Every once in awhile, Ikea launches PS Collection, a limited edition design which is based on a range of experimental products that aren’t intended to supplant its permanent design offerings, but instead to add a jolt of energy into its stores.
In 2012,the brand remixed designs from its storied past. In 2014, it invited a roster of design world favorites like Matali Crasset and Rich Brilliant Willing to create pieces with city-living renters in mind.
For 2017, the designers of this company chose the “Young Urban Life,” theme which relies on delving into new material research, fabrication techniques, and product types.
Again, the PS Collections are never brand’s bread and butter—the goal isn’t to turn a profit. Rather, they represent forays and experiments that keep the furniture giant’s product line from feeling stodgy. For example, a PS 17 side chair uses 3-D knitting—a technique developed by the footwear industry that’s since been co-opted by the high-end furniture industry.
Looking for ways to use materials more efficiently—the brand is notorious for its bad logging practices to quench its thirst for wood—the company also worked with one of its glass factories to remelt reject products that would ordinarily be thrown away, reusing the material for a handsome vase. Some of the more idiosyncratic products include a seating piece that looks like the love child of a Papasan chair and a rocker, a sofa that looks like it’s composed of pillows, and a throw blanket that can be worn like a jacket.
For the practicality-minded set, there are still a few space-efficient pieces, like stackable storage bins, collapsible side tables that fold away when not in use, and arm chairs that join to become a love seat.
“Ikea is for the many, but the many are different,” says Henrik Most Nielsen, a creative lead at the company who directed the 2014 PS Collection. (The creative lead behind the 2017 collection is James Futcher.) “We’re trying to attract customers who think Ikea isn’t at the front of design. We’re moving from basics to embodying a strong personality and style.”
So if the Swedish retailer has its way, you might walk into one of the stores for a basic bookshelf and exit with a vibrantly festooned rug/jacket as well.
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