The HANSA bookcase was launched in 1957, and at the time was described in the IKEA catalogue as “cheerful and highly modern, for the joy of all book lovers”. The designer was Gillis Lundgren but the idea came from the Br. Franssons Möbelfabrik, a furniture factory in Rörvik. Franssons was one of the few manufacturers in Sweden still supplying to IKEA, after traditional furniture retailers had threatened to stop buying from companies that still worked with Ingvar Kamprad. His low prices were seen as a threat to the whole industry.
Franssons liked IKEA and Ingvar Kamprad. They liked the fact that IKEA paid on time, and that Ingvar was also interested in their production process. In May 1956, the factory owner wrote in a letter to Ingvar: “Please find enclosed a photo of a piece of furniture we are making. The thing is, we have promised our client not to produce it for anyone else. However, if you could change it to your preferences – it wouldn’t take much, as long as it doesn’t quite look the same – we could produce it for you. Make a sketch, send it over and we will produce a sample.”
Gillis Lundgren was ready with a pencil and soon sent a sketch as requested, and that became the HANSA bookcase.