Design IKEA of Sweden
EUR 89

The KLIPPAN sofa is a real classic. Since it was first presented in the 1980 IKEA catalogue, it has continued to turn up in new guises every year. That’s because KLIPPAN is not only an unusually durable sofa in a classic design. With its removable cover, it’s also very easy to change its appearance. Over the years, IKEA has offered hundreds of different covers for KLIPPAN, from the discreet to the highly imaginative. And as if that wasn’t enough, IKEA has also sold patterns so that handy customers could make their own cover from a fabric of their choice.

The story of KLIPPAN started at the home of Lars Engman, who was product developer for IKEA sofas and armchairs at the time. He had received two, as he put it, “Italian and terribly expensive sofas” to try out. As a product developer, Lars also had to look at competitors’ products to see how they worked, all in the interests of providing good design and function at a lower price. The expensive design sofas looked good, but in just a few months Lars’s six-year-old daughter and her friends had managed to ruin them by jumping on them. This got Lars wondering whether it was possible to make a good, child-proof sofa with a low price: “Surely it would be possible to create a reasonably priced sofa, one that’s child-friendly – which basically means bounce-friendly – without hard edges? And ideally with a removable cover.”

Lars Engman started from a sofa that Japanese designer Noboru Nakamura had designed for IKEA. LAPPMON had a pine underframe, castors, and a patchwork leather cover nailed to the frame. It was quite a sophisticated design that had not sold very well. Lars had worked with Noboru many times, and simply asked him if he could use his frame. The answer was yes, and a new sofa was soon born. In the design process, everything that was unnecessary was removed, giving KLIPPAN its clean, natural look. At the same time, a big chunk of the cost was removed as well.

To make a removable cover, the size of the sofa had to be adapted to the width of fabric reels at the time, which were 150 cm. That way the cover could not only be taken off, but would also fit inside a household washing machine. IKEA had sold removable covers before, but only on larger sofas and the covers had to be dry cleaned. And that cost a lot of money. With KLIPPAN, for the first time the sofa cover could be washed or replaced often.

KLIPPAN was launched in 1980, but it took a while for customers to realise how magnificent it was. This could be because in the early days, only covers with quite advanced patterns were available. But as more and more different covers came along, its popularity rose. KLIPPAN evolved into a sofa that suited both homes and public environments. In 2021 it has classic status, and is still an important part of the IKEA range.

More about KLIPPAN

SKYAR quilt cover and pillow case 1981.


Quilt cover and pillow case
Design Sven Fristedt
EUR 13.50

A feeling of hovering among the clouds – that’s what you could experience if you climbed into bed and got under the SKYAR duvet cover. The print was a lifelike blue sky with white fluffy clouds.

The duvet cover, designed by Sven Fristedt, was originally called MOLN – one of the first ever duvet covers to be launched at IKEA, back in 1973. Since then, they have been an important part of the textiles range at IKEA.

From the beginning, duvet covers were seen by many as a luxury, inspired by hotel nights at exotic destinations. But they quickly became popular everyday products, making bed-making and laundry easier. This is how the novelty was presented in the 1973 catalogue: “Fine, colourful qualities which provide us with as much of a textile environment as the duvets! Easier to make the bed, easier to wash. Stuff the duvet into the cover, and use a bottom sheet as usual. Practical at home, and practical when you stay overnight and borrow a duvet. … duvet cover and bedspread in one! A new way of bed-making! More colour, and more convenience in the everyday!”

The MOLN duvet cover was printed with screen printing, which made it possible to produce in small numbers so as not to buy too much stock. But screen printing was also expensive. When IKEA realised that MOLN could be a best seller, designer Sven Fristedt modified the pattern so it could be printed by rotary printing, which enabled larger production at a far lower cost.

In the 1981 IKEA catalogue, SKYAR was launched as duvet cover, fabric and wallpaper. It was an immediate success.

DRAGON cutlery set 1982.


Cutlery set
Design Carl-Gustaf Jahnsson
EUR 2.50

With its classic simple shape, DRAGON has survived all the other cutlery series at IKEA. Since being launched in 1982, this everyday superhero has defended its place in the range for almost 40 years. And this was exactly what silversmith Carl-Gustaf Jahnson wanted when he created DRAGON. It should be cutlery that appealed to most people, would go with most things and had a timeless design.

The softly rounded cutlery has retained its original shape over the years, even though it has been manufactured for IKEA at many different places around the world. The faithful series still also does a great job at many of the IKEA store restaurants worldwide.

KROMVIK bed 1982.


Design Knut Hagberg
EUR 59

The chrome-plated KROMVIK bed-end was designed to enhance the function and appearance of the SULTAN sprung mattress, a historic best seller at IKEA. SULTAN needed practical, functional, good-looking bed-ends to really come into its own. This is where KROMVIK came into the picture.

The KROMVIK bed-end was produced in a high and a low version. This meant the customer could choose whether SULTAN had two high ends, two low ends, or one of each. The KROMVIK – SULTAN combination was a sales success.

IKEA has a rule that all the beds in its range should be named after Norwegian places. Thankfully, there is a Norwegian place called KROMVIK – and it’s the perfect name for a chrome bed-end. KROMVIK was launched across a whole spread in the 1982 IKEA catalogue. It stayed in the catalogue right up to the 1994 edition.

DUETT pendant lamp 1983.


Pendant lamp
Design Bent Boysen
EUR 8.90

The small DUETT window lamp is an easily recognisable classic, with its stack of colourful, funnel-shaped shades. It was designed by the Dane, Bent Gantzel-Boysen, who for example had designed several lamps for Danish company Louis Poulsen.

The lamp had six shades and was sold in various colours, including orange, green, blue and full white. The gradation of colour from light to dark in the same lamp was one of its special features.

DUETT was launched in the 1983 IKEA catalogue, and remained until the 1987 edition.

JÄRPEN easy chair 1983.


Easy chair
Design Niels Gammelgaard
EUR 16.90

The JÄRPEN easy chair was the result of many years of experimenting with materials and techniques that had never previously been used to create comfortable seating furniture. It was Ingvar Kamprad who first challenged designer Niels Gammelgaard to create a different kind of easy chair, without filling or fabric. It should be able to produce industrially, and the price naturally had to be low.

Niels’s first version of Ingvar Kamprad’s vision was the folding chair RAPPEN. On a factory visit the designer had seen how steel mesh was made, and he became curious: would it be possible to sit comfortably on wire mesh rather than wood or plastic? And he realised that yes it would, as long as the holes in the mesh were no more than 3×3 cm! RAPPEN was almost identical to the TED folding chair, another big seller at IKEA that Niels had designed. But rather than plastic in the seat and back, Niels used steel mesh. RAPPEN was launched in 1982 and remained in the range for six years. It was sold alongside TED, but at a lower price since the mesh seat cost less to manufacture than the plastic seat.

The success of RAPPEN made Niels Gammelgaard want to carry on experimenting with steel mesh. He wanted to create the filling- and fabric-free easy chair that Ingvar Kamprad had asked for. At last the JÄRPEN easy chair was introduced, made of steel mesh that had been pressed and welded together. The chair was delivered in a flat pack with three parts, which could simply be pushed together without using tools.

Niels Gammelgaard has said that shortly after the catalogue launch in 1983, the easy chair sold at a rate of 4,000 a week. And in the eight years it was in the catalogue, it was the least expensive of all the easy chairs and armchairs in the range.

ALBERT chair 1984.


Design Lars Norinder
EUR 25

When the ALBERT chair was introduced at IKEA in 1984, it was the first time a chair of frameless design had ever been in the range. So what does that mean, exactly? Most chairs have a frame around the seat. ALBERT didn’t have this frame, but was designed as a simple stool with a backrest. The protocol from the time when the chair was launched states: “Neat dimensions that are further enhanced by the frameless construction. A new, unique and very strong way to deliver a frameless chair.”

The chair was designed by Lars Norinder. During the 1980s, he often visited factories in what was then the Eastern Bloc. He got on well with the people there, and was a master at designing his furniture based on the conditions at the factories. The buyers who worked with Lars in Romania in the 1980s and ’90s nicknamed him ‘Norunder’, playing on his love of round (‘rund’) shapes.

Lars visited factories, for example, that made layer-glued and bent wood furniture for IKEA, such as the LENA and POÄNG chairs. The factories steamed round beech rods and bent them, and glued layers of veneer that were then moulded. This gave Lars Norinder the inspiration for the ALBERT chair.

During the eleven years the chair was in the IKEA catalogue, ALBERT was always one of the wooden chairs with the very lowest price.

IVAR shelving unit 1983.


Shelving unit
Design IKEA of Sweden
EUR 14

The simple, versatile IVAR storage shelf is one of the best-known products in the story of IKEA. But the famous shelf wasn’t always called IVAR and has actually had many names. But it has always kept its simple, rustic style.

When the storage shelf first joined the range in 1967, it was called BOSSE. Lasse Olsson, head of purchasing at the time, remembers: “It was really only by chance that we started to sell it at all. I had bought a lot of small products from the workshops in Sweden’s prisons. One of them was making a storage shelf for the Swedish Post Office, the police and other government organisations. On one of my visits, it emerged that they had a massive surplus, and wondered if IKEA could sell the shelves. So I took a few samples and showed them to the range team in Älmhult, and they somewhat reluctantly agreed to start selling them as storage shelves.”

The name BOSSE was the idea of a product developer, from Swedish boxer Bosse Högberg. The famous fighter led quite a wild life, and had just been given a short prison sentence. So the product developer thought BOSSE would be a good name for a shelving unit made in a prison workshop. Surprisingly enough, the name was approved by Ingvar Kamprad’s right-hand woman, the normally so prim and proper range secretary Inga Brita Bailey.

In Stockholm the shelf was discovered by Lennart Ekmark, who had worked at IKEA in Kungens Kurva since 1965, partly as head of the decoration department, and as a decorator and head of marketing. Lennart thought BOSSE was perfect for the progressive interiors of the time, along with political posters and rice lamps. He went to Moderna Museet and other cultural institutions in Stockholm and bought cheap posters, which were then used as decoration details in the room displays, catalogues and furniture fairs. BOSSE was ideal for the age of student revolution, and it quickly became a best seller.

As sales increased, more suppliers were needed, which meant that the shelf had to be adapted to production. The design was changed, so it was simplest to change the name as well. This time the shelf was named after another Swedish heavyweight boxer: Ingemar ‘Ingo’ Johansson. When the INGO shelf was launched in 1975, the IKEA catalogue read: “A robust, rustic shelf, originally intended for the garage, basement or attic. Now people stain or paint the INGO shelves and put them in their everyday living environment, in the living room and other rooms. Good function can finally compete with fine wood, status and convention.”

The shelf soon started being made in other countries as well, such as Finland, Poland and Czechoslovakia. New production methods came along, and the shelf was once again renamed, this time UFFE. In the 1979 IKEA catalogue, UFFE was presented as “the shelf that inspires unconventional ideas”. More and more people grew inspired. Steadily rising volumes made it necessary to change the design once again.

Finally, in 1984, the shelf was launched under the name IVAR. The catalogue for that year described it as “The shelf that’s so perfect, we can only change the name”. A well-loved child has many names, and in 2021 IVAR is still being sold, under the heading “a modern 50-something”.

GUIDE bookshelf 1985.


Design Niels Gammelgaard
EUR 65

The GUIDE shelving unit with its wire sides and coloured shelf edges fit nicely into the urban furnishing style of the 1980s. The shelving unit came about as a cousin to the modern MOMENT sofa, which had a steel mesh underframe inspired by shopping trolleys.

The product manager for bookcases at IKEA, Niels Mossbeck, wanted to make a bookcase or shelving unit that went with the sofa. He and designer Niels Gammelgard developed a construction that was based on the same technique and material as for the legs of the MOMENT sofa.

The shelving unit’s sides, which looked like ladders, were made 170 cm high and the shelves were 170 cm long, so it could all be packed and distributed efficiently and rationally. The sides were made at the same factory as the MOMENT sofa. The shelves were made at a factory that made laminate boards on an automated production line. Niels Gammelgaard discovered that the machines regularly needed refilling with new material for a new batch. This meant that the colour of laminate could be changed without extra costs! The shelves were white on one side and anthracite grey on the other, which meant they were reversible.

The edges were in four different colours: red, blue, yellow and green. GUIDE was presented in the 1985 IKEA catalogue alongside its stablemate, the MOMENT sofa. It ended up spending four years in the IKEA catalogue.

MOMENT sofa 1985.


Design Niels Gammelgaard
EUR 149

The MOMENT sofa was just right for the mid-1980s. With its simple, straight shape and steel mesh underframe, it fit nicely into the urban furnishing style of the time. But MOMENT originally came about because of a problem IKEA had been tackling for a while: how to include sofas in the flat-pack concept.

Designer Niels Gammelgaard and product manager for sofas at the time, Lars Engman, discussed how to solve the problem. Sofas had so far been large, awkward pieces of furniture made of polyether foam and fabrics, which were glued and nailed onto a frame of solid wood, plywood or particleboard.

Could metal be an alternative? Lars and Niels found a possible solution when they visited a factory that manufactured shopping trolleys. They saw how the trolleys were produced automatically in machines. Steel wire, bolts and flat iron bars were delivered directly to the factory on large reels, so they cost less to buy than the metal tubing made specially for furniture. Niels designed a sofa that could be made in such a factory.

He designed the actual frame in four parts. Firstly a seat and a back made of steel mesh and flat iron bars. The seat and back were joined to two underframes with legs by steel bolts, all manufactured in an automated process. The frame could then be packed in a flat pack that was easy to handle. Niels then designed nice cushions that provided comfort on the hard, metal frame. The cushions were to be sold separately: two for the seat, two for the back, and two for armrests in another flat pack that was easy to handle.

The world’s first flat-pack sofa was called MOMENT seating furniture. It adorned the front cover of the 1985 IKEA catalogue, and it was given spreads and full pages for a further four years.

Production and sales of the sofa went so well, that Niels later designed two other products made with the same production technique: the GUIDE shelving unit in 1985 and the MOMENT table in 1986.

More about MOMENT

STOCKHOLM glass-door cabinet 1985.


Glass-door cabinet
Design Tomas Jelinek
EUR 279

The elegant glass-door cabinet was one of the first products presented in the new STOCKHOLM collection, the hallmarks of which were high-class materials and timeless design. STOCKHOLM was aimed at a somewhat more mature customer group. Ingvar Kamprad originally intended to launch a top-of-the-line collection.

The chosen designers were Karin Mobring, who had studied under Carl Malmsten, and Tomas Jelinek, who had roots in what at the time was Czechoslovakia and was trained in the Central European furnishing tradition. The two were comfortable working with both tradition and modernism. This is what Tomas Jelinek himself said about the STOCKHOLM collection: “STOCKHOLM should emit a certain calm and harmony. Simplicity. Each piece of furniture in the collection should really subordinate itself to its environment. You should buy STOCKHOLM as individual pieces so that they can blend in with other interiors, fill empty spaces and form a harmony with the furniture that’s already in the room. We have devoted great care to working out the details, making them sleek and elegant, decreasing the thickness of the material and hiding all the fittings. Many people want to call STOCKHOLM timeless, but it would be vain to strive for timelessness. The only thing that one could strive for is not to commit oneself to a particular time, epoch or style. To keep it all very neutral.”

The STOCKHOLM collection 1985 also included an armchair, a floor lamp and a chair. The prices were slightly higher than usual for IKEA, but still far lower than what the competitors charged on ‘Fashion Street’. The entire collection was presented in the 1986 catalogue under the heading “Modern Classics”.

Over the years, several subsequent STOCKHOLM collections have been developed. Still today it stands for quality and timelessness, and is often described as a tribute to Scandinavian design.

More about the STOCKHOLM collections

BOGEN coffee table 1986.


Coffee table
Design Tord Björklund
EUR 14.90

The BOGEN trolley table was an ideal piece of furniture for anyone who lived in a small space. The small, round table on castors folded up and could easily be hung on the wall or put away, for example behind a door.

The table was made completely of metal. It had three legs, one of which was extended as a handle with a round knob. BOGEN was made in several colours including white, yellow, black and anthracite. It was designed by Tord Björklund, one of the most productive designers at IKEA in the 1980s and ’90s. He stressed the importance of Scandinavian design in his own creation: “Scandinavian design has a simplicity that it’s natural for me to work with. It’s as natural as adapting the design to modern materials, industrial production and functional needs.”

When BOGEN was launched in the 1986 IKEA catalogue, it quickly became very popular and remained in the catalogue for another eight years.

MOMENT dining table 1986.


Dining table
Design Niels Gammelgaard
EUR 129

The MOMENT table was created as a cousin to the popular MOMENT sofa and GUIDE shelving unit. They were all based on a brand new technique, with furniture being made from industrial steel mesh and flat iron bars.

Designer Niels Gammelgaard talked about how the table came about: “After the success with the MOMENT sofa, I needed to come up with a table in the same design. I pictured an 80×200 centimetre glass table top in tempered, frosted glass six millimetres thick, hovering 72 centimetres above the floor, on a metal frame similar to the seat or back on the sofa. It was basically that simple. Since the glass top is frosted, you can’t see what’s going on under the table. The metal frame holding the glass top also protected it during handling and transport. The glass top is tempered, and metal is a strong material, so there was no risk of transport damage.”

Later on Niels Gammelgaard won an Excellent Swedish Design award for the table. Italian opinion leaders in design were also positive. Design magazine DOMUS described it as ‘un tavolo importante’ – a table of importance.

MOMENT was sold as both a dining table and a desk. Initially found at the more trend-conscious IKEA Tomorrow departments in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö, it was launched more broadly in the 1987 IKEA catalogue.

RANDIG BANAN fabric 1986.


Design Inez Svensson
EUR 6/m

The powerful RANDIG BANAN pattern from 1986 was created by Inez Svensson, one of the designers in the designer collective known as 10-gruppen. Back in 1979 the group had made a collection for the IKEA textiles department, under the leadership of product developer Vivianne Sjölin. As suggested by Ingvar Kamprad, Vivianne once again used designers from 10-gruppen: Inez Svensson and Birgitta Hahn. Vivianne showed them around the store and explained how a product had to ‘shout out loud’ to be visible there.

“When they later sat drawing sketches, someone on the radio was talking about ‘cool bananas’, and that’s when they got the idea for the banana fabric,” Vivianne remembers.

The textiles department built up the Cool Bananas textile programme based on the patterns made by Inez and Birgitta. The collaboration was viewed as an opportunity for IKEA to “regain lost ground” and show the world that IKEA was “a step ahead in textile pattern design”. Alongside Inez Svensson, the enthusiastic co-workers in textiles made clothes and hats with the various patterns, and wore them to present the programme to the sales managers in spring 1984. It was a disaster. The sales managers wanted nothing to do with striped bananas. They rejected the programme out of hand and the textiles department was given a telling-off.

The cool bananas never sold that well either, despite a full page in the 1986 IKEA catalogue. But in 2013, RANDIG BANAN returned to the range in a temporary collection. Nowadays it’s a sought-after classic, beloved by many, not least Inez Svensson. When the textile designer and later director of the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design passed away in 2005 at the age of 73, she wanted her coffin to be draped in RANDIG BANAN fabric.

GIFTIG rug 1987.


Design Åsa Gray
EUR 119

Its name may mean ‘poisonous’ in Swedish, but the GIFTIG rug was actually made entirely of pure new wool. Åsa Gray, a multifaceted designer specialising in textiles, created the rug for the IKEA Tomorrow programme. It was a slightly different, trend-conscious collection, created for a younger, urban target group, but based on the same philosophy as the rest of the IKEA range.

About 300 products from all range categories were eventually included in IKEA Tomorrow, which were sold at IKEA for a few years. Initially, they were only sold at the IKEA stores in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö, Zürich and Paris. The programme was launched with great fanfare on the back page of the 1987 IKEA catalogue, with the words:

“The most exciting thing to happen to Swedish home furnishing since IKEA began. And a taster of tomorrow’s design. A department where imagination and renewal know no limits, just like our ambition always to offer low prices.”

GIFTIG was one of the important products in this collection. The rug was Axminster woven in modern design and was of high quality. And the price was, of course, low.

KRÄSEN candle holder 1987.


Candle holders
Design Ehlén Johansson
EUR 14.90

KRÄSEN was made of dolerite, or black granite, a beautiful rock type that’s common in southern Sweden. It was designed by Ehlén Johansson, who had started at IKEA in 1984. When Ehlén wanted to make candlesticks out of stone, she simply visited a local stonemasonry and got some surplus dolerite pieces. She developed three different candlesticks using the material and they were sold as a set.

The KRÄSEN candlesticks from 1987 united an ancient material with a modern style. Or as an internal protocol from 1987 put it: “Who said our modern style is feeble and that everything has already been done? Come on, speak up! Or look at our new KRÄSEN candlesticks! With a foot of natural stone, a post of iron wire and a candle cup of brass, our new candlesticks build bridges between material, design and function.”

KRÄSEN was originally part of the IKEA Tomorrow programme, a ‘trend department’ with different, modern design.

KRÄSEN did not appear in the catalogue until 1997. This was after a traditional chandelier by Ehlén had already appeared, which says something about how IKEA at the time prioritised traditional products above a more modern style.

STARTBOX KÖK No 1 kitchen equipment set 1987.


Kitchen equipment set
Design IKEA of Sweden
EUR 115

STARTBOX KÖK No 1 was launched in 1987 and contained 50 kitchen items, everything from ladle to frying pan, at a package price. It was a kind of start-up package that would cover all the basic needs in the kitchen when starting or restarting a home.

But already in 1980 Ingvar Kamprad’s great interest in cooking had led to kitchen-related collaborations. At a cooking event with famous Swedish chef Carl Butler in the kitchen at the IKEA Hotel in Älmhult in 1980, Ingvar announced that they would be making a cookbook together. And inspired by the wave of successful new shops in the UK and North America that sold ‘professional kitchen equipment’ for home chefs, Ingvar saw a business opportunity for IKEA. Product developer Sven-Arne Svensson and his team were given a challenge by Ingvar: Develop a cookshop! Designer Knut Hagberg at IKEA had previously been a chef, and was able to help out with product development and design. As was silversmith Carl-Gustaf Jahnsson, who had already designed the RONDO series for IKEA.

So the early years of the 1980s saw the gradual evolution of the kitchen range, and in 1984 Sven-Arne was given a new challenge by Ingvar which would lead to the STARTBOX product. All the contents in the box of basic equipment for a new kitchen had to be tested and approved in line with Swedish Consumer Agency regulations. Everything would be sold individually in the stores’ cookshop, but would also be part of a single package.

“Ingvar made it very clear that the startbox should be at least 25 to 30 per cent cheaper than buying the various items individually,” said Sven-Arne. “So the tricky bit was being able to communicate this to consumers when the product appeared in stores. That we sold the individual products if you didn’t need the whole box, but also sold the box far cheaper if you did. We then also made a similar box with glasses, crockery and cutlery, so we sold two boxes – one for the kitchen and one for the table.”

STARTBOX KÖK No 1 was launched in the 1987 IKEA catalogue at a price of 115 euro. Bought individually, the products would have cost 30 euro more. So Ingvar’s requested discount ended up being just over 20%.

IKEA had 17 different suppliers and 14 supply countries that delivered 50 items, which all had to be packed in one place.

“The startbox wasn’t finished until the final item was in place. And in the first five years we sold the box, we didn’t have a single quality-related return,” said Sven-Arne Svensson.

PUZZEL children's furniture 1987.


Children’s furniture
Design Knut Hagberg/Marianne Hagberg
EUR 39

The colourful PUZZEL children’s collection included a table, a chair, a stool and a low play-stool for the youngest. PUZZEL was designed by siblings Knut Hagberg and Marianne Hagberg, who personally voted the group as their favourite among all the furniture they had designed at IKEA over the years. They worked together at the design department at IKEA of Sweden for 41 years, so they had plenty of products to choose from.

Knut and Marianne remember working on PUZZEL: “When we designed it in 1986, our starting point was the child’s inner world. We put the emphasis on playfulness, imagination and good function. We gave the furniture strong, bright colours, which are easy for a child’s eyes to register. The products feel independent, with a soft, fun design. In a child’s imaginary world, they can depict different animals. The low stool has a seating function, while it also works for instance as a safety stool for a child to stand on at the kitchen or bathroom sink. That’s why the legs protrude so far.”

The series became a best seller and also won an Excellent Swedish Design award. It was included in a major year-long touring exhibition called Faces of Swedish Design, which was held in the USA in the late 1980s. It was also displayed in the Swedish pavilion at the Universal Exposition of Seville, Spain in 1992. PUZZEL stayed in the IKEA catalogue until the 1996 edition.

SIRLIG chandelier 1987.


Design Gunver Hansen
EUR 19.90

The predecessor to the unusual SIRLIG chandelier from 1987 was created for a party in the mid-1980s, organised by architect and designer Gunver Hansen and her designer colleagues Niels Gammelgaard and Lars Mathiesen. To spread festive light, Gunver made a huge chandelier out of galvanised fencing wire that held 20 candles. She took her inspiration from the splendid chandeliers of the Baroque period and old-fashioned Christmas tree candle holders made out of steel wire.

Gunver thought that the idea should be adaptable for regular homes, and after a bit of experimenting she produced a model with ten arms made of steel wire, which could be packed in a flat pack. The idea was perfect for IKEA, which bought the rights to the innovative chandelier and put it in the range as SIRLIG.

To begin with, SIRLIG was only sold in a range known as IKEA Tomorrow, a selection of products that were only sold at a few stores. IKEA Tomorrow was a way for IKEA to offer slightly more trendy products in limited edition at good prices. They were sold at special departments in the stores, and were advertised in interior design magazines.

SIRLIG was often seen in the interior photos in the catalogue from 1987 onward, but not until the 2001 edition would the chandelier be presented with a name and price. In the 2008 edition of the catalogue, it finally had its own full page under the heading Democratic Design.

STOJA children's lighting 1987.


Children’s lighting
Design IKEA of Sweden
EUR 12/8.90

STOJA was a series of lamps for children, developed by IKEA to make the children’s room safer. All the lamps had a fixed perspex or acrylic guard which prevented children from touching the light bulb. The lamps had no sharp edges that could harm the child. If an accident did happen, the shades were made of shatterproof white plastic.

The lamps were made of beech and particleboard and were lacquered in red, yellow and blue, and were clearly inspired by the postmodern design of the Italian Memphis Group. The series included a desk lamp, ceiling lamp, pendant lamp, and two kinds of wall lamps. They entered the range in October 1987 and were launched in the 1989 catalogue. They remained in the catalogue for nine years. In the 1998 IKEA catalogue, a brand new range was launched under the header Children’s IKEA.

DOKUMENT paper and media organisers 1988.


Paper/media organisers
Design Knut Hagberg/Marianne Hagberg
EUR 5.50/2.80/2.50/1.50/5.90/14.90

The DOKUMENT storage series, which included everything from a magazine file to a wastepaper basket, is a well-known favourite for many office workers. It was created by design siblings Marianne Hagberg and Knut Hagberg at IKEA.

In the early 1980s, Marianne and Knut often travelled around Asia to find inspiration for new products. At a factory in South Korea, they saw how speaker protectors for car stereos were made out of expanded metal. Marianne once said in an interview:

“We thought expanded metal was an amazing material. It lets light through. And it hides nothing – yet actually hides something. We also found out that if you take one square metre of sheet metal and stretch it in the machine, you can get a piece of expanded metal of twice the area, so two square metres. I immediately realised this was the best possible material for product development, as you get twice as much for your money! That’s how we started working on a series of office accessories made out of expanded metal. First we sketched a few basic samples, and then we started on the whole office series. And it was a big seller!”

The DOKUMENT series joined the range in January 1988 and was in the catalogue for more than 20 years.