This past summer, IKEA announced several internal efforts to pair IKEA designers with designers around the world. They unveiled exciting projects such as ÖVERALLT, a collection of furniture and home accessories designed in collaboration with designers from Africa, as well as Art Event, a limited-run rug collection designed by Virgil Abloh, Brooklyn-based studio CHIAOZZA, and artist Misaki Kawai, and more.
"Keep Off" Rug by Virgil Abloh
After months of waiting, both collections will finally drop into IKEA stores at the beginning of May. The Art Event collection is the fifth in an ongoing effort to create collections of pieces made by renowned designers, who are invited to design elegant art objects that IKEA will produce and sell in stores. "When I was growing up, art was something you went to a museum to experience and it could be quite an investment if you wanted to buy an art object," noted Henrik Most, Creative Leader of the Art Event collection, "we're trying to make art affordable and accessible to everyone so it becomes a natural part of a home."
Virgil Abloh's much anticipated rug is a play on the idea that furniture can sometimes be viewed as a relic as opposed something people actually use. "It was very clear from the beginning what he wanted to do", said Most, "The idea with this is for Virgil to address the idea that, why must we keep off a rug? Why can't we use it, enjoy it, sit on it, walk on it, have it as a natural part in our home?"
Rug by Seulgi Lee
Rug by Misaki Kawai
The collection stands out particularly for its variety of styles: Kawai's rug carries a playful, almost comic-book like style, Seulgi Lee's rug is minimal and balanced, while CHIAOZZA's is a vibrant abstraction of the blooming desert landscape that could easily be styled in a colorful Brooklyn home. "We wanted to work with artists with very different point of views," Most added, so that there was something available in the collection for everyone.
Brooklyn-based CHIAOZZA's rug, inspired by desert plants
The ÖVERALLT collection was also announced in the middle of 2018 at Design Indaba in Capetown, South Africa, and was a truly collaborative effort between in-house IKEA designers and 10 different designers originally hailing from Africa. Participating designer Bibi Seck said of the process, "We don't know who designed this or who designed that; we did this collection as a group of designers because we were brainstorming, even with designers from IKEA. It was a very fun exploration."
One theme of importance to the designers was a sensitivity to waste material, as demonstrated in the ÖVERALLT tote designed by Hend Riad and Mariam Hazem of Reform Studio. The bag utilizes waste material made during the production of potato chip bags. The stringy aluminum material is melded together, wound around a bobbin and then woven into totes, which also means each bag created is unique.
Another central idea is community, conveyed in product offerings like the dining seating with a concave shape that subtly encourages friends to sit together and talk, or the cast iron pots designed to house communal dishes.
If you've been eager to get your hands on anything in either collection, you only have a little time left to wait—the ÖVERALLT collection will be available in US IKEA locations starting May 1st, and Art Events rugs starting May 12th. All pieces will only available in-store, so you'll have to start planning your visit now.