An IKEA for ancient Roman housewares

Is your domus lacking style? Do you need to redecorate your cubiculum or latrina? A museum exhibit in the Netherlands can help.

Through January 6, 2012, the Limburgs Museum Venlo presents IXEA: The Roman Store (“IXEA: je Romeinse woonwarenhuis” – site in Dutch and German), an installation that combines displays of re-imagined Roman housewares with the familiar layout of an IKEA store. IXEA, presumably Latin for IKEA, follows the Swedish store’s formula with almost copyright-infringing accuracy: there’s the blue and yellow logo, the shop-by-room concept, and a cheap Roman meatball lunch in the café. Best of all are the exhibit’s housewares, all of them labeled with Latin names and all available for purchase. You can pick up a “Romulus” toy wooden sword, a “Secundus” wine goblet, or a bust of Emperor Hadrian. Furniture available for online ordering include lounges, tables, and storage cabinets modeled after items found in the ancient Roman city of Herculaneum.

While it may seem strange for a small museum in the Netherlands to put on a show about ancient Rome, consider the history of the province of Limburg. Its location on the Meuse River has made it a strategic trading post for centuries and evidence of a Roman settlement here include coins, a stone bridge, a Roman sarcophagus, and, in the town of Vlengendaal, a 1st century villa containing frescoes. One bedroom in the IXEA exhibit displays wallpaper modeled after the Vlengendaal frescoes.

[Photo credits: Museum Limburgs Venlo]

[Via Ben Lamb on Twitter]