The 1999 edition of the IKEA catalogue saw the launch of VÄRDE, a brand new kind of kitchen that would be called a modular kitchen. Designer Mikael Warnhammar had an extensive background and professional experience as a carpenter, builder and construction engineer, and had graduated from the School of Design and Crafts (HDK), University of Gothenburg in 1988.
Even in the 1980s, people had started dreaming of a ‘kitchen island’ or ‘kitchen bar’ to gather around. And international expansion at IKEA had also revealed another need. Unlike in Sweden, consumers in other countries often had to take their kitchens with them when they moved. A normal, wall-mounted kitchen from IKEA didn’t meet this need.
The launch emphasised the ability to be able to rearrange, supplement or modify the kitchen at any time, thanks to the modular setup of VÄRDE. It was described as a brand new way of thinking when it came to kitchens. Drawer units and wall units were in birch/birch veneer with white details and feet of stainless steel. The free-standing units were easy to place, and had the same capacity as a traditional ‘fixed’ kitchen. Moreover, the individual parts made it easy to plan, install and take the kitchen with you when you moved. Scandinavian design was popular, and the execution in solid, thick, light birch was exactly right for the times.
In 2000 the VÄRDE series received the Red Dot Award. VÄRDE was in the IKEA catalogue for a total of ten years, and was even made in a mini version for children under the name DUKTIG. Mikael Warnhammar also designed another two modular kitchens, ATTITYD and BRAVAD.