words Anna Bates
Ikea has invited Swedish quartet Front and Dutch design star Hella Jongerius to design pieces for its new PS collection, finally allowing fans of the designers to own a piece of their furniture at an affordable price.
Front designed two bendable lamps made of stacked wooden beads, and a lounge chair with four seat cover options that you can change by leafing through like a book. Among the fabrics (all from Sweden’s textile history) is a print of a 2,300-year-old bloodstained overcoat, and a textile from the 1969 Ikea catalogue – evidence that the designers were able to retain their conceptual approach, despite some restrictions.
“We wanted people who bought the lamp to weave the wooden beads on themselves so they were in a unique order, because what’s special about Ikea is that you make it yourself,” says Front member Charlotte von der Lancken. But bureaucracy wouldn’t allow this. “If they were all different, each product would need a different serial number,” she says, “and you can’t have the customer going near the cord.” The Svarva floor and table lamps also had to go through strict “leaning tests” to ensure they don’t topple over. Originally Front wanted the entire length of the lamp stands to be bendable, but they failed the test. Instead, the beads on the bottom half of the lamps are held in place by a wire rod, leaving only a flexible top half.
The PS Collection of 46 products by 20 designers also includes Francis Cayouette’s crates that can be stacked to form shelving, and wall hangings by Hella Jongerius, made in collaboration with a Unicef program, which helps women in India set up sewing businesses. The wall hangings combine mass production techniques with hand-made detailing, and depict animals from Swedish fairy tales.
top image Ikea PS Svarva table lamp by Front
image Ikea PS Svarva floor lamp by Front
image Ikea PS Selma easy chair by Front
image Ikea PS Bintje by Francis Cayouette
image Ikea PS Gullspira by Hella Jongerius
image Ikea PS Mikkel by Hella Jongerius
image Ikea PS August Bed by Nike Karlsson
image Ikea PS Nybygge by Francis Cayouette
image Ikea PS Pendel by Carl Hagerling