The small cart, or trolley, called HOFF, was made of white or red-lacquered metal. It was the designer Niels Gammelgaard who had the ingenious idea to reuse the tabletop construction from his popular foldable table, TED. By doing so, he and IKEA could reduce the production cost of the simple yet stylish wheeled cart. When not in use, it could easily be folded up. This was a bonus for those with limited space: one day they could effortlessly serve drinks and snacks on the HOFF, and the next day fold it up and store it away in a closet.
The Danish industrial designer Niels Gammelgaard first met IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad in Denmark in 1975. Niels wanted IKEA to sell his furniture, but instead Ingvar challenged him to design a new type of chair made of steel and plastic. Fourteen days later, Niels introduced the first version of the FOLKE chair. This marked the beginning of a collaboration that would span three decades and result in over 50 different products, including HOFF, TED, JÄRPEN and MOMENT. “Ingvar fascinated me. His idea that everyone should be able to afford good design really appealed to me,” Niels recalls.
In his original design, Niels attached the shelves of HOFF with hinges. But when IKEA released an updated version of HOFF in 2023, the shelves were held in place with solid metal brackets and nuts to reduce the risk of injury. The revamped rolling cart was named JÄRLÅSA. It was also quick to fold but no longer accidentally collapsed – a problem that occasionally occurred with its predecessor, HOFF. JÄRLÅSA also had to meet contemporary standards for durability: for instance, it was designed to support up to 100 kilograms. However, the sleek design and practical functionality essentially remained unchanged.