Green upholstered armchair with wooden frame, IKEA CAVELLI.
Bengt Ruda
EUR 27

When CAVELLI, designed by Bengt Ruda, was launched in the 1959 IKEA catalogue, Ingvar Kamprad wrote: “A confident designer has given this piece a bold construction. … CAVELLI will get noticed in your home – and indeed admired. … No expense has been spared and no stone left unturned to make CAVELLI an aristocrat of the 1960s.”

It was unusual for Ingvar to say “no expense has been spared”, bearing in mind how he and IKEA normally steered clear of high costs. Aristocrats were few and far between in 1960s Småland, and CAVELLI turned out to be no different. Älmhults Möbelstoppning, the company that made it, apparently only ever made five.

When Bengt Ruda joined IKEA in 1957, he was the first qualified designer to be employed. He had designed furniture for Stockholm department store NK in the late 1940s and early 1950s. With his background, he had an important part to play, especially when IKEA started moving towards flat packs.

More than 50 years later, designer Wiebke Braasch was inspired by CAVELLI in her work on the IKEA PS 2012 collection. This led to a metal outdoor chair, the IKEA PS 2012 easy chair. Wiebke pared down everything that could be regarded as unnecessary. What was left was the basic shape – a piece that looks like it could have been the frame for CAVELLI.