The TED folding chair that was made by the millions is an eternal classic, by designer Niels Gammelgaard. One of the secrets of its success is the fact that it’s unusually comfortable compared to other folding chairs. Niels talked about the chair’s background:
“As a designer, you often visited the factories with the buyers to adapt your products into designs they could produce. On one such trip, we went to a large factory in Italy that made a lot for IKEA. While the buyer was negotiating in the office, I wandered around the factory to learn about their production process. In their model workshop, I developed a new chair with their skilled craftsmen. Just before we left, the buyer took my chair to the conference room and promised that if the factory could make them for 16 kronor (EUR 1.6), IKEA would buy 500,000 over the next three years.”
“After that, I didn’t hear anything about it for a long time. But at the range viewing in spring 1977 it was everywhere, in all kinds of colours, and was presented as that year’s new product. The comfort was great as I’d made the back curve twice as deep as other chairs on the market. The chair had been approved in Möbelfakta consumer tests, and it was the best and least expensive folding chair on the market. In the first year IKEA sold 1.2 million chairs.”
The chair was named TED when it was added to the IKEA range in 1976. It was then launched in the 1979 catalogue and remained for ten years. In subsequent years the series was supplemented with two small tables and a folding table that was mounted on the wall.