To mark this milestone, the iconic brand launched the IKEA Then & Now exhibit at the Design Exchange, in Toronto this week. We recently sat down with Marcus Engman, head of design, to talk about his role at IKEA and his vision for the future.
Sarah Gunn: What changes have you implemented as head of design?
Marcus Engman: I like IKEA to be a curiosity-driven company, which is why we started short-term collections and collaborations. I don’t choose people to work with first—I choose topics. When we find a topic that we want to investigate, or are curious about, we go and seek out the best people to work with.
SG: Are there any upcoming collaborations you can tell us about?
ME: We don’t just work with product designers and fashion designers. Now we’ve started collaborations with three different universities around the world. It’s a little bit of a different approach that I want to try out.
SG: Do you have a favourite IKEA product?
ME: We’re redoing the Klippan sofa every year with different collections because we think it’s such an iconic piece. It has an important history for me because my father designed it. It was the first sofa designed for families with kids. We had one at home and he forced us to play on it to see if it worked.
SG: Would you consider re-launching any vintage IKEA pieces?
ME: Yes, you’re going to be the first one that hears this! We had a “golden era” of design at IKEA in the ‘80s. We’re researching products that we had in the range (and products that never made it) for a possible collection.
We're crossing our fingers that this Jarpen wire chair makes a comeback!
The IKEA Then & Now exhibit runs until October 30th at the Design Exchange. From the 1970s to today, take a stroll through their evolution of design, and relive your youth by diving into the ball pit!