The first years of the 1970s are dominated by modern products in plastic and lacquered particleboard. Inspiration comes largely from Italian design and American popular culture. Particleboard furniture that people can make their own mark on, sofas with practical removable covers, fun wall posters, storage shelves and seat cushions are typical IKEA products of the time.
Life at home
In the progressive 1970s, the IKEA range becomes increasingly youthful. Colourful fabrics, bold shapes and practical solutions for a life on the move are hallmarks of the decade’s first years.
In the 1970s, many people see IKEA as quite a radical company that’s developing in line with the times. Designers and interior designers are given more freedom. The aim is to offer a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices as low as possible.
The stores present progressive innovations like a self-serve warehouse, where customers load flat packs onto their trolleys, gigantic ball pits for the children, and a dedicated department for children’s furnishings. There are also new departments for home furnishing items, and above all more whole room interiors where customers can get a sense of how their new furniture could work in their own home. Every room is now represented, from the kitchen and bedroom to the garage and children’s room.
As people generally become better off, criticism against the over-abundant society grows. The 1973 oil crisis highlights the need for greater environmental awareness, while plastic becomes more expensive. At IKEA, the modernist plastic furniture of the Pop age is now replaced by rustic pine. Ingvar Kamprad’s decision that IKEA should also use knotty pine to make furniture is an appropriate authentic aspect of the rustic furniture that replaces the former, shiny modernist products. The pine style also suits the new Green Movement, when many young people move to the country or to well-planned apartments in the suburbs, where there is room to be together and be creative. The do-it-yourself spirit thrives. People are no longer reluctant to put together an IVAR shelf from IKEA. And everything is child friendly.