Two simple sofas, one white, one black, with a steel mesh underframe.
Niels Gammelgaard
EUR 149

The MOMENT sofa was just right for the mid-1980s. With its simple, straight shape and steel mesh underframe, it fit nicely into the urban furnishing style of the time. But MOMENT originally came about because of a problem IKEA had been tackling for a while: how to include sofas in the flat-pack concept.

Designer Niels Gammelgaard and product manager for sofas at the time, Lars Engman, discussed how to solve the problem. Sofas had so far been large, awkward pieces of furniture made of polyether foam and fabrics, which were glued and nailed onto a frame of solid wood, plywood or particleboard.

Could metal be an alternative? Lars and Niels found a possible solution when they visited a factory that manufactured shopping trolleys. They saw how the trolleys were produced automatically in machines. Steel wire, bolts and flat iron bars were delivered directly to the factory on large reels, so they cost less to buy than the metal tubing made specially for furniture. Niels designed a sofa that could be made in such a factory.

He designed the actual frame in four parts. Firstly a seat and a back made of steel mesh and flat iron bars. The seat and back were joined to two underframes with legs by steel bolts, all manufactured in an automated process. The frame could then be packed in a flat pack that was easy to handle. Niels then designed nice cushions that provided comfort on the hard, metal frame. The cushions were to be sold separately: two for the seat, two for the back, and two for armrests in another flat pack that was easy to handle.

The world’s first flat-pack sofa was called MOMENT seating furniture. It adorned the front cover of the 1985 IKEA catalogue, and it was given spreads and full pages for a further four years.

Production and sales of the sofa went so well, that Niels later designed two other products made with the same production technique: the GUIDE shelving unit in 1985 and the MOMENT table in 1986.

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