The MK wing chair was launched in 1951, and was one of the first pieces of upholstered furniture to be launched at IKEA. The chair was the result of a collaboration between Ingvar Kamprad and the Qvarnström furniture factory in Liatorp, near Älmhult. It was designed and manufactured at the factory. Ingvar had long been planning to expand his range with upholstered furniture. Wing chairs were the height of fashion in the 1950s, and of course IKEA wanted to sell one too.
The early IKEA catalogues described MK as “A quality product with superlative characteristics”, “The favourite to beat all favourites”, and “…the best the Swedish furniture industry has to offer”. For several years it was one of the most popular products at S:t Eriksmässan, the Stockholm Furniture Fair of its day. Above all it was a much-loved reading chair in Swedish homes.
Over the years, wing chairs have become classics that are still in demand today. This led to a comeback for MK in 2012, under a new guise and a new name: STRANDMON. One reason IKEA launched an armchair so similar to MK was that there was no other large, cosy wing chair in the range. But of course it had to be adapted to modern needs in terms of sustainability and comfort.
STRANDMON had to undergo a lot of tough quality tests before it reached the market. Ulf Engström, product developer at IKEA: “STRANDMON has been tested so we can be sure a person can sit down on it and get out of it at least 50,000 times. That’s equivalent to sitting in it and getting up again once a day for 136 years.”
Even though people in many ways live differently now compared to the 1950s, there still seems to be a need for a classic, high-quality, high-comfort armchair. “I think that’s one of the reasons why STRANDMON is so popular,” says Ulf Engström.