IKEA PS 2012 is the new design collection from IKEA and it is also the 7th IKEA PS collection since the range first launched back in 1995. Taking inspiration from more than 60 years of IKEA design history, the designers were challenged to look at existing IKEA designs and bring them forward by updating and innovating forms, functions and materials. Of course, the designers also had to bear affordability and sustainability in mind.
There were 19 different designers involved who, between them, came up with a range of new products, including chairs, tables, lamps, bowls, textiles, pictures and more.
In this brief video below, Mats Nilsson, Creative Director, explains how thousands ideas were narrowed down to the 36 products that make up the range.
Designer Ehlén Johansson was responsible for designing three of the new products: candlestick, vase and chest of drawers. She used to be part of the Ikea in-house design team, but now she has her own company and she works for Ikea on a freelance basis. She has received the Excellent Swedish Design award and the Red Dot for high design quality for her work. According to Ehlén, design is all about getting the very best out of the conditions and constraints under which you have to work in each individual instance.
I love the chest of drawers that Ehlén designed for the new collection so I thought it might be interesting to get a bit more information from her about the project and where she found her inspiration.
How did you get involved with the IKEA PS 2012 collection?
EJ. I simply got the question from IKEA if I wanted to participate in PS 2012, and I said YES.
Can you tell us about the chest of drawers that you designed for the range?
EJ. Old IKEA catalogues are full of beautiful pine furniture and they made me want to design something modern using pine. The result is a piece of furniture which I think brings out the best in pine. The drawers are painted red inside and create an attractive contrast to the exterior with the visible wood grains that give the wood a natural pattern. IKEA PS 2012 chest of drawers is produced with fast-growing pine, which makes it possible for us to produce more material in less time and save sensitive forests at the same time.
The PS 2012 collection is inspired by 60 years of IKEA history. But where in particular did you get your inspiration?
EJ. For the chest of drawers, I started by looking at pine furniture in the bedroom. Some beds from the 70ties called “Adam” and “Eva” were the main inspiration. Pine has always been a popular material at IKEA. I wanted to make an updated design in pine.
For the candleholder, my own design of a tea light holder in porcelain from the PS 1998 collection was my inspiration. The look is very different but they are related in the way they both have a function to connect in different ways.
The stackable glass vase has a predecessor in an IKEA-vase called “Turid” from 1995 which I also designed. We also went to the factory to check all about production possibilities and in the end we had to use another factory and the design almost had to be changed due to a change of production technique.
What were the main elements that you identified as needing an update or improvement in order to make your products more suited to everyday life today?
EJ. I think good design often tends to be timeless, however, our needs for function changes with time and habits. Just to mention all electrical equipment we use in our homes today, which we did not even know of just some decades ago.
How long have you been working as a designer for IKEA and how did you first get involved?
EJ. I started working at IKEA 1984. The first contact was established by me calling and explaining my interest in working for IKEA when I had finished my design education.
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