20 Jun “Invisible design”: a new stretch for IKEA
Liana Gregorians comments on a surprising, inspired new stretch from the Swedish megabrand.
For my money, IKEA is one of the most innovative brands around today. Once known mostly for being the sole outfitter of first apartments around the world, IKEA has in recent years taken huge leaps to pioneer some of the biggest trends in technology, culture and design. From embracing an ambitious sustainability agenda (before it was cool) to mainstreaming wireless charging to funding an open-source innovation lab, IKEA has been truly living and leading in its vision of democratic design that creates a better everyday life for the many.
The brand’s latest stretch yet again speaks to this vision, and may just be the boldest yet: from physical design to the invisible. Having quietly yet powerfully built up its creative muscle (not least by accidentally becoming a fashion icon), IKEA is now entering the rarified world of fragrance – a space of pure desire and ephemeral design – collaborating on a new scent with ultra-minimal, uber-cool Swedish house Byredo in a new sensory exploration of the home.
Ben Gorham, founder of Byredo, commented, “I feel people just don’t reflect enough when it comes to scent, but smell is a very relevant part of our life and also the home. To collaborate on this idea of ‘invisible design’ with IKEA, getting people to think about smell is very exciting.” For IKEA, it’s yet another fascinating stretch, and for me a great example of how a strong vision and identity can take you far beyond the traditional limits of category. While I’ll always be fond of my first Billy bookcase, today IKEA is so much more: curious, experimental, and increasingly a credible player in redefining how we experience and value the spaces that mean the most to us.