never ending design story
thursday night a vernissage to new ikea’s ps collection took place at the gallery rose in hamburg. i went to the vernissage for styl.in rooms, the furniture, lifestyle, and living e-zine from cologne. you can see my german report at their website (soon). 71 pieces were drafted by 20 international designers of ikea, which, according to ikea‘s press release “take a look over the rim and leave a usual thinking of product development and manufacturing behind.“
after the preview site and the interactive movie of ikea ps 2009 popped up in the i internet and caused a stir, i went to this vernissage with high expectations. partly, these high expectations were furfilled but i also got disappointed by ikea. especially in terms of sustainability, i expected a little more from ikea.
in its press material ikea presents itself very sober and “honest” as “an unperfect company”:
“we are an imperfect company. we feel we can achieve even lower prices and even better quality, while still maintaining our substainability targets. we still haven’t reached everybod everywhere, who needs a better life at home.“
ikea set up some high goals, to provide a nice home to all people. ikea will never reach all people but their standard collection is a good way to offer something to the average customer, espacially in that price range. but the ikea ps design collection is something completely different. ikea presents it to its customers as a collection, which combines nice design and very low prices with economical use of resources. ikea has not been particularly well known for their responsibility towards people and the environment. that is what they want to change with this collection. i think primarily with the selection of natural and recyclable materials such as wood, paper, bamboo, raffia and seagrass, they have succeeded this goal. the optics of these products should reflect the nearness to nature, in order to sharpen the customers sense for a responsible use of resources.
the product “ikea ps brus” is a good example: the coffee table is made of painted plywood and reminds of a solid wooden bench. a piece of wood, like it would occur in natural state . for the sides of the table they used gross leftovers from the production and by doing this they were able to keep a piece of naturality.
on the other hand I think ikea did not realized the second aspect of sustainability very well. sustainability in the sense of a permanently usable and repeatedly seen as a beautiful piece of furniture. ikea’s ps collection is a bit too extravagant. in my sense a sustained piece of furniture has a reduced clean design, and convinces as high-processed. sometimes they paid attention to sustainability with their material selection, as with the bench “august“, where the combined pine and white leather, or especially the mouth-blown glass products “bunke” and “källa” convinced me.
on the other side a dining table as “kvarner” takes getting used to with a hole in the middle.
or the idea of the stool “hällar”, which is shown as a mountain on a 3D map, is a good idea, but the implementation in the various shades of blue could be something special, and the customer could get “tired” to see it after a while. the sustainability in the sense of environmental awareness was skillfully realised with materials such as banana fibers and seagrass but the spirit of eternal “fit” was unfortunately not realised.
the most exciting product is the chair “selma”. i liked the idea very well, to print the upholstery with different motifs on every pillow and make them able to be turned over as if the “reading chair” is a book. the clear design of the chair itself si nice. but the price of € 299 would buy me off. i think the chair is not good enough processed for this price. the high quality leather is no longer noticeable by the appearance of the colorfully printed pillows and the design of the chair is not very unusual. i like the design, but in my opinion it’s not worth € 299.
also the design of the lamp “svara” is a bit strange. the adjustable design is again a very good idea, but through the individual bubble-shaped elements the look is somewhat restless and becomes unesthetic.
my personal highlight of this collection is the quilt “sticka“. it reminds me strongly of a blanket that was brought to me as a souvenir from india. the embroidery, which is covers the entire quilt is simple but very decorative.
another product which needs to be pointed out is the bed “veranda”. the low construction, and the colors (grey/black) are very successful. the price of € 599 may surprise, but it’s not too high including the slatted frame and an innerspring mattress. the bench “rask” is a solid product, which is was intelligently refined by the slanted legs.
also the drawer cabinet “sinka” is particularly well done. you can rarely find a cabinet with 16 drawers of different sizes. thus the cabinet is playful but still very functional.
as chair lover i could not become friends with the products “spika” or “slingra“. 3 years ago ikea produced a much more innovative and more beautiful chair, the “ellan“, which was a product of the ikea ps collection back then.
in summary, i can say that ikea has developed some interesting and unusual products with its ps designer collection. their goal to produce sustainable furniture and accessories has been partially accomplished. but in order to achieve particularly high-quality products that sustain and satisfy as a timeless piece of furniture maybe “partly self construction” furnitures are not the right choice.