IKEA Reveals New Design Collaborations and Invites Behind the Scenes in Älmhult (Part 1)

This week we were invited to attend IKEA's Democratic Design Day at their headquarters in Älmhult, Sweden along with over 200 journalists from around the world.  This was IKEA's second year featuring Democratic Design, which is all about sharing their views about life, at home and showing how they work to make everyday life better.

"We have decided to open up IKEA to more collaboration with ingenious and passionate people around the world who share our vision of democratic design – creating great and affordable products" says Marcus Engman, Design Manager at IKEA Sweden. "We are curious to see what collaborations with designers from other industries could bring to home furnishing."

It was really cool to see where all the magic happens, meet some of the designers and newest collaborators behind their products and get a sneak peek of coming collections. And the bonus of experiencing Swedish culture!  I caught the train from Malmö to Älmhult (about an hour and a half ride) that took us through some of Sweden's most quaint countryside (with glimpses of graffiti near all the train stations). We have some fun stuff to show you from the trip! First off, a ten second glimpse on the train ride!

 IKEA's head office is like a campus, with many different buildings from a museum (which is also getting an upgrade to open in 2016), labs, creative studios, meeting places, auditoriums and even a hotel!

An adorable Swedish-style house along our walk to the IKEA's campus

The day kicked off in an area near their food labs, where we were introduced to their new veggie balls, chicken meatballs and flavoured sparkling waters which are all being introduced this year.

Fashion Meets Furniture
To start, Ikea announced their new collaboration with some of today's most exciting fashion designers.

Launching September 2016
Martin Bergstrom is using just black, white and shades of grey in a modern interpretation of India. "He's avant-garde, challenging and works across dance, art and fashion. He always creates something unexpected and innovative," says Marcus Engman

Launch March 2016
Katie Eary, a London-based menswear designer of "street wear" is designing a collection for IKEA based around "throwing a dinner party", launching in spring 2016.  Katie told us she designed this collection with men in mind, throwing a party. So fun!


Walter Van Beirendonck, one of fashion's most avant garde designers teamed up with IKEA to create a playful collection. "We wanted to collaborate with Walter because of the way he works with materials and graphic patterns, as well as the stories about life his fashion collections always tell," explains Engman.

Launch May 2016
One of Scandinavia's most well known glass and ceramic designers, Ingegerd Råman was invited by IKEA to create a limited edition collection, VIKTIGT (with IKEA designers Nike Karlsson and Wiebke Braasch).  "The VIKTIGT collection is all about craft," Ingegerd says. "It's a project between the craftsmen and the designer. It has lots of energy. And looking at the objects now - the things I did - I think it represents love for me." Watch our interview where she also talks about a book IKEA is making about her and also look at her amazing pieces where she travelled with IKEA's team to Vietnam last year to design. These are going to go fast!

Oh and look who we found sitting on that adorable chair!  Tommy Smythe was there filming for the Marilyn Dennis Show!

Stay tuned for Part 2!!!

Jan Halvarson

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I don't know if there's been a new ikea furnishing collection that did not trigger much attention and buzz and I'm sure initiatives like these will trigger even better and more fun to montage flat pack units and furnishing. The should not be tooo easy to assemble tho, since the ikea assemble service is there for a reason, but beside such minor arguments, for what your photos tell, the new collections are up to Ikea's home furnishing standard without the shadow of a doubt! I'm really peculiar if there will be any new flat pack rta units there!

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