Booming stock markets, shoulder pads and postmodern design. The 1980s were about equal parts decadence and optimism. For IKEA it was a challenging decade, with both expansion and a quest for an identity. Could steel wire furniture be part of the answer?
A bright and groovy home
Revolution year 1968 brought the winds of change. Design and fashion reflected the times with bright colours, optimistic space shapes and modern materials. IKEA kept up too, launching the POP 68 collection in the same year – trendy, colourful furniture made from rational particle boards. Perfect for a young generation with a taste for anything new. The POP 68 collection was followed by several collections aimed at trend-conscious young consumers. Even if the copywriting in the catalogues is somewhat dated, the colourful furniture itself feels just as hip and relevant today.
After more than 30 years in the IKEA range, it’s one of the most used bags in the world. It’s big and strong, and pretty much anything will fit inside, whether you’re shopping, moving, doing the laundry or going to the beach. An iconic tote bag that has also inspired new creations by everyone from keen DIYers to luxury fashion designers.
IKEA is, at its core, collaborative. Be it suppliers or consumers, everyone is invited to join in. Collaboration happens when customers assemble furniture at home, and when creatives like Virgil Abloh and Olafur Eliason develop new products together with IKEA. This film takes a deep dive into the creative process of collaboration, and how IKEA strives to find the right people to seek out the right solutions to everyday challenges.
What is Democratic Design? Is it a road map for product developers, or a communicative tool that brings great ideas to the many people? In true IKEA style, it is of course both. Here, we explore the roots and application of the Democratic Design principle and its five pillars.
Design by IKEA of Sweden
Ideas for IKEA products are always inspired by needs and dreams in people’s lives at home. In this film, two generations of IKEA people tell the story of working towards fulfilling those aspirations. It’s about finding the best and most cost-effective solution, guided by all the different dimensions of Democratic Design – form, function, quality, sustainability, and low price.
Ingvar Kamprad loved mistakes, as long as you learnt something and didn’t make them again. “It must be allowed to make mistakes. It is always the mediocre people who are negative, who spend their time proving that they were not wrong,” he wrote in The Testament of a Furniture Dealer in 1976. The way Ingvar saw it, the fear of making mistakes was “the enemy of development” and “the root of bureaucracy”.
History of the logotype
IKEA today is one of the best-known brands in the world, and its hallmark is the characteristic blue and yellow logotype. But the logo (or logotype, or insignia, or emblem) hasn’t always looked like this. Because just like IKEA and its business, the logo has constantly been developing. Here we look at the logo’s evolution from 1943 to 2018, when the latest changes were made. So get your magnifying glass out, and join us for the story of the IKEA logo, from letterhead to head of everything!
IKEA 365+ series
Following the 1980s’ love of luxury and extravagance, the 1990s began with a recession. For IKEA, this meant an increased interest in life’s many everydays. Spectacular design was replaced by a more restrained look, and a group of designers were brought in to create a series of simple basic products for the kitchen, to be used all 365 days of the year.
IKEA PS collection
In the early 1990s, IKEA began a process to strengthen its identity as a design company. IKEA wanted to get back to its roots and manifest the aesthetic of Scandinavian simplicity. The result was IKEA PS, a recurring collection of innovative design at low prices.
Ingvar in Milan
Ingvar Kamprad started to explore new supplier markets around the world for IKEA at an early stage. In 1960 he went to Milan for the first time to visit the big Triennale exposition.
The softly shaped sofa KLIPPAN is an eternal classic. First presented in the 1980 IKEA catalogue, it has since made an annual comeback in hundreds of different covers. But why is it so popular? One reason is that KLIPPAN was born out of necessity.
Life at home 1950s
During the optimistic 1950s, the idea of the modern home is born in Sweden: light, comfortable and flexible, with space for the whole family. The TV makes its entrance at the end of the decade, while the furniture becomes increasingly airy, light and functional.
Life at home 1960s
This is the age of great change in Sweden. In the 1960s, most people have a better life, well-being and prosperity are on the up, and more and more people are becoming interested in the home and interior design. Increasing home-building in city suburbs, close to nature, means that a lot of people have a bigger home and a real boost in standard.
Life at home 1970s
In the progressive 1970s, the IKEA range becomes increasingly youthful. Colourful fabrics, bold shapes and practical solutions for a life on the move are hallmarks of the decade’s first years.
Life at home 1980s
For many, the 1980s is an optimistic, frivolous decade, with booming stock markets and broad shoulder pads signalling confidence. The colourful, kitschy postmodern style thrives side by side with elegant furniture in fancy materials. Outward appearance is everything, and it’s important to see and be seen.
Life at home 1990s
The 1990s begin with a severe recession, and the focus is once again on basic everyday needs. In home furnishing, the quite bombastic extravagance of the 1980s is replaced by a minimalist, functional ideal. The function and feel of the home are now more important (and less expensive) than the quest for status.
Life at home 2000s
In the new millennium’s first decade, the modern information society emerges. Mobile phones and video games change life at home for many people.
Life at home 2010s
During the 2010s, the traditional boundaries between the rooms in a home continue to change and disappear. People increasingly realise that there are many different ways to live and work, and that this often affects life at home.
Meet the designers
Are you curious about what it’s like to work as a designer for IKEA? Sketching cutlery one day, and a big sofa or maybe a whole kitchen the next? Meet Marcus Arvonen, Sarah Fager, Mikael Axelsson and Akanksha Deo – democratic designers on a mission to make life at home a little better. By making small changes they can have a big impact.
Small space living
In the age of urbanisation, more and more people are living in less and less space. IKEA has been working with small space living for a long time, but now it’s more important than ever. Explore how IKEA works to create a better life at home for people living in small spaces. Also, find out how a furniture retailer thinks around doing the most with the least.
Something for everyone
At IKEA, there should be something to suit all tastes. But how do you create a varied range of products? Part of the answer can be found in a floral pattern from the 1990s.
In the 1980s, IKEA faced an interesting challenge: to satisfy its loyal customers’ request for a bit of bourgeoisie. What could the company offer all those people who had grown out of their low pine sofa, taken down their pop and protest posters, and moved their IVAR shelves into the garage? They were looking for comfort and elegance, and Ingvar Kamprad came up with the solution: a ‘best of IKEA collection’. It was time for STOCKHOLM.
Textiles at IKEA 1965–1984
Meet Inger Nilsson, Vivianne Sjölin and Lars Göran Petersson, three textile veterans cut from the same cloth. All were part of creating a new textile era at IKEA, bringing new materials, bright colours and modern patterns, not least from Swedish design collective 10-gruppen.
The store part 1
Explore the development of IKEA stores, from the very first showroom in little Älmhult to today’s city stores. IKEA people behind the scenes reveal the inner workings of setting up a store and striking the balance between home furnishing inspiration and sales.