Why design junkies have already turned their hungry eyes to IKEA


In terms of high-end design, Ikea has been crammed into a self-assembly blond wooden dovecote. Offering affordable and unpretentious home products, Ingvar Kamprad’s original idea, conceived in 1942, is often dismissed by aesthetic aristocrats as featuring only cheap particleboard pop furniture.

However, Ikea has always had a premium division as well as a close and nurturing relationship with bold and innovative designers across Europe. The Ikea Museum in Älmhult, Sweden, has just launched the new Ikea Digital Museum, an online platform featuring 100 editorial articles, short films and interviews with people involved in Ikea’s journey. It’s a perfect way to befriend their most famous creations and iconic releases. ikeamuseum.com

Ikea guide shelf by Niels Gammelgaard from 1985. From 800 depending on condition.

Design junkies have already turned hungry eyes to the winners of the Viking-style hangar catwalks. I spotted a 1950s Gillils Lundgren Tema storage unit at Kirk Modern, arguably our best vintage furniture house here in Ireland, kirkmodern.com. Some of Ikea’s most famous pieces until the 1990s politely materialized in small but significant numbers in galleries, antique fairs and in leading auction houses across the world. Their sales description is sometimes stripped of the dreaded four-letter acronym.

With prices ranging from hundreds on Etsy to thousands high on 1stDibs and Panomo, Barnabys and The SalesRoom, there is plenty for everyone to have yesterday’s wonderful, everyday. If you want to include vintage Ikea and pay more than its original price of $ 5.99, focus on the quality of the materials and trace the designer if possible (sometimes difficult to establish, even with Ikea).

The '90s Skye from Tord Bjorklund is an angular increase in leather with a built-in pillow.  Price according to condition and supplier.
The ’90s Skye from Tord Bjorklund is an angular increase in leather with a built-in pillow. Price according to condition and supplier.

Look for honest fabrics in wool and cotton, leather, chrome, steel, lacquered wood and a good standard of solid and stable construction. The original Euro-trash style is a great introduction – the piece should be about its time, with young, Earth-friendly Scandinavian antics as standard.

A modern design classic as relevant today as it was released in 1985, the Guide shelf by Niels Gammelgaard is airy, architectural and combines the Ikea recipe of mundane and better ingredients, in this case – steel, chipboard. , fiberboard, ABS plastic, acrylic paint and even paper. Two ladder supports on the floor, with plank shelves slid into four positions; it has a timeless, soft industrial chic that would suit a mid-century slanted cushion. Price from 800 € in perfect condition (beware of any cracks in the shelving). Gammelgaard did a lot of work in the 1980s, and her Lip Chair is the perfect ruby-hued pout to kiss in a kitsch space. Prices from € 300 – try Etsy for this and their Jarpen wire loungers.

Candle Holder by Ehlen Johansson 1987. Check Etsy for the little ones to collect Ikea.
Candle Holder by Ehlen Johansson 1987. Check Etsy for the little ones to collect Ikea.

The luxury glove of a lounge chair with a clear Le Corbusier profile, the Skye by Tord Bjorklund is a slight, angular uplift of leather with an integrated pillow. On a rather banal steel tube frame, it is at the high end of the Ikea collection and for good reason. Produced from the 1980s to 1989, it features a stunning window-attached profile and comes in a range of soft, supple cowhide colors. Bjorklund’s general pieces rarely appear for less than four figures, so his Ikea production in what Americans call the “Memphis style” is worth a look. Prices start at $ 600 from online sellers, but shop around, as good examples with slightly dented cushions are gaining ground, becoming scarce, and rising in price.

18th century style blue and white porcelain from the Nejlika collection.  Boxes from 250, individual cups and saucers from 30.
18th century style blue and white porcelain from the Nejlika collection. Boxes from 250, individual cups and saucers from 30.

If your budget allows, the Impala collection by Gillils Lundgren with chrome curves and bold velvet seats from the 70s can sometimes be found at auction. These chairs are the first sequel cited by collectors and they look like all the money, reminiscent of the rock star and penthouse vibe of Hans Hopfner’s Mah Jong cushions for Roche Bobois (without the terrifying cost). The look is a bit of a commitment to the decadence of the late 1970s – but not to be missed at a 20th century general design auction. From 500 € to 2000 € the armchair in good condition depending on the source.

A newer and much loved Swedish (much of the hysteria around vintage Ikea centers around seating), Carl Ojerstam’s Storvik, a rattan-weaving puddle, was offered from 2001-2005. achieved cult status because it was delivered in limited numbers and is easily pierced. Its biomorphic shape reminiscent of Henry Moore’s sculpture is on trend for 2022, so expect a feverish keyboard safari to find one. € 1,000 – € 1,500 in perfect order from multiple vintage suppliers online.

Think of a postmodern steel doodle in male and female form and we’ve got one of the happiest and most ridiculous pieces of (oddly useful) 1980s Ikea bargains. Playing the role of valets of clothes, Ehlén-Johansson’s sculptural figures in white or black steel are panty-clad dandies that perfectly reflect the outrageous allure and avant-garde confidence of 1988 when they were sold by the thousands. . Perfect for their original intention as a coat rack, used as a towel rack, or as a coat rack in a comic book room, grab these two if you find them strutting around half-naked on Etsy. From € 200 each. You might be lucky enough to find the two models for € 300 as a bundle. Johansson had fertile yarn production in table pieces, including arty Tradig candle holders and fruit bowls with a cherry red finish. The fruit bowl is often recycled into a pendant. Dating back to the 1990s, identified coins can fetch up to $ 75, but keep an eye out for charity shops and mixed boxes at auction.

Ikea has scoured history for inspiration and tackled the Gustavian lookbook for 18th century elegance. Vintage and antique blue and white ceramics have always been popular with collectors, and Ikea’s Nejlika items combined the everyday charm of Dutch Delft with the beauty of Oriental Export items in a range of delicate painted porcelain. Look for 1990’s boxed tableware and tea sets, handcrafted in China for Ikea. Price from € 30 for a cup and saucer with surviving fabric boxes from € 250.

When buying new, I am drawn to Entusiasm’s nostalgic cobalt blue and white patterns and reliefs, starting at € 9 for 4 bowls. When you sell your coins, make sure you don’t give them away. Beginning in 1992, the 1992 PS series (short for Post Scriptum) identifies articles as limited editions produced in relatively small numbers.

Small, my money is on Osvaldo Borsani’s eye-catching Sputnik coat rack. Bravely atomic, illustrative, its sea creature form can take three or four layers. Available in black, white or multicolored. It’s often described as 1970s, but appears to be a 90s piece. Either way, it’s pretty retro for fans of the 1950s and priced between $ 50 and $ 250 depending on the vendor.

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