of every year, so October and November can be very, very hectic. It can physically demanding, all that kneeling down, so I sometimes wonder how much longer I’ll be doing this.”

Franklin modelIn fact, Ikea has been slowly introducing two new models, one male and one female, to help Lars-Po with the workload. Sällipa Roof, who was very big in Scandinavian underwear in the early 2000s, was featured in the installation guide for the Franklin bar stool (see the diagram on the left).

The Technical Publications teams at Ikea and Lego are, as far as we are aware, the only companies that have full time employees dedicated to this role. If there are any others, do let us know.

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Catherine Cheetham

Completely bought it till I got to the ‘big in Scandinavian underwear’ part.

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