TROFÉ was a series of soft armchairs in polyether, in cheerful bright colours like red, orange, yellow and blue. In the 1960s, various kinds of soft furniture began popping up on the market, like big sacks full of plastic beans, inflatable armchairs, and die-cast seating furniture made of polyurethane foam.
Designer Gillis Lundgren at IKEA could see the way the winds were blowing. But rather than using polyurethane foam, an eco-villain, he found a way of cutting out two pieces of polyether, gluing them together and covering them in fabric – one piece became the seat, and the other piece the backrest. Gillis and IKEA applied for a patent on the method. The 1969 IKEA catalogue presented the result, the TROFÉ armchair, as a great bargain “for anyone with a young mindset”, including the following description:
“No one would have believed that such fun, colourful, durable, comfortable, functional products could be made from polyether – until now. After years of practical use, advanced technical development and ever-increasing quality, polyether can now finally be made into cosy, unfragile furniture – fun to furnish with, nice to look at, and comfy to sit in. And reasonably priced too!”
TROFÉ was only in the IKEA catalogue for four years. It obviously couldn’t be delivered in a flat pack, and polyether was not cheap either. In the mid-1970s, efficient new ways of die-casting polyether came along, but by then TROFÉ had become furniture history.