When Danish designer Nicholai Wiig Hansen created the IKEA PS low metal cabinet, he had two sources of inspiration. Many of his friends in Copenhagen liked to furnish using old metal lockers from changing rooms, but Nicholai felt these were too narrow to work really well in a home. He came to think of a sideboard, the low, traditional piece of furniture that was so popular in Danish design. Perhaps the two could be combined to make a good sideboard out of metal?
The second edition of the IKEA PS collection was largely manufactured at factories in Poland. The project manager for IKEA PS, Lars Dafnäs, and the head of design at the time, Lars Engman, found a Polish factory that made metal cabinets for the military. They brought back a prototype for a sideboard, but Nicholai was not completely happy with the quality. He felt it was too much of a ‘metal box’ and that the assembly could be improved. A DJ friend had also given him the idea of making the cabinet suitable for LPs, with holes in the rear section for leads and cables. He also wanted the cabinet to be red, something that met with suspicion from IKEA. Surely it wouldn’t be possible to sell a red cabinet?
But Nicholai stuck to his guns and finally got his way, and the red cabinet was an immediate sales success. In 2001 it also received the international design prize, Red Dot Award. In 2021 IKEA still sells the cabinet, and it costs less now than it did on launch 21 years ago.