The TORE drawer unit was inspired by the kitchen cabinets IKEA started selling in 1955 under the name PAX. Designer Gillis Lundgren visited one of the factories that made the kitchen cabinets and drawer units out of fibreboard on a solid pine frame – a manufacturing method known as board-on-frame. This made them both light and stable. Gillis was particularly interested in a drawer unit that went by the name 8b. He realised that its size made it practical also outside of the kitchen. But then it would have to be sold also in lacquered form, ideally in many different colours. The PAX kitchen series was never lacquered at the factories. That was done by builders when they installed the cabinets and drawer units in people’s homes.
Gillis Lundgren immediately set about refining the 8b unit at the Ni-Jo Snickerier joinery factory in Älmhult, which could lacquer furniture. The result was the TORE drawer unit which was launched in the 1960 IKEA catalogue. TORE, often praised as ‘the universal drawer unit’, was one of the biggest successes to date at IKEA. It gradually came out in more and more colours, and was in the range up until 1977.
Nowadays, TORE is regarded as a piece of furniture history, and can be found in the permanent collections at IKEA Museum and at Sweden’s Nationalmuseum in Stockholm.