This paw-like pattern came in two different sizes and several colourways. It was first launched in the IKEA catalogue in 1971 as a bedspread. Designed by Swedish textile artist Sven Fristedt, it was initially released in two colour combinations: blue and green, and muted brown and black. In 1972, a vibrant red and orange colourway joined the lineup. ALFI was also offered as curtains.
As a young man, Sven Fristedt was first introduced to then IKEA textile manager Inger Nilsson in the mid-1960s by textile designer Inez Svensson. Inez was always keen to spotlight young talent, and Sven Fristedt had already established himself with patterns for companies like Borås Wäfveri and Katja of Sweden, among others.
“Sven was quite a reserved, grumpy type, stubborn and independent, much like myself,” recalled Inger Nilsson. “I told him it would be nice if he could make something especially for us. Sven opened his briefcase, and we picked the first fabrics we would produce together.”
Sven Fristedt’s large-patterned cretonne fabrics made their debut on IKEA furniture and home textiles in 1968. These included timeless pieces such as MYRTEN, TARANTELLA and SOMMARGYLLEN, central to Inger Nilsson’s vision of a contemporary range for IKEA. In subsequent decades, Sven emerged as one of Sweden’s foremost textile designers. His striking designs, which gained global traction, bolstered IKEA’s reputation as a hub for exciting and cutting-edge textiles.
In 2023, the ALFI pattern resurfaced in a slightly smaller pattern size, adopting the 1972 colour palette. The updated design, named SVEDJENÄVA, marked the pattern’s debut as pre-cut fabric in its over half-century existence. “To see my designs in new colours in the NYTILLVERKAD collection makes me really happy,” says designer Sven Fristedt, whose creations are now showcased not only at IKEA Museum but also institutions like the Swedish National Gallery, Kulturen in Lund, and the Röhsska Museum.