Ikea says it’s investigating a claim that its Blanda Blank — a rather innocuous-looking $4 serving bowl — has the ability to set things on fire. A Swedish man claims he was in the yard eating grapes out of his bowl this weekend when he smelled smoke and thought it was the neighbors’ barbecue. Then he looked down at his Blanda bowl: “I saw it was burning,” Richard Walter told the tabloid Aftonbladet, according to the Local. “How is that possible, I thought. Then I saw there was one intense point where [the sun] hit the twigs, and that’s where it started.”
Probably concerned that people would think he’d confused grapes with hallucinogens, he decided to film the bowl in action and post the resulting footage to Facebook, where it’s gotten more than 16,000 views so far:
The bowl’s concave shape and shiny stainless steel, it seems, can magnify the effect of sunlight by concentrating it like a laser on one spot inside the bowl. Once the heat builds up, whatever flammable thing is in the way can ignite, whether that’s a piece of paper or a tasty afternoon snack.
Online, Ikea designer Anne Nilsson describes her Blanda series as “simple,” “practical,” and “without any unnecessary elements.” The company says it’s subjecting the bowls to new product-safety tests right now, but tells the Local that regardless, “many different parameters would have to converge” for the contents to catch on fire. While Ikea allows that fire in your Blanda would definitely qualify as an unnecessary element, it argues that the round design would also make the possibility of the flames spreading “a very low risk.”