Design Mikael Warnhammar
The ATTITYD modular kitchen was a response to the kitchen island trend of the Noughties. The prevailing preference for open plan solutions, with kitchen blending seamlessly into living room, turned the kitchen into a social gathering-place where people cooked meals together. The kitchen islands were also easy to take with you when you moved home.
The ATTITYD modular kitchen was designed by Mikael Warnhammar, who had already developed the very first modular kitchen for IKEA, VÄRDE, which was launched in 1999. Mikael Warnhammar had an extensive background and professional experience as a carpenter, builder and construction engineer, and had graduated from the School of Design and Crafts (HDK), University of Gothenburg in 1988. This is how he described the idea behind ATTITYD: “Most parts of the ATTITYD series are freestanding units on legs or castors, which means they’re easy to move into place and move around. The modern design in plastic and metal also provides good function, as the pieces are durable and easy to look after. It’s quite simply a fantastic kitchen for creative, unpretentious chefs!”
The sliding plastic doors in ATTITYD were a great detail that allowed freedom of movement also in small kitchens. The series included a mini-kitchen, a unit just 120 cm wide. In it, Mikael had included all the main essentials: a ceramic hob with two heating zones, a fridge, a draining board and a sink with mixer tap. The construction was even solid enough to meet the demands of an office kitchenette.
ATTITYD was in the IKEA catalogue for six years, from the 2001 to the 2006 edition. The series won an Excellent Swedish Design award in 2000.
Design Nike Karlsson
The BEKVÄM step stool was designed by Nike Karlsson at IKEA. He was tasked with making a stepladder for small kitchens. The stepladder also worked perfectly as an extra chair for children, who could sit on the top step and rest their feet on the bottom one.
When Nike Karlsson started at the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, he was already a qualified joiner. During his first years at IKEA his focus was on kitchens, such as the FÖRHÖJA cutlery tray. The BEKVÄM step stool was a product that let children join in with the grown-ups in the kitchen, but also in other rooms.
BEKVÄM was made of solid wood that could be sanded and treated as required. It went just as well in the kitchen as in other parts of the home. It first appeared in the 2001 IKEA catalogue. It has since been in the catalogue 16 times in all, and in 2021 it is still sold at IKEA in three different variations.
IKEA a.i.r ROLIG
Design Jan Dranger
The IKEA a.i.r ROLIG inflatable armchair was one of various pieces of inflatable furniture in the IKEA a.i.r series initiative, which stood for ‘air is a resource’. The products were launched in the 2000 IKEA catalogue.
Designer Jan Dranger had made inflatable furniture back in the 1970s which was sold by KF, the Swedish Cooperative Union. But just like other inflatable pieces of furniture at the time, they leaked and fell flat and were soon discontinued.
In the mid-1990s, Jan Dranger approached Ingvar Kamprad with a revolutionary suggestion. He wanted to show how IKEA could also pack sofas and armchairs into flat packs. Simplifying transport and reducing its cost was a lifelong cause for Ingvar Kamprad, but upholstered seating furniture with heavy wooden frames was a hard nut to crack.
Ingvar Kamprad had a first, secret meeting with Jan Dranger at his summer home outside Älmhult. After thinking it over with a small group of range managers from IKEA, Ingvar invited Jan back. Jan showed prototypes of inflatable plastic sofas, easy chairs, day-beds and stools – light as air, and easy to pack into flat packs. Unlike previous inflatable furniture, these products would also be covered with fabric to keep their shape and better blend into ordinary homes. Once at home, customers had to fill the plastic elements with air from a hair-dryer, before tightening the valve to keep the air in. Then all you had to do was slip the fabric cover on, sit back and relax.
Jan and his company SoftAir didn’t want to reveal too many details about the technical solutions until they had signed a contract. When, much later, the product developers at IKEA got to know the technical details, it was clear that the ROLIG inflatable armchair and its sofa equivalent INNERLIG would cost far more than the initial calculations indicated. By the time the products went on sale in stores, they cost too much. Also, someone at IKEA voiced the opinion that they looked like “a group of swollen hippos” in the furniture displays. The static plastic attracted dust particles and had to be constantly wiped. Also, the feather-weight furniture had a tendency to bounce around.
And the problems continued at customers’ homes. They often forgot to set their hair-dryers to cold air. And because hot air takes up more space than cold air, the furniture started going down after a while as the air cooled. It turned out that the valves leaked too. A plump, cosy ROLIG on Monday was a shapeless, dusty pile of fabric by the weekend. And when you sat down, the easy chair would let out quite an unglamorous ‘pffft’ sound.
ROLIG was not a success. Prices – and the number of returns – were too high, and IKEA a.i.r eventually fell flat.
Design Tord Björklund
The KARLANDA sofa series met all the needs of a living room: it came as an armchair, a footstool that could also be used as a table, as a two or three seater sofa, a chaise longue and a bench. It was also comfortable, and came in 13 cover options and two different kinds of legs. IKEA described the possibilities of KARLANDA as being virtually infinite.
Designer Tord Björklund had thought about comfort and had fitted KARLANDA with zigzag springs, moulded polyether seat cushions and back cushions filled with land-fowl feather and polyether. Both the seat and back cushions were reversible, which meant the sofa or armchair could be kept nice and fresh for longer. Tord had previously designed for example the ÄNGBY and TOMELILLA sofas for IKEA. He trained at the Interior Design Academy in Copenhagen, and was employed at IKEA in 1980. He stayed with the company until 1995 before going freelance.
KARLANDA was a big seller and was in the catalogue for six years. After that, the construction could be improved as new techniques and materials came along. The updated model was called KARLSTAD and launched in 2008, with even more functions and combinations. It is still in the range in 2021.
Design Katarina Brieditis
The STOLLE ornament came about as a tribute to Swedish rustic culture, based on one of the most classic symbols of Sweden: the traditional Dalecarlian, or Dala, horse. Designer Katarina Brieditis’s modern take gave the Dala horse a spiky punk hairstyle, and it was adorned with contemporary motifs like the at-sign and the euro symbol.
Dala horses have been made in the Swedish province of Dalarna since the 1600s, as a by-product of the joineries in the region. They were originally intended as toys and were sold at local markets. With their bright colours they were related to traditional gourd art, known for its stylised floral motifs. The Dala horse has become one of the most common symbols of Sweden, and particularly the rural, rustic culture of Sweden.
The STOLLE Dala horse was part of a brief given to Katarina Brieditis by IKEA. She had free rein to create colourful, decorative products that contrasted with turn-of-the-century furnishings with a lot of white, and products in light birch and pine that dominated the range at the time. Katarina chose to work with expressions from folk art and rustic culture, with its wealth of colours and patterns. The Dala horse also appeared as a motif in her first textile collection, GUSTAVA. Later on she made several textile series on a similar basis, such as ALHILD and TILLY. Her patterns were also used on china in the ARV IDYLL series.
STOLLE was similar to traditional Dala horses in shape, but the decoration was Katarina Brieditis’s personal interpretation. Each horse had its own personality – for example, one had a curly pig tail. Another one was red with small white hearts, and another was dressed in sheepskin. In 2002, STOLLE featured on the cover of the IKEA catalogue.
Chest of drawers
Design Knut Hagberg/Marianne Hagberg
The HEMNES series was launched as an updated version of the rural rustic furniture, which has been sold at IKEA in various models since the 1970s. For many years it was exclusively a bedroom series, but it sold so well that furniture for others rooms started being added.
Different kinds of stain were used to add an aged look to the rustic pieces. Already in 1990, IKEA launched antique-stained furniture in a kind of continental rural style, and it was very popular. In the years to come, it sold better than any other style in the IKEA range. Over the years, HEMNES has kept up with the times and has been launched in a steady stream of new colours and designs. But as the new millennium approached, it was time for renewal. The old antique stain was thought to be a little too drab. A new, greyer, more stylish stain was developed. The surface treatment was called ‘patinated’ and replaced the antique stain. New furniture was also developed in a somewhat stricter interpretation of the rural style, without the frills or coping of the earlier pieces. One important product in the initiative was a chest of drawers in solid patinated pine, designed by Knut Hagberg and Marianne Hagberg. It was named HEMNES and launched in the 2002 IKEA catalogue. The products sold well, and in 2004 HEMNES also appeared in a white-lacquered version. Several new bedroom products were added.
By now, popular antique shows on TV had increased people’s interest in antique furniture. This meant that furniture like HEMNES felt less exciting, since it was clear that all the furniture came from the same place. To meet the higher demand for individuality, IKEA therefore produced new colours of stain such as yellow, blue, red and black, which were used on some furniture in the series. The colours were inspired by Swedish 18th century, and the most dazzling piece was a new, yellow four-poster bed. The HEMNES series once again felt more exciting and individual. The black colour also broadened the international interest. In 2008 a new, grey-brown stain was made, inspired by old, windswept, untreated timber. It was launched in the 2011 IKEA catalogue with new storage furniture, tables and desks for home and home-office use in the HEMNES series. Two years later, bathroom furniture was added.
Still today, 20 years after launch, the entire HEMNES series is sold in four different stain colours for every room in the home.
IKEA PS GULLHOLMEN
Design Maria Vinka
The IKEA PS GULLHOLMEN rocking chair was born during a trip to Asia. Designer Maria Vinka was visiting a factory when she saw a pile of banana leaves on the floor. Banana leaves had long been one of Maria’s favourite materials, and suddenly there was a pile of waste leaves on the factory floor. Maria picked up the leaves, turned and twisted them, and started weaving them as if they were fabric. Could woven banana leaves be used for a piece of furniture?
Maria was originally thinking about children’s furniture, which stimulates the senses in several ways. But the result ended up being a rocking chair. Maria designed it so that it was comfortable to sit in, and also stackable – the latter to keep distribution costs down as much as possible.
“The effect of the beautiful, braided leaves makes the chair look almost hand-knitted,” she said later.
The rocking chair joined the IKEA range in February 2002 and was named IKEA PS GULLHOLMEN. It stayed in the catalogue until the 2010 edition.
Ingvar Kamprad liked GULLHOLMEN a lot, and once wrote: “One of our best-looking products ever! And even an old man can sit perfectly comfortably in it!”
IKEA PS VÅLLÖ
Design Monika Mulder
The IKEA PS VÅLLÖ watering can was part of a collection of products that could be used both outdoors and in. Eighteen designers had created the IKEA PS collection of summer furniture and design products for something that IKEA called Inside/Outside – a space where the boundaries between indoors and outdoors have been erased. It was about space for relaxing, a space between dreams and reality, a personal oasis. The botanical forms of nature and materials like rattan, plastic and metal played a central role in the collection. The ethos was summed up as “Bring the outside in – bring the inside out”.
Dutch designer Monika Mulder made five products for the collection, including the IKEA PS VÅLLÖ watering can. She strove for fluid, organic shapes that should be in harmony with plants and running water. Tulips inspired her choice of colours. You could also, if you wanted to, use VÅLLÖ as a vase or drinks jug.
Unlike other watering cans, VÅLLÖ has a shape that allows it to be stacked. This may not sound that remarkable, but it means that more watering cans can fit into each transport vehicle. Fewer vehicles means lower emissions, which reduces impact on the environment. The unique conical shape also makes production quicker and easier. The product releases quickly and easily from the plastic tools. The overall result is that it’s possible to keep the price of the watering can really low.
IKEA PS VÅLLÖ was awarded Excellent Swedish Design in 2002, and was launched in the 2003 IKEA catalogue. In 2021 it is still sold, under the name IKEA PS 2002. Now it costs 72% less than when it was launched.
Design Magnus Elebäck/Carl Öjerstam
With LAMPAN, industrial designer Carl Öjerstam and designer Magnus Elebäck succeeded in creating a good table lamp at the best price on the market. Carl and Magnus had worked together back in the late 1990s, when they were involved in the second IKEA PS collection. They jointly came up with the idea of using the lamp shade as part of the packaging. When you turn the lamp base upside-down it fits perfectly inside the shade, which protects it during transport. This resource efficiency reduces the use of materials and also contributes to lower transport costs. Brilliant!
Carl Öjerstam, industrial designer and a graduate of the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design, has worked at IKEA both as an employee and as a freelancer. He has also taught design both in Sweden and abroad. Since 2002 he has worked in his own company, Carl Design AB, which was founded in 1995. Magnus Elebäck, a graduate of Beckmans College of Design, worked with Stockholm Design Lab before taking on jobs for IKEA. In 2004 he founded the company Massproductions AB along with Chris Martin, who was also involved in IKEA PS.
LAMPAN was launched in the 2004 IKEA catalogue, and remained until the 2016 edition. Over the years it has been sold in a range of different colours and colour combinations. In 2021 LAMPAN is still sold at IKEA, and it has become something of a classic in the lighting range.
Chest of drawers
Design IKEA of Sweden
The MALM series is a modern bedroom classic. It includes everything from beds to wardrobes and chests of drawers, and comes in a wide range of different versions – with three, four, five or six drawers, in colours and materials like beech, birch and oak.
Tomas Lundin, a former product developer for bedroom storage, remembers how MALM came about: “The team and I developed the chest of drawers with a furniture factory in Poland. The idea was originally sketched out on a napkin, which the engineer made into a simple drawing. The drawing was sent to the factory, which made a prototype, and we then went to Poland to finish it on site. It was a quick and efficient process.”
Ingvar Kamprad said of MALM in September 2002: “Bravo! Especially the version with the wooden knob!” Ingvar loved the fact that MALM came in so many different styles, as customers could choose their own combination of knobs and finish. Not adding the knobs from the start also cut costs. Due to the drawers’ design, they were easy to open and close smoothly in any case. MALM chests could also be fitted with KOMPLEMENT storage, which had been introduced at IKEA in 1995. Eventually, a set of six drawer inserts of different sizes was developed in recycled polyester, and they fit perfectly inside the MALM drawers. They were ‘assembled’ using a zip and are still sold at IKEA today, under the name SKUBB.
Design Maria Vinka
The textile pattern NEAN is an homage to diversity. Designer Maria Vinka was inspired by the world’s flags, and created a pattern where the flags had new colours and were combined with traditional Swedish gingerbread figures.
Maria has talked about the pattern coming about at the time of growing unrest in Iraq: “I felt like the whole world was reeling. I thought we should all come together and get a greater understanding of the world. So I filled the gingerbread figures with my interpretations of flags, that was my vision of what the world could be like.”
NEAN entered the IKEA range in June 2002. On its launch, the product developers at IKEA described the ideas behind the pattern: “With NEAN, Maria wants to turn the world as we know it upside-down, and get us to see that whatever borders we put up, Earth is still one big, round whole. NEAN is also a good description of our own company, which can be found around the globe with co-workers of all cultures and nationalities.”
IKEA PS LÖMSK
Design Monika Mulder
Designer Monika Mulder at IKEA took her inspiration for the LÖMSK children’s chair from her own childhood. When she was growing up, it was strictly forbidden to spin around in her dad’s leather armchair. Something she obviously found to be a real shame. But what neither she nor her dad knew was that spinning is actually a good way to train the balance. “As a child, I was always standing on my hands, and I loved swinging and spinning around. Dad’s armchair had been so tempting, that as an adult I thought there ought to be swivel chairs for children too.”
But Monika felt that spinning wasn’t enough. So LÖMSK was given a hood that the child could pull down, so they could hide or read in peace. Every time Monika visits an IKEA store, she sees evidence that the idea works: “The chairs are never empty, there’s always a child in them.”
Child psychologist Barbie Clarke, who has studied children’s development, has also seen how popular the chairs are in the stores. She believes that the hood is one of the reasons for its success: “Children love something that can be transformed into something else. It stimulates their imagination and gives them a feeling of having magical powers. With the hood down, a child can hide away and have a little time to themselves.”
Spinning around in the chair is not only fun, it also contributes to the child’s physical development, says Barbie: “When children climb, hang upside-down, run, balance and spin, it develops their motor skills – especially their balance. This is important, as it gives the child a feeling of safety and control over their movements. They improve their balance and avoid falling over and hurting themselves.”
Since she developed LÖMSK, Monika has had four children herself. They have all played with the swivel chair – but not always the way she intended. “In our home it has always been used to store toys. Sometimes, when the children’s room needs tidying, everything on the floor quickly gets put away under the hood. And often in the evenings, it looks like a glowing ball when one of the children is in there with their reading tablet.”
For Monika, the fact that her children use LÖMSK in an unexpected way is a good thing. As a designer, she wants to contribute to children’s play and imagination. “Children learn all kinds of important things through play. In their world of pretending, they’re preparing for life as an adult. Nothing is set in stone, it’s the children’s imagination that determines what LÖMSK can be.” In 2021, LÖMSK is still sold at IKEA.
Design Nike Karlsson
The OLLE chair was a modern take on the classic pin-back chair. Designer Nike Karlsson was asked to create a pin-back chair in a modern Scandinavian version. Nike, who is both a designer and a joiner, has a special sense for wood and chairs. What could he do to make OLLE contemporary, yet still keep the essence of a pin-back chair?
It was a challenge. The pin-back chair has been a classic of Swedish furniture production since the late 1800s, and most Swedish homes have one. A typical, traditional pin-back chair has between five and eight pins or ‘spindles’ in the back. Nike settled with four. The chair was also given a cupped seat for comfort. While it was sold in IKEA stores, it came in clear-lacquered birch, in white, red and black.
The chair was named OLLE and was launched in the 2004 IKEA catalogue. At the time it came in white lacquer and birch clear lacquer. The white-lacquered version didn’t sell that well, so in the 2007 catalogue it was replaced with black and the clear-lacquered birch remained. Four years later, in the 2011 catalogue, it also came in clear red lacquer. But that was the OLLE chair’s final year in the IKEA catalogue.
IKEA PS EDEN
Design Jon Karlsson
The EDEN dining table was part of the 2005 IKEA PS collection, and fit nicely with the ambition of offering innovative, exciting home furnishing ideas that made everyday life at home a little easier. The designers were urged to ask the question “What if…?”, and to have the courage to experiment and test new materials, techniques and production methods.
EDEN was designed by Jon Karlsson, an architect who had studied at Lund University, and who in 2003 started as a designer at IKEA of Sweden in Älmhult. The question “What if…?” led him to an innovative way of using birch wood. In most traditional production, only about 10–20% of the wood felled for furniture production was used. But even back in the 1970s, Ingvar Kamprad had decided that IKEA would also use the ‘knotty’ pine. Even so, it was still mainly the lightest pieces that were used, both by IKEA and other furniture makers. In the late 1990s, a few years before Jon Karlsson designed the EDEN dining table, product developer Roland Johnsson and designer Mikael Warnhammar at IKEA felt that this was a waste of resources. So they developed a way of using more of the birch, and called it ‘knotty birch’. Mikael used this for the first time in his NORDEN dining table, which was launched in 2000.
Now, Jon Karlsson wanted to take the next step. He focused on heartwood – the innermost, red-brown heart of the birch log, that was usually only used for firewood, or for pallets and sofa frames. Using a new technique, Jon made it possible to also use the heartwood to make furniture.
Jon remembers: “I started from the birch heartwood. By making the table top in two parts, there was less tension in the wood. And you could use the space between the two parts to draw cables, if you wanted to use it as a desk. In actual fact, the table started out as a sketch for a bench, which definitely affected the shape. At a narrow table, you sit closer to the person opposite you, like at a café. It ended up being a long, narrow family table with a café feel.”
Wood that had previously gone to waste had now become a table with a top in solid oiled wood and black turned legs. The table came with a tray stand and was presented in the 2007 IKEA catalogue.
IKEA PS ELLAN
Design Chris Martin
When designer Chris Martin was at school, he was always getting told off for leaning back on his chair. This inspired him to create the ELLAN rocker, which was part of the IKEA PS 2005 collection. Chris said when the chair first came out:
“Maybe it’s the rebel in me that made me design a chair you can lean back on. But actually, it makes sense to integrate a function in a chair that’s already a part of human behaviour. I hope people appreciate it, and maybe lean back after a nice meal to think about new ways of being rebellious!”
IKEA PS ELLAN is also rebellious in its production. It’s the result of many years of experimenting with a mixture of sawdust and plastic. The result is a strong composite material with a warm, woody feel, that’s also readily recyclable. Using waste sawdust also brings the product’s price down. And as if that wasn’t enough, the chair can be put together using no tools.
IKEA PS JONSBERG
Design Hella Jongerius
The IKEA PS JONSBERG vase was created by renowned Dutch designer Hella Jongerius and was part of the IKEA PS collection. The idea was to make a vase that united a handmade style with the advantages of mass production. Hella talked about the process when the vase was launched:
“It was possible because IKEA works with companies that can produce high-quality craftsmanship in large volumes. Usually my products are made in small batches and can be quite expensive. Now, I’m delighted that everyone can afford one of my pieces. I hope that people who buy my IKEA PS JONSBERG vases keep them for a long time, and that each vase has a long and happy life. I’m optimistic, since the vases are attractive, practical and made with love.”
The handmade vases came in a range of patterns and colours, including pink with gold decorations and black with white decorations. The vases were made out of several materials: porcelain, stoneware and earthenware, and the patterns were either engraved or painted.
Hella Jongerius graduated from the Academy of Industrial Design, Eindhoven in 1993 and went on to found the Jongeriuslab studio, where they work on independent projects and with various major clients. She also worked on the IKEA PS 2009 collection. Today, IKEA PS JONSBERG is a sought-after product among collectors on auction sites.
Briefcase/cabin bag on wheels
Design Knut Hagberg/Marianne Hagberg
UPPTÄCKA, the cabin bag with accompanying laptop bag, was developed by designer siblings Knut Hagberg and Marianne Hagberg. They came to IKEA in 1979 and made many trips around the world in their 41 years of working together in the design department.
Knut and Marianne always approached every function with great creativity, and for decades they were some of the most productive designers at IKEA. In 2005, they used their experience from many long trips for IKEA to develop a cabin bag on wheels, with an accompanying laptop bag. The laptop bag had a shoulder strap, and could also be slipped onto the cabin bag’s locking telescopic handle. Both bags had a host of practical features that were highly appreciated by customers.
The UPPTÄCKA cabin/laptop bag was part of a whole series of travel storage products at IKEA. UPPTÄCKA was nominated for The International Design Yearbook and appeared in the 2007 IKEA catalogue.
Design Monika Mulder
Designer Monika Mulder’s bowl in the 2006 STOCKHOLM collection was made of metal, with a translucent pattern. The botanically inspired bowl went well with the textile range in the same collection, where designer Maria Åström had created botanical patterns with leaves that were both classic and modern.
Monika Mulder was born and grew up in the Netherlands, and studied industrial design at the Eindhoven Design Academy. She started working for IKEA already while still studying. When she designed the bowl for the STOCKHOLM collection, she had already contributed products to two IKEA PS collections, among other things.
The 2006 STOCKHOLM collection was the fourth since 1985. The products had become popular, perhaps mostly among second generation IKEA customers. The 2006 collection was launched under the heading: “Super quality! Super materials! Super expensive?” and the following text, for example: “When we created the STOCKHOLM collection, we really went all out. We used flax, velvet and mohair. We really threw ourselves into the exquisite world of fine quality. So you really will find extra everything. But it also turned out frightfully expensive, by our standards. Even so, it’s still light years from what truly exclusive stuff costs elsewhere. Quite simply, it’s super great!”
In the press material for the collection, IKEA wrote about Monika Mulder that she: “… sees herself as a link between people’s dreams and the possibilities that manufacturing and technology offer. She feels it’s important to be receptive to changes, shifting conditions and different needs. To find the heart of a product, she often starts from herself as the user.”
In 2007 Monika opened her own design studio in Gothenburg, but continued to work with IKEA as a freelance designer. In 2021 the STOCKHOLM bowl is sold at IKEA, but now in a gold-coloured version.
Design Tomas Jelinek
The STOCKHOLM glass-door cabinet came along in 2006, but had originally been designed by Tomas Jelinek as a bar cabinet back in 1996, as part of the third STOCKHOLM collection. The cabinet hovered, in a way, on a sleek legged base. A round glass piece in the doors was supposed to provide a clue to the drinks stored inside. But the cabinet worked just as well as a glass-door display cabinet, and that was how it was presented in 2006, when it was part of the fourth STOCKHOLM collection.
The 2008 IKEA catalogue featured the beautiful cabinet made of golden-brown stained, clear-lacquered oak veneer and solid oak. It was of high quality, and was inspired by the style of the best of Swedish and Central European furniture tradition. Ever since it began in the mid-1980s, the aim of the STOCKHOLM collection has been to make simple, beautiful furniture that will last for decades. Solitaires previously reserved “… for a few: the rich. Ordinary folk had to make do with poor copies or nothing at all!” as IKEA put it in the very first STOCKHOLM collection brochure. The first collection was created by Tomas Jelinek and designer Karin Mobring, and in later STOCKHOLM collections they were joined by other designers.
Design Anna Sörensson
The fourth STOCKHOLM collection from 2006 included the striped wool rug that would go on to become a big seller at IKEA. Designer Anna Sörensson had qualified as an art teacher at the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, but soon after graduating she devoted herself entirely to textile creation. In her studio in Stockholm, she printed her own cotton and linen fabrics. They became so popular that she started working with Ljungbergs textile printers to produce them in greater batches, several of which became much-loved classics.
In the 2006 STOCKHOLM collection, Anna Sörensson was responsible for the textile range alongside designer Maria Åström. Anna was behind the new textile rugs in the collection, and the most popular of these was STOCKHOLM. Anna liked to work from basic shapes like circles, squares and stripes. The rugs were made in 100% wool, and their seemingly simple, black and white pattern has been described as “both ingenious and innovative, yet still classic”. The flat weave makes the rug a popular choice for dining and living rooms.
The rug with its black and white pattern with asymmetric lines can still be found at IKEA in 2021, and is hand-woven in wool by skilled craftspeople. This makes each rug unique.
STOCKHOLM first appeared in the IKEA catalogue in 2008. That same year, Anna Sörensson passed away at the tender age of 55. By then she was one of Sweden’s leading textile designers.
Design Mikael Warnhammar
The DUKTIG play kitchen was a miniature version of the VÄRDE kitchen series from back in 1998. Designer Mikael Warnhammar shrunk his own kitchen design down into a children’s version that was ideal for the DUKTIG children’s series, which had been around since the launch of Children’s IKEA in 1998. The DUKTIG series was made to provide children with props and encourage role play around life at home, and was launched with the new Children’s IKEA department. The department was presented in the 1998 IKEA catalogue as an investment in “the most important people in the world – children. … The result is the world’s biggest and perhaps cleverest playhouse, Children’s IKEA.”
In the early Noughties, almost all the home’s functions were represented in the DUKTIG series, from pots, pans, kitchen utensils and baking trays, to an ironing board, iron, cleaning equipment and a doll’s bed. The DUKTIG play kitchen joined the range in 2007 and was presented in the IKEA catalogue in 2011. The original, the VÄRDE kitchen, had won a Red Dot Award for design many years earlier, for its strong expression and execution in solid, thick, light birch. The play kitchen was made in a similar design, and was also a great success.
In 2021 the DUKTIG play kitchen is still sold, with a battery-operated hob that can be turned on and off to give a life-like glow. There’s a cupboard for all the kitchen equipment, and a sink with mixer tap. Moreover, the legs can be adjusted to three heights so the kitchen can grow with the child.
Design Mikael Warnhammar
GRUNDTAL is a series of products that make it possible to hang things up in rooms that can get hot and wet. For places like this, stainless steel is an excellent material. The series is designed by Mikael Warnhammar, who had designed several acclaimed kitchen series and products for IKEA since 1997.
After Mikael had developed his first kitchen for IKEA, the somewhat ground-breaking VÄRDE modular kitchen, he carried on working to improve functionality in the kitchen. He was inspired by restaurant kitchens, where everything has to have its own place. The products in GRUNDTAL, such as rails and hooks, were made specifically for kitchens, and were intended to keep kitchen equipment away from the worktop but always within easy reach.
GRUNDTAL first appeared in the IKEA catalogue in the 2000 edition. The first products in the series for bathrooms then appeared in the 2003 catalogue, such as towel rails and toilet paper holders. More bathroom products were added over time, and it is in this context the series is best known.
Still in 2021 there are a few GRUNDTAL products at IKEA, such as a laundry sack on castors and the classic S-shaped hooks, which can be combined with newer racks and rails.
LED table lamp
Design Nicolas Cortolezzis
It was designer Nicolas Cortolezzis at IKEA who combined LED low-energy technology with solar cells in the SUNNAN desk lamp – a particularly robust solar-powered lamp that was developed to work in countries where many families, and even schools, have no electricity. SUNNAN was designed to be a bit more hardwearing, and had a battery that could withstand moisture and high temperatures. If the lamp was charged in the sun for 9–12 hours, it would give four hours of full-strength light.
In June 2009, IKEA Social Initiative started a campaign based on the SUNNAN lamp along with UNICEF and Save the Children. For every SUNNAN sold at IKEA, one lamp was donated to children in India and Pakistan who had no electricity at home. That way the children could play, read and do their homework also after sunset.
In August 2010, more than half a million children had received a SUNNAN desk lamp. A year later Marianne Barner, head of IKEA Social Initiative at the time, talked about the need that SUNNAN met: “Girls are particularly affected as they have to help around the home after school, and the evening is their only chance to do their homework. SUNNAN can mean a lot for them. If they can do their homework, their school attendance will probably increase and their grades will also improve.”
IKEA PS MASKROS
Design Marcus Arvonen
“Like a spherical dandelion clock, about to be spread by the wind. And when lit, the shadows on the wall make it look like that’s just what’s happening.” This is how designer Marcus Arvonen described his MASKROS pendant lamp, inspired by one of the most common plants in the Northern Hemisphere.
Most people regard the dandelion as a weed, but look closer and you’ll see the yellow flower has a unique beauty. One of Marcus Arvonen’s intentions with the lamp was that it should be just as decorative lit as unlit. When lit, it spreads fascinating patterns onto the walls and ceiling, and exciting things happen. According to Marcus: “Seeds are spread, the room dissolves and is transformed. Like when the sun shines through the trees. Quite simply, it puts you in a better mood. And it’s actually just as decorative and fascinating when it’s switched off.”
Apparently, MASKROS did put a lot of people in a good mood. It became very popular and remained in the IKEA catalogue for four years.
IKEA PS PENDEL
Design Carl Hagerling
IKEA PS PENDEL is a floor clock. But it’s also a storage unit that can take two metres of books, a collection of china, photographs or whatever else you might like. Designer Carl Hagerling took the inspiration for PENDEL from the classic Swedish grandfather clock. He wanted his design to combine the Swedish cultural legacy with the functionality that has become the hallmark of IKEA.
When the IKEA PS PENDEL floor clock was launched, the IKEA PS clock by designer and architect Thomas Eriksson, from 1995, was still being sold. There was an affinity between the two. But what made PENDEL unique, of course, was the two metres of shelving available for storage. The clock was made of glue-layered, moulded poplar veneer, and was sold right up until 2017.
IKEA PS SKOGSSTJÄRNA
Design Gunnel Sahlin
The mouth-blown SKOGSSTJÄRNA snaps/liqueur glasses were sold in a set of three, each with its own shade of blue. A set included three sizes – 20, 30 and 50 ml – and each glass was unique. The different sizes proved to be popular – at least in Sweden, where everyone tends to have their own opinion on how big a snaps should be.
At the time of launch, designer Gunnel Sahlin said that it had taken some time for the glasses to find their form. But it finally came along, inspired by forest lichens: “Ever since I was a young girl, I’ve been fascinated by lichen. When working on my design for IKEA PS SKOGSSTJÄRNA I drew a lot of sketches, but couldn’t quite find the right harmony. And then suddenly there it was. In one of my hesitant sketches I saw a special lichen, kind of enlarged and a bit lopsided. It’s called a pixie-cup lichen. I kept the character from the sketch. Since each glass is mouth-blown, each one is unique, just like the lichens.” IKEA PS SKOGSSTJÄRNA was sold at IKEA for three years, until 2012.
IKEA PS SVARVA
Design Sofia Lagerkvist/Charlotte von der Lancken/Anna Lindgren/Katja Pettersson
“A lamp with a strong personality.” This is what design group Front wanted to make when they were tasked with designing a lamp for the IKEA PS 2009 collection. Anyone who has seen the bent, unconventional IKEA PS SVARVA floor lamp must surely agree that they succeeded.
At the time, design group Front was comprised of four women who had known each other since their days at the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm: Anna Lindgren, Katja Pettersson, Sofia Lagerkvist and Charlotte van der Lancken. They quickly made a mark with their bold, imaginative design, always in combination with respect for old techniques. IKEA PS SVARVA was developed using wood turning, one of the oldest decorative techniques around.
“We realised that if we split a turned wooden pole into several pieces, we could create bends that were otherwise impossible with wood. In that way we could produce a whole new impression: a bendable, turned wooden pole!” as the design group explained on the product’s launch. The designers wanted the lamp to feel like a “good friend reading over your shoulder”.
IKEA PS SVARVA has read over many a shoulder since its launch. The floor lamp was sold at IKEA for a full seven years. It is now on display at the Nordiska Museet and is very popular on the second-hand market. SVARVA was also made in a smaller, desk-lamp version.