Opening its first store in 1958, Ikea ranks as not just one of the most successful Swedish companies alongside Volvo but was an early pioneer in making good design accessible. Its hard to imagine modern living without the brand’s inexpensive, self-assembled products (and those mysterious leftover screws!). While some of its pieces have begun to turn up at international design auctions, the lusted-after Verner Panton Vilbert chair from 1994 being one such cult item, there’s little to tell of the unsung design team behind the Ikea brand.
“Ikea, The Book” sets out with the goal of examining and celebrating the creatives behind the designs and indeed the stories behind some of Ikea’s successful designs. Written by Staffan Bengtsson, one of Scandinavia’s design authorities and editor of Form magazine, the 450-page title digs deep in its task to expose some of the secrets.
For example, how the blazes did Ikea manage to get Panton to design not only an original piece for the company but happily allow it to be mass produced? Hella Jongerius too for that matter. Plus, how did its enigmatic founder Ingvar Kamprad (only 17 when he set the company up) manage not only to ensure the vision of his mass-produced, modern-design-for-all ethos translated well not only in its home country of Sweden but also the world?
It’s a great insight into Ikea but also into the design framework of Scandinavia itself, putting shape form and colour into good context. we also know know who to blame for those dratted short allen-keys and indeed where to return our screws too!
The 450-page tome “Ikea, The Book” sells online from Sweden Book Shop for 425 SEK.