What can a bowl or a cushion tell us about a country’s culture? Quite a lot according to IKEA. Their latest collection, called SÄLLSKAP, aims to do just that. It is a poignant walk through Swedish traditions and explores the many milestones of the country’s history.
Unlike some of IKEA’s other collections, which took inspiration from parts of the world such as Brazil and India, this one is firmly set in Scandinavia.
This limited edition release however, uses pottery, homeware, textiles and furniture to give us a glimpse into the arts-and-crafts movement of the late 19th and early 20th century.
“We think it is important to know where we come from and that our heritage is always a part of our future, and there is so much that feels contemporary in our history,” says Mette Nissen, the creative leader for the collection.
“The interesting thing is that we have made a traditional collection in a more modern way — the way we live today and our values.”
SÄLLSKAP means ‘being together’ in Swedish, and this was a vital part of the inspiration for the collection. The pieces in the range aim to make dining easier in order to bring people together.
This was achieved by the designers focusing on space-saving, multifunctional items, which used traditional Swedish patterns and took inspiration from the natural world.
Expect to see cushions featuring geraniums and lucky four leaf clovers, lamps with delicate pink petals, solid-wood furniture that doubles up as storage, and decorative but functional pottery.
All of the pieces in the collection have been designed to work in any room, from a living space to a child’s bedroom, and are especially useful where space is at a premium. So think bedsits, where storage might be a problem, or people living in flats that have to cope with a kitchen/dining/living room area.
Mette says that the collection grew from a wish to make life itself simpler, more artistic and more generous.
Inspiration for the collection came mainly from 19th century Swedish designer Karin Bergöö Larsson, alongside her husband, Swedish painter Carl Larsson. She broke with traditions at that time and created a much more relaxed style that was airy and elegant.
Using this as their inspiration, the team designing the SÄLLSKAP collection sought to update and modernise their pieces by using new techniques to create contemporary items.
As with most of IKEA’s collections, patterned textiles play a huge role in the range. For these amazing designs we have to thank Maria Vinka, who hand painted every single one.
Sweden has a long history of print making and Vinka takes this history and revamps it, using cute poodles, geraniums and splashes in vibrant colours.
These splashes were a common sight in Swedish houses in the 18th century, as it was seen on wallpaper. You can see it again and again in this collection as designer Mikael Warnhammar also uses it on several of his designs, including a bench, communal dining table and chairs.
The IKEA SÄLLSKAP collection is available now, but only for a limited time of six weeks.