Design Ehlén Johansson
This plant pot with a finely detailed edge was part of the SKURAR series, launched at IKEA in 2011. It was designed by Ehlén Johansson, who has been designing products for IKEA since 1984. The SKURAR series originally included plant pots and noticeboards. Like the earlier products, it is made of finely cut, white-painted steel, inspired by traditional handicrafts and lace.
In her design for the SKURAR series, Ehlén wanted to bring a sense of warmth and romance to the home.“I was inspired by a range of objects: traditional handicrafts, bridal pieces like bridal crowns, and of course lace. There were going to be many different objects in the series, so you could choose individual pieces or combine several. SKURAR is made of steel with cut edges, so it looks like finely made lace.”
Ehlén Johansson works based on democratic design, which should be smart and functional also in production. “If the ideas don’t work in industrial practice, they’re not good enough!” she says.
Quilt cover and pillow case
Design Maria Vinka
When the IKEA PS duvet cover and pillow case 2012 were launched, designer Maria Vinka said: “All my textiles have spots. Spots are energetic and spread joy. Looking through old IKEA catalogues convinced me even more. At IKEA we’ve always focused on simplicity and playfulness. I followed tradition with simple, immediate patterns, but in different, carefully selected materials. For example, the IKEA PS 2012 duvet cover is made of linen since it’s cool and comfy to sleep in. And flax can be grown in cooler climates, where irrigation and pesticides are rarely needed.”
With the IKEA PS 2012 collection, the designers were urged to look for inspiration in more than 60 years of IKEA design history, in old catalogues and in the IKEA Museum collection. They then worked in a playful, creative way to update and renew shapes, functions, materials and sustainability. Guiding principles such as stackable, sustainable, flexible, fun and surprising were all present in the products, which were made in a wide range of different materials and light colours.
Maria Vinka’s energetic spots didn’t only appear on duvet covers, but also on a decorative cushion cover woven using ramie, a plant fibre from the nettle family. The duvet cover set was sold until 2014.
Design Johanna Jelinek
The IKEA PS 2012 wall lamp used LED technology, which made it possible to turn the lamp flat against the wall when not in use. Designer Johanna Jelinek explained: “Lamps often end up in the same places, on ceilings and in corners, and not always wherever the light is most needed. There is a great need for smart lighting solutions, and LED technology makes it possible. LEDs are small light-emitting diodes that are built into the lamp itself, and this means the lamps can be made smaller and narrower. That’s also why it fits into any room, wherever you need good light.”
Johanna Jelinek was one of the designers who developed products for the IKEA PS 2012 collection. They were inspired by history but updated and developed the form, function, materials and sustainability, for example by using new technology.
The wall lamp was launched in the IKEA catalogue in 2013, where the energy-saving LED lamps were presented as a minor revolution. It was sold at IKEA for three years. LED technology was so revolutionary at IKEA, that all the lamps it sells now are LED lamps.
Design David Wahl
For the IKEA PS collection 2014, entitled “On the move”, David Wahl designed the IKEA PS pendant lamp, inspired by science fiction films. It’s a planet-shaped light source that’s reminiscent of a glowing globe. The shape and strength of the light can be altered by pulling the string.
David Wahl was an industrial designer before joining IKEA in 2010. As well as the pendant lamp, David Wahl designed another three products for the IKEA PS collection 2014. He remembers it as a long and challenging design process: “At IKEA we have a concept called Democratic Design, which every product has to live up to in terms of form, function, sustainability, quality and price. It’s a way of making sure we always offer high-quality design for the many people.”
David quickly came up with the pendant lamp’s beautiful form, but it took a lot of hard work to meet the other demands of Democratic Design, including the low price. He remembers: “At first, I thought the lamp would be too expensive to produce. But thanks to a close collaboration with the supplier, we were able to reduce the number of parts and improve the packaging, design and assembly. In the end, the price was actually lower than I’d originally hoped.”
The IKEA PS pendant lamp was launched in the 2015 IKEA catalogue, and is still sold at IKEA in 2021.
Design Ola Wihlborg
Ola Wihlborg designed the solid walnut and walnut veneer chair that was part of the STOCKHOLM collection 2014. He clearly remembers how he tackled the project: “I immediately thought of interior design in the 1950s and ’60s. I looked more closely at how we designed and furnished our homes during those two decades, compared with how we live today. The goal was to create a sustainable, timeless collection. One special comfort detail is the fact that the chair’s armrests are angled to fit perfectly under the table. They become a kind of unit together.”
The sixth STOCKHOLM collection, “With an eye for detail”, was presented in 2014. The collection was characterised by a classic, traditional, Scandinavian design theme with cautious continental influences.
The new collection was broader than before, with products for more areas in the home and with greater functionality. There were also more strong individual parts that could be combined with furniture and objects that were already in the rooms. An eye for detail meant that care was taken for every aspect and only the finest materials were used both inside and out, such as walnut wood, full-grain soft leather, and bone china. The result was the highest possible quality and comfort.
Inspiration for the collection was taken from nature and organic shapes. The furniture should last a long time and be able to be handed down to future generations. Ahead of the launch, Ola Wihlborg was asked: “What’s the future for the products in 20, 30 or 40 years?” Ola replied: “I hope that they’re still being used every day, even though they may change owners. I can see them being passed on to the next generation, or finding a new home in an auction. A long, eventful life is what I want the products in the STOCKHOLM collections to have.”
Design Chris Martin
High storage is great – but it can be hard to reach. MÄSTERBY makes it easier to reach the things at the top of the cabinet. It’s also nice both to sit on and look at.
MÄSTERBY designer Chris Martin had made several products for IKEA previously. The IKEA PS ELLAN chair launched in 2006 is perhaps his best-known IKEA product. It was made of wood plastic composite and could be assembled without tools. With MÄSTERBY, Chris continued on the theme of smart plastic products from sustainable production. It is made of 100% recycled plastic, and is both durable and extremely functional. The stool is light and easy to lift and move, while also being sturdy and stable. No assembly or screws are required since the stool is designed in a single piece. It’s also stackable, so you can keep several handy without taking up extra space. In 2021 MÄSTERBY is still on sale at IKEA.
Design Knut Hagberg/Marianne Hagberg
Brother and sister IKEA designers Marianne Hagberg and Knut Hagberg created the BJÖRKSNÄS series – classic solitaires made to last a long time and survive the constant shifts in interior design trends.
“The inspiration comes from our Scandinavian roots and from the reality of everyday life. It was important for us to give the furniture friendly proportions so they can fit in many rooms,” explained Marianne.
This was not the first time Knut and Marianne took a fresh approach with Swedish solid wood. April 2014 saw the launch of the NORNÄS collection, a series of furniture made in Sweden of solid untreated pine from northern Swedish forests. With NORNÄS, Knut and Marianne conveyed the natural feel of light Norrland pine, and the simplicity of modern Scandinavian design.
The idea of the BJÖRKSNÄS collection was to make something similar to what Knut and Marianne had done before with pine for NORNÄS, but this time with birch. The aim was to vitalise birch by working with the material in a new way.
BJÖRKSNÄS was a new way of using birch – the strong, blond material that looks, feels and smells like the Scandinavian forest. To start with, the series included a sofa and a glass-door cabinet. The sofa was called a kitchen bench and was a modern take on the ones found in most rural homes in Sweden in the 1800s. The glass-door cabinet had exciting details such as small leather handles. The solid birch gave each part a unique appearance, with natural variations in grain, colour and pattern.
In 2021 BJÖRKSNÄS is still sold at IKEA, but now as a bedroom series with beds, bedside tables and a chest of drawers.
Design Monika Mulder
The material in GJÖRA bed frame, solid birch, has natural variations in grain, colour and pattern. This gives each part a unique appearance and a real hand-crafted feel. Designer Monika Mulder herself said about the choice of material: “Because the bed is made from untreated massive birch, you can oil, wax, varnish, stain or paint the surface to suit your style. The possibilities are endless!”
But the flexibility of the material was not the only great feature of GJÖRA. The bed, which joined the range in 2015, was voted Best Bedroom Product in the 2017 ELLE Decoration Swedish Design Awards. The judges commented that it offered “A bed frame and clothes hanger in one – a bed of solid wood that challenges and inspires the traditional shape”.
The idea for a bed with hanging opportunity came to Monika Mulder as early as the sketching phase. She wanted to make “a higher end with a rounded rail for hanging things on”. This would make it perfect for airing, drying or picking out clothes – or draping a beautiful fabric. The low end is perfect to hold onto while getting dressed, because we all need a little support sometimes.
What Monika forgot to mention is that the customer can choose which end to have at the head and which at the foot, so the hanging facility can be at either end. Even more possibilities!
GJÖRA is still sold at IKEA in 2021.
Design Wiebke Braasch/Nike Karlsson/Henrik Preutz/Ola Wihlborg
The carafe and jug from 2015 in the IKEA 365+ series are made of heat-resistant glass that works for cold to very hot drinks. The jug’s wide opening and balanced size make it a versatile piece. It can be used for everything from smoothies to tea, and fits nicely into the fridge or on the dining table. The wide opening makes it easy to clean. The carafe is slightly narrower and can therefore be stored in the fridge door. And the four designers who worked together thought beyond that as well – both cork and glass are recyclable.
Today, the IKEA 365+ series is a comprehensive family of functional, well-designed products for preparing and eating food, at such low prices that as many people as possible can afford them.
Both the carafe and the jug are still in the IKEA 365+ range at IKEA in 2021.
Design Ola Wihlborg
When Ola Wihlborg, designer at IKEA, created the bedside table and the other products in the NORDLI bedroom series, he was inspired by Scandinavian design and smart functions.
“It all started with just a bed and bedside table, then grew into a complete series. Each piece works great alone or combined with others,” Ola explained. “They all have their own special features with focus on functionality and quality. The modular chests come in different shapes and sizes that you can combine freely. Some pieces are great in other rooms too – even in a small business.”
The NORDLI series includes a bed frame, a headboard, a bedside table and chests of drawers. The drawer units are modular, which means they can be combined in different ways and then adapted to suit changing needs.
NORDLI was launched in the 2015 IKEA catalogue with a quote by product developer Tjeerd van Waijenburg: “This smart design is inspired by a stack of boxes. With just eight modules you can create all kinds of combinations. Although it’s designed for clothes storage, NORDLI will readily work in many rooms in the home.”
Buying NORDLI means beginning with a base unit and then adding to it with different modular drawers, a bit like building Lego. The chests of drawers have many functions that can’t be seen, but are noticeable when used. A built-in damper slows the drawer on closing for a slow, silent closure. The hidden drawer rails keep the drawers running smoothly also when heavily loaded, and adjustable feet make it possible to compensate for any unevenness in the floor.
Modules in the NORDLI series are still available at IKEA in 2021.
Design Jon Karlsson/Nike Karlsson
Jon Karlsson and Nike Karlsson, two senior designers at IKEA with a special feeling for wood, worked together when developing NORRÅKER – a robust furniture series in solid birch with traditional influences.
Nike Karlsson has said about work at IKEA that it always starts from “insights into people’s needs and dreams about life at home. Only that way can we know that our designs make a difference in people’s lives.” In NORRÅKER, he and Jon Karlsson have used solid birch – a durable, stain-resistant natural material, which means the series meets the requirements for public environments but the tables and seating furniture are just as suitable at home as at a restaurant. The rounded edges on the tables are good for child safety. The largest table can sit four people.
The 2015 series includes tables, a bench, stool and bar stool in two different versions: clear-lacquered birch or black stain with clear lacquer. The natural grain in the birch and its colour variations make each piece of furniture unique and also add to their charm.
The NORRÅKER series can still be found at IKEA in 2021.
Design Ilse Crawford
This stool had black-lacquered steel legs, was 45 cm tall and had a seat made of cork which is a soft, dirt-repellent natural material that dampens sound and is resistant to water. The stool belonged to the SINNERLIG collection which was launched at IKEA in August 2015.
The SINNERLIG stool was the result of a unique collaboration between IKEA and world-famous designer Ilse Crawford. The collection comprised more than 30 products for the home, primarily for the dining area, workspace and living room. But although the products were designed for these environments, they could be used in many other ways as well. SINNERLIG was designed with great attention to the tiniest detail. The main aim was to create a collection that appealed to the senses and enhanced the feeling of comfort at home. The furniture and furnishing details in the collection were not just beautiful to look at, they were also pleasant to touch and use. This is how Ilse Crawford expressed her thoughts:
“We have observed that the more digital our lives become, the more we crave the physical. It’s about balance. Today, we are always close to a digital device, constantly connected no matter where we are. We can see changes in workplaces for instance, moving away from hard surfaces towards more tactile materials that engage the senses such as wood and more natural materials.”
Cork was the most important material in the collection. Neither IKEA nor Ilse Crawford had worked with cork in furniture before. Marcus Engman, Design Manager at IKEA at the time, explained: “Cork has many fine features and was a perfect material match for our shared vision. It has natural irregularities that give honest imperfections. Cork is nice to touch, an acoustic softener. It is also water-repellent, durable, easy to clean and considered more sustainable than many other materials.”
The cork oak is a tree with extraordinary properties, which grows in the regions around the Mediterranean. Since only the bark is harvested, the actual tree is never cut down. All the bark that’s harvested is used in production, so nothing goes to waste.
The SINNERLIG stool was sold at IKEA until 2018.
Design Ehlén Johansson
The VÄSNAS tealight holder was made of pressed clear glass and designed by Ehlén Johansson, an industrial designer who trained at the School of Design and Crafts, University of Gothenburg. Ehlén likes to take inspiration from nature, and always strives for both good form and function. Talking about VÄSNAS:
“My idea behind VÄSNAS tealight holder is that people should want to decorate their homes with as many as possible. That’s why they had to have a good price and be stackable, so they can be stored nicely if put away – which I hope doesn’t happen too often. I tested all kinds of ideas, and in the end it was my gut feeling that told me when it was finished. I now hope that VÄSNAS will inspire people to create an atmosphere with tealights and have a party.”
Kitchen mixer tap
Design Ola Wihlborg
The BOSJÖN mixer tap uses technology that reduces water and energy use, and can take many years of rinsing and washing up. It comes in two versions: brushed black metal and stainless steel colour. It is made of stainless steel, a tough, durable material that’s resistant to rust. Like many other metals, it can be recycled again and again into durable new products – without losing its valuable properties.
The tap is part of a conscious, far-reaching commitment to water at IKEA, which includes developing simple ways to use less water in the home. One example is the small flow regulator in BOSJÖN and other kitchen taps by IKEA, which reduces water flow while retaining pressure.
Design Knut Hagberg/Marianne Hagberg
The LISABO desk has birch legs and a solid ash-veneered beech top with an ash drawer underneath. The LISABO desk is part of a series of furniture in which the distinct grain of the ash veneer and the natural wood feel of the birch lend each table its own unique character and craft-like expression. The series was designed by Knut Hagberg and Marianne Hagberg, who started working at IKEA back in 1979. This is how they remember their thinking around LISABO:
“The idea behind LISABO was to create a series with a distinct feeling of wood, a floating expression and durable, easy to assemble construction. We used a matt lacquer on ash veneer so that the furniture retains its natural wood feel. The special technique we use means the tables can be manufactured without a frame and with slanted edges, which conveys a hand-crafted look. The furniture pieces have several different areas of use. The TV bench, for instance, can be a sitting bench.”
One specific memory for the designers was how they had to fight to get a desk drawer with a keyhole rather than a handle approved.
“We refused to use a handle and the manufacturer refused to accept the keyhole. But we solved it with a long, drawn-out, heated argument,” said Marianne.
One particular advantage of LISABO is a small, almost invisible solution that reduces the assembly time by 80% compared to previous table designs. The legs are inserted into holes under the table and then locked in place with a smart plastic fitting.
LISABO has won the prestigious international Red Dot Award for its design. The judges commented: “The LISABO table series looks simple, honest and robust. The design exudes lightness and modern style. The short assembly time is an added bonus.”
LISABO started being sold at IKEA in 2016 and is still in the range in 2021. As well as the desk, the series also includes a dining table, a coffee table, a side table and a chair.
Design IKEA of Sweden
A soft toy collection for children – designed by the children themselves. Every year since 2014, IKEA has invited children from around the world to a drawing competition where they draw their dream soft toys. After that Children’s IKEA has transformed five of the most unique creations into a time-limited soft toy collection: SAGOSKATT.
Over the years, everything from globe men and unicorn dachshunds to rainbow giraffes and candy cushions have been made into soft toys. Choosing between all the imaginative creations is, of course, a really tough job for the product developers at IKEA. For example, in 2019 there were more than 87,000 creative entries from 50 countries. And only a few entries can be turned into soft toys every year.
The idea behind SAGOSKATT is that IKEA wants more children to have an outlet for their creativity, have fun and at the same time be able to help other children have a better life. All sales proceeds are donated to local organisations that support children’s rights.
The design competition and SAGOSKATT represent one of many initiatives at IKEA to support children’s right to play, develop and have fun, in line with the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Design Marcus Arvonen
Designer Marcus Arvonen thought carefully about the function, form and price when he developed the SNÄPP pedal bin for IKEA. It’s as easy to place as it is practical. The inner bucket is removeable for cleaning and the handle helps to hide the plastic bag, so it isn’t visible when the lid is closed.
Marcus Arvonen studied furniture and interior design in Gothenburg, Tokyo and Helsinki. He started at IKEA in 2005 and has been a product developer, creative innovator and designer. Marcus has been behind many popular products at IKEA, such as the IKEA PS MASKROS pendant lamp.
The point of departure with SNÄPP was that whatever you’re doing around the home, you might need to throw something away. Whether you’re snacking on the sofa, working at your desk or getting ready in the bathroom, you want to be able to get rid of things quickly and easily. A strategically placed SNÄPP pedal bin – even in an unexpected place, like the living room – helps to keep your home neat and tidy.
SNÄPP is still sold at IKEA in 2021, in different sizes and colours.
Design Henrik Preutz
The SUNNERSTA mini-kitchen can do more than you think, at a very low price. The kitchen is ideal for small spaces where you want an open, inviting kitchen. It can be used in the holiday cabin, when renovating your main kitchen, or as a portable kitchen for more flexible living in a small home. The function can be further enhanced with hooks, shelves, trolleys and containers of various kinds. It is easy to get home and assemble, so you can get started cooking in no time.
Designer Henrik Preutz started his collaboration with IKEA in 2002 on a working scholarship from HDK – School of Design and Crafts, University of Gothenburg. A year later he was employed as a designer. Henrik has designed a great many products for virtually every area at IKEA, including the SOLBO children’s table lamp, the MARKUS office chair, and several products in the IKEA PS collections and IKEA 365+ series.
This is what Henrik Preutz had to say about his thoughts behind the kitchen: “With the SUNNERSTA freestanding mini-kitchen I want to encourage a creative and playful feeling about cooking. Create an open and welcoming kitchen even if your living space is small, a simple kitchen area in the office or a practical solution when renovating. Use the plastic hooks and containers to keep track of utensils and ingredients – and use the trolley as a utility surface when there’s a lot going on in the kitchen. Hopefully it will make cooking more fun and easier.”
SUNNERSTA is still sold at IKEA in 2021.
Portable induction hob
Design Klara Petersén
This induction hob is so small and light, it can be taken and used everywhere. It can even be put away when not needed to free up worktop space. The TILLREDA portable induction hob arrived in 2016, with simple navigation and practical details, like the handle where the cable can also be rolled up. There are nine power settings on the display.
Designer Klara Petersén wanted to make a hob for modern kitchens, and said: “As the kitchen is changing, and it gradually moves into the living room where you use for example an iPad or a computer, it can blend in and be an electronic product. It doesn’t have to remain looking like a kitchen appliance. It can have a new appearance and I think we’re going to see this more and more. For me, it’s important that people quickly understand how a product should be used, and that design isn’t just for design’s sake, but has a distinct function.”
The hob is a good example of how design at IKEA is firmly anchored in research and insights. IKEA makes thousands of home visits every year, in cities all over the world. The need for a small, readily portable cooking hob is a sign of the times. More and more people live in compact homes, move more often and need flexible kitchen solutions. In this context, TILLREDA is the obvious response to an everyday problem that affects a lot of people.
TILLREDA won the prestigious Red Dot Award for design in 2016, with the comment: “TILLREDA charms with a distinct, modern design and well-considered design solutions, making it a highly useful mobile induction hob.”
The hob is still sold in an updated version at IKEA in 2021.
Design Paulin Machado
The handmade TILST rug was designed by Paulin Machado, designer at IKEA. The rug was one of several new natural-feel rugs – TILST, TERNSLEV, SATTRUP and SJÖSLEV – all woven with natural, sustainable fibres. The idea was to make the rugs from renewable materials, which were chosen for their robust and sustainable qualities. Jute is grown organically and is 100% recyclable, and sisal is a fibre from the agave plant and is sustainable and naturally resistant to stains.
Paulin Machado studied textile design at the Chelsea College of Arts in the UK, and at the Swedish School of Textiles, Borås. Following work experience at the IKEA textiles department, she worked for five years as a designer at the IKEA product development centre in India. Paulin was then employed in the design department at IKEA of Sweden in Älmhult.
The TILST rug was sold at IKEA from April 2016, for just over two years. Thanks to its modern appearance, with an innovative design and colourful threads that broke up the traditional rectangular shape, the rug worked well in smaller spaces.
Design Carl Öjerstam
The three-legged TVÄRS table lamp is a mood lamp with a soft light that looks a bit like it comes from outer space. But that’s not even the most special thing about it – the extremely low price is.
When TVÄRS was developed, IKEA had already made a mark with the low-price lamp that was simply called LAMPAN, ‘the lamp’. But now IKEA wanted to outdo itself and make a lamp that was even better priced, naturally without compromising on the design. Aptly enough, IKEA again asked designer Carl Öjerstam to design the new lamp, after designing LAMPAN in the early 2000s. This is what he had to say about the project:
“The challenge was to minimise the costs while designing an attractive lamp that works anywhere. The key was a design that means we can fit 500 lamps on one pallet. This means that we reduce transportation costs significantly – and can lower the price of the lamp without compromising on design.”
The TVÄRS lamp became a popular table lamp that creates soft mood lighting in the room. It is still at IKEA in 2021.
Design Sebastian Holmbäck/Ulrik Nordentoft
ÖRFJÄLL is a neat, flexible desk chair that’s designed with the home office in mind. Designers Sebastian Holmbäck and Ulrik Nordentoft wanted to combine function and comfort with good-looking design. This is how Sebastian and Ulrik themselves described the idea:
“Lots of people have their desks in their living room or hallway, so we wanted to make a chair with a homey feel that would blend in with the rest of the furniture. We chose a simple, airy shape and added the practical properties that a chair needs. The handle at the back makes it easy to move around, which is perfect as it fits anywhere in the home!”
The swivel chair has quality high-density foam in the seat and back, which means it keeps its comfort for many years. The safety castors have a load-sensitive brake mechanism that keeps ÖRFJÄLL safely in place when you stand up. It is deactivated automatically when you sit down. The height of the chair is adjustable, enhancing the comfort factor. It is also sold in a children’s version with the same functions as the adult one.
In 2021 ÖRFJÄLL is still sold at IKEA.
Design Sarah Fager
When Sarah Fager designed an armchair for the IKEA PS 2017 collection, she wanted to make something “really comfortable for everyone who lives in small spaces”. The result was an armchair that was easy to carry, almost transparent and with optimum sitting comfort.
The chair was manufactured using a technique called 3D knitting, giving it a light, almost transparent surface. This was the first time IKEA used a computerised 3D technology to weave the textile used for the chair, along with a powder-coated steel frame. The technique is the same as the one used when making trainers.
The chair was part of the IKEA PS 2017 collection, which went under the motto “Live it!”. The collection was intended for everyone who truly valued their independence. It was about a lifestyle in which people could see all the opportunities a free life could offer. When it came to furniture, it was about choosing things that offered the greatest possible flexibility. Things that were easy to pick up and move around, either within the home or from one home to another. IKEA wanted to make furniture that liberated rather than weighed down.
Designer Sarah Fager herself compared her armchair to a beloved pair of trainers: “3D knitting technology is also often used to make colourful trainers, which I love. This armchair can endure many years of wear without its shape being distorted, just like a nice pair of trainers!”
In 2017 the chair received the international design prize, Red Dot Award. It came in two colour schemes: one grey and one purple/blue. The armchair was sold at IKEA until 2020.
Design John Löfgren/Jonas Pettersson
KUNGSBACKA is a pioneer in the IKEA kitchen range. That’s because it’s the first kitchen door which is made from 100% recycled materials. Recycled plastic are the main material behind the tasteful, modern surface of KUNGSBACKA.
Anna Granath, product developer for kitchens at IKEA, explains: “Our products are bought by a lot of people, and by offering more sustainable alternatives, we actually have the opportunity to contribute to a change. So we started looking at how we could replace new materials with recycled materials in our kitchen range,” she says.
IKEA started working with John Löfgren and Jonas Pettersson of design group Form Us With Love, and an Italian supplier. Together, they developed a brand new material. A plastic film made from recycled plastic was created and laminated onto KUNGSBACKA kitchen fronts.
“The main challenge lay in creating a material that meets the same quality requirements as a film made of a brand new material. We’ve worked hard not to compromise on quality or price,” said Marco Bergamo, responsible for development at the Italian supplier company.
The result was a robust kitchen door with a matt black surface and chamfered edges, made from recycled wood and the new-old plastic film. Covering the surface of a 40×80 cm kitchen door requires twenty-five 500 ml bottles.
Product developer Anna Granath is proud of the product: “The whole team behind the kitchen front is proud. We’ve all worked hard to not compromise on anything. Not when it comes to design, quality, functionality, or price, and especially not when it comes to the sustainability aspects. It feels great, deep down in the bottom of our hearts.”
KUNGSBACKA won a Red Dot Award for design in 2018. It is still sold at IKEA in 2021.
Design Nike Karlsson
A neat armchair with a generous shape, handmade of rattan by skilled artisans. Designer Nike Karlsson was asked by IKEA to develop rattan products for the STOCKHOLM collection of a higher quality than IKEA had ever had before. Nike went to Indonesia to work directly with a supplier that makes rattan products for IKEA. He had brought drawings and product ideas from Sweden, but soon realised he would have to modify them to suit production. The supplier was encouraged to come up with new solutions that made Nike’s ideas possible. This could only be done because the designer visited the factory and was able to work directly alongside the supplier. This is what Nike said about the process:
“Making products from rattan is a very different process to making other IKEA products. It’s usually about straight edges and rapid flows through hyper-efficient factories. Rattan is more about working with people and their handicrafts.”
The armchair was part of the seventh collection called STOCKHOLM, which was about “Doing things at just the right pace”. The collection was characterised by a classic, traditional, Scandinavian design theme with cautious continental influences. The products have become popular, perhaps mostly among a more mature target group, second generation IKEA customers. The 2017 collection was made of natural, tactile materials like rattan and mouth-blown glass. This reflected the collection’s most important sources of inspiration: the light and nature of Sweden.
“The collection is about well-being, quality and comfort,” as Viveca Olsson, creative leader for STOCKHOLM collection 2017, explained.
The armchair is still sold at IKEA in 2021. It has a comfy seating cushion of high-quality polyether with a real sprung core. The back cushion is filled with polyester fibre balls, and the seat and back cushions have cotton covers.
Design IKEA of Sweden
The TRÅDFRI gateway was created in 2017, and marked the beginning of an effort at IKEA to make everyday life a little easier using smart products. It was used to control smart products from IKEA in the home using the IKEA Home smart app. “We used a standard technology and adapted it to people’s needs as home furnishing experts, not tech specialists,” says Rebecca Töreman, who works with smart products at IKEA. “We wanted our connected products to be easy to use; you shouldn’t have to be an engineer to make them work.”
As time went by, more and more smart product types came along that could be controlled with the TRÅDFRI gateway and the app, to solve everyday challenges and increase convenience in the home. These included speakers, lighting, roller blinds and air purifiers. It became easier to switch lights on and off, or create cosy lighting in the evening. Or to give the air purifier a boost just before bedtime. Or to wake gradually in the morning by raising the smart roller blind slightly after you’ve snoozed the alarm.
LED table lamp
The YPPERLIG table lamp was part of the YPPERLIG collection, a collaboration between IKEA and Rolf and Mette Hay. The lamp was switched on and off using a touch control, and the brightness was also regulated using your fingertip.
Rolf and Mette Hay founded their company HAY in 2002, and create furniture with an eye for modern living using sophisticated industrial manufacturing. Rolf Hay has referred to the meeting with IKEA as a love story. He said: “Although we’re so different, we discovered we have the same perspective and sense of curiosity as well as being open to each other’s expertise.”
Large-scale production in high volumes was new to Rolf and Mette Hay, but not to Krister Nilsson and Ricky Eriksson, who had been product developers at IKEA their entire professional lives. Their final project before retiring was to ensure the design was adapted to the standard at IKEA, both when it came to quality and low price. Krister, Ricky, Rolf and Mette would jointly create a collection that explored the potential to use innovative production technology to create a new Scandinavian expression.
The collection also included a modern version of the traditional Scandinavian plank table, with a stable metal underframe. It is a slightly wider table with plenty of room for dinners, homework, crafting and other everyday activities. Another product is an armchair inspired by the classic café chair that was common in Vienna during the 19th century. It is cast in a single piece so no assembly is required. It is also UV treated and approved for public environments both indoors and outdoors.
Krister Nilsson says that it was the best possible project to finish his career with, but that it wasn’t exactly simple. He remembers: “When we thought something was good enough, Rolf and Mette kept demanding an exact radius or colour. It has been a bit tiresome at times, we needed to put in a few extra working days, but in the end it really paid off. The main challenge was to match their attention to detail with an attractive price.”
Several products in the YPPERLIG collection are still sold at IKEA in 2021.
Design Mikael Axelsson
“Move me around!” This is what designer Mikael Axelsson wanted BURVIK to communicate. BURVIK is a small side table with a handle, that can easily be moved to wherever it’s most needed at the moment. Perfect for a cup fo tea, a book or a laptop.
Designer and engineer Mikael Axelsson has studied design in Sweden, Spain and New Zealand. He was employed as a designer at IKEA in 2013. He created the BURVIK table to meet the needs of a flexible living space where many different activities take place. So it was important that BURVIK had a distinct handle and wasn’t too heavy to lift. It should be big enough for a magazine or a laptop, but easy to move with one hand. Another important design aspect was the raised edge, to prevent what’s on it sliding off when the table is being moved.
Assembling BURVIK should be as simple as moving the finished table around – this is why there are no loose fittings, the screws are integrated into the legs.
BURVIK won a Good Design Award in 2018 and is still sold at IKEA in 2021.
Design Andreas Fredriksson
The HAVSTEN sofa arose from a new need that IKEA had identified. More and more customers wanted to furnish their outdoor spaces, balconies, terraces and gardens in a style that felt like indoors. A bit like an extra living room beneath the open sky. HAVSTEN, a flexible sofa that could be used both indoors and out, was a response to this need.
Designer Andreas Fredriksson designed a modular sofa that could be added to, from armchair to two-seater sofa to three-seater sofa ‒ or as long as required. He wanted to create a truly flexible sofa, “easy to move around and use to furnish in different ways,” as Andreas himself put it.
Before this, most comfortable outdoor sofas had been big and heavy. But not HAVSTEN. Andreas’s idea was to use light steel tubes to build an airy metal skeleton, that was covered in mesh to form the frame of the sofa. Thick cushions resting on the mesh provided comfort, and were treated to withstand blazing sun and light rain. “I wanted to achieve an overall ease with this open design while ensuring that all parts fit in a flat package that you easily take home from the store,” Andreas explained. His success was confirmed when HAVSTEN won an international Red Dot Award for design in 2017.
Damon Hird, who worked with product development for outdoor spaces at IKEA, described HAVSTEN as “the outdoor space’s durable anchor point”, a neutral base that can be styled and adapted freely. Customers have clearly discovered this too, as HAVSTEN is still sold at IKEA in 2021.
LED work lamp
Design Monika Mulder
With its forward-facing ‘ears’, the KRUX lamp looks like a curious creature, lighting up the children’s room with a perfect light for drawing or building. Both the arm and the head can be adjusted , and the wall lamp version also has a built-in dimmer. KRUX was given its playful design by designer Monika Mulder.
A lamp for the children’s room must, of course, be designed with the highest level of child safety. KRUX has undergone some of the world’s toughest safety tests. The lamps have built-in LED light sources and no sharp edges, small parts, openings or hooks.
This safe children’s room buddy is still sold at IKEA in 2021.
Design Virgil Abloh
The rug in the MARKERAD collection, with its clear written mottos, was part of a collaboration IKEA began in 2017 with Virgil Abloh, American designer, multi-creator and DJ. At the time he was one of the hottest names in fashion, best known for his work with his own brand and international fashion houses.
With this collaboration, IKEA wanted to bring a bit of street fashion into Swedish homes, and the temporary collection MARKERAD received a lot of attention. As well as the rugs the collection also included a chair, a table, a bed and a glass-door cabinet, along with furnishing details such as a backlit picture and a wall clock. All in all there were 15 items, many of which sold out instantly.
MARKERAD started from a classic, minimalist design, spiked with rebellious details. Virgil Abloh’s famous quotation marks were repeated throughout the collection, adding a feeling of humour and warm irony.
“It’s great that MARKERAD is now ready to meet the world, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the everyday objects become a part of people’s homes, and hopefully add an emotional value. In the same way you can hang a work of art on a wall, art can also be incorporated into things like a chair, a table or a rug. That was my starting point when I created this collection in association with IKEA,” said Virgil Abloh on the launch of the collection.
“Our collaboration has been characterised by curiosity about each other’s ‘playing fields’ and a genuine willingness to try new approaches. By letting our different takes on design meet, we challenged each other to think differently. The result is a collection I feel is bold and contemporary, and carries a message for our time,” said Henrik Most, creative leader at IKEA of Sweden.
The rugs became one of the greatest successes in the collection. The rug with the print KEEP OFF sold out directly. More rugs gradually joined the collection, including one saying WET GRASS and another in the form of a gigantic IKEA receipt.
MARKERAD was sold in limited numbers at six IKEA stores between September 2018 and February 2020.
Design Knut Hagberg/Marianne Hagberg
The OMTÄNKSAM chair is part of a collection developed for everyone who needs a little extra help and support in everyday life. It was designed by siblings Knut Hagberg and Marianne Hagberg, designers at IKEA since 1979.
At some point in life we may all need a little extra support in the home. It might be a more supportive chair when pregnant, a longer shoehorn after running a marathon, or just more everyday assistance due to the natural process of ageing. The OMTÄNKSAM collection is designed to be inclusive and accessible, with input from ergonomists, physiotherapists and researchers in the care industry – the Swedish word OMTÄNKSAM means ‘caring’.
Britt Monti was the creative leader at IKEA and the main force that pushed the project forward. She said: “If you look into IKEA catalogues from the 1960s you’ll see we used to speak about comfort and support for older people or people with back problems. But since the 1980s we just didn’t have this customer in mind when developing new products.”
Britt wanted to change that. She spoke with researchers, physiotherapists and doctors, other people working in the care field, and companies that design products for older people.
The OMTÄNKSAM collection contains a large number of products from a chair, table, armchair, side table and footstool, to smaller items like a shoe horn, a jar gripper and a plate with anti-slip.
The OMTÄNKSAM chair, made in anthracite, white and yellow, is specially designed to provide good support for the back. The high, wide back also makes it possible to sit down and stand up easily with the help of your arms. The chair won a Red Dot Award in 2018. It is still sold at IKEA in 2021.
Design Pia Amsell/Barbro Berlin
The OMTÄNKSAM vases are part of a collection designed for everyone who needs a little extra help and support in the day to day. The vases are not just for beautiful flower arrangements: their very shape makes them easy to lift, carry and wash. But designers Pia Amsell and Barbro Berlin also wanted to create vases where flowers would thrive. They therefore decided on shapes that allow stalks and leaves the space and support they need. The vases can be used individually or in combination.
The idea behind the series is to enable people who need a little extra help in the everyday to maintain their independence and be themselves when performing basic tasks that used to be easy, but might now be difficult – from putting on shoes or having a drink to getting up out of a chair. The products were designed in consultation with ergonomists, physiotherapists and researchers in healthcare, and they make many activities around the home safer, simpler and more enjoyable.
The OMTÄNKSAM collection contains a large number of products, from these vases to a chair, table, armchair, side table and footstool, to smaller items like a shoe horn, a jar gripper and plates with anti-slip.
Design Ola Wihlborg
BRUSEN is a sofa with many areas of use. Designer Ola Wihlborg has created many popular products for IKEA. His ambition in the design process is to achieve a combination of function and aesthetics that catches people by surprise.
BRUSEN is mainly intended for outdoor use but is also great to use indoors. By adding one or more decorative cushions, the sofa takes on a personal style and greater comfort. It has been sold in discreet grey and in strong accent red.
BRUSEN is made of powder-coated steel and is virtually maintenance-free. Outdoor products are exposed to a lot more things than indoor products, such as sun and rain, dust and dirt. IKEA carefully selects suitable materials and finishes for outdoor products, and puts them through tough tests. BRUSEN works just as well on the balcony as in the garden or living room.
The sofa won a Red Dot Award in 2019. It is still sold at IKEA in 2021.
Table lamp with WiFi speaker
Design Andreas Fredriksson/Iina Vuorivirta
Both sound and light are important factors when it comes to creating the right atmosphere. So, what happens when you combine these two forces in one product? That thought was the starting point for creating SYMFONISK, which is a table lamp and WiFi speaker in one.
The lamp is the product of a collaboration between IKEA and Sonos, specialists in wireless home audio systems. Stjepan Begic, product developer at IKEA, worked on the development of SYMFONISK. He remembers: “We wanted to see what everyday problems we could solve when we brought together our home furnishing knowledge with Sonos’s audio expertise. Both light and sound are important elements in creating a homey atmosphere. But the problem is that many of us have a lack of space, whether we live big or small. So why not create something that actually gives space back?”
Iina Vuorivirta and Andreas Fredriksson, designers at IKEA, designed the product. Iina commented on the lamp: “We knew from the start that we wanted to challenge the traditional high-tech aesthetics. The lamp-speaker partly springs from the idea of the fireplace – one single piece that spreads warm light as well as sound.”
SYMFONISK has many fine features. The music carries on playing even when your phone or tablet is not nearby. It supports all the major subscription services for music streaming. You can turn out the light without switching off the speaker.
The lamp received a Red Dot Award in 2019. It is still sold at IKEA in 2021.
Design Paulin Machado
A collection of cushion covers created by women artisans from the Jordan River Foundation in Jordan. Each cushion cover is unique, as the artisan herself has chosen the colour and placement of the embroidery and has stitched it all by hand.
IKEA is always striving to find new ways of making a better everyday life, and therefore works with various social entrepreneurs around the world. The partnership with Jordan River Foundation gives IKEA access to rare handicraft skills and the ability to offer unique products. It also creates jobs and stable income for women artisans. The TILLTALANDE collection also included a rug and seating cushions.
Jordan, population nine million, has taken in almost 700,000 refugees since 2011, some of them from war-torn Syria. This has brought social challenges that the Jordan River Foundation is trying to alleviate. IKEA started working with the Foundation to see how it could help. It resulted in the TILLTALANDE collection of textile products made by women forced to flee their homes.
Paulin Machado, IKEA designer, and Faridon Arbida, designer at Jordan River Foundation, worked with the women at one of JRF’s production centres when creating the collection. “It was a dynamic collaboration and we learned a lot from each other. I made a basis which the women could them put their own stamp on. On the cushions with camel print the saddles and palm trees are hand-embroidered and placed where the artisans feel it is most suitable. The skill of the women is amazing. If we spoke an idea out loud, within 15 minutes they had something to show us and wondered if this was what we meant. It was incredible!” says Paulin.
TILLTALANDE cushion covers are still sold at IKEA in 2021.