Pelle, Mikkel and Gullspira
by Hella Jongerius for IKEA



Dutch designer Hella Jongerius has designed three textile wall hangings featuring animals for Swedish furniture company IKEA.


Called Pelle, Mikkel and Gullspira, the textiles are made by women in India as part of a project by Unicef and IKEA. They feature a goat, a fox and a rabbit; animals found in Swedish fairy tales.


The wall hangings are made from a mix of woollen felt, printed cotton and a polyester band with holes in to attach it to the wall. The different parts are stitched together by hand.


Here's some more information from Hella Jongerius:


Hella Jongerius created wall hangings for the IKEA-Unicef program, which helps women in India to start up small sewing businesses and enables their children to go to school. Sources of inspiration are the animals that feature in Swedish fairy tales. In the production process small scale craft production in India is combined with large scale industrial production by Ikea, while the images refer to the local roots of this global company. 
The result consists of textiles of which not only Ikea and Jongerius will benefit, but also the craftswomen who left their traces in the making.


The textiles are made with a variety of materials and techniques, which gives the end result a rich look. The used materials are a mix of woollen felt, a woven woollen dobby and printed cotton. A bright coloured polyester band with buttonholes at the top of the work gives a sturdy accent and serves to attach it to the wall. The parts are stitched together and embroidered by hand. The combination of colours, print and embroidered accents give each of the three designs an individual character.  Each wall hanging is made from beginning to end by one woman. On the back of the work is a label with the names of IKEA, Hella Jongerius and the embroidered name of the woman who made it.


Why a goat, a fox and a rabbit?  
“They refer in an abstract way to animals featured in Swedish fairy tales. Animals have already been featured in much of my earlier work; they trigger first and foremost the imagination. An animal has the power to be familiar; expressing moods comparable to the moods of human beings, and at the same time an animal remains puzzling.”


Posted on Friday February 6th 2009 at 11:10 am by Rachael Sykes. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • bas

    im so excited about this!! love to see how it looks in reality, shame you would have to go to IKEA for it though….

  • Theo


  • Trumbo

    I wish Ikea continues promoting similar procedures in the future.

  • grok forager

    All I see is IKEA finding a novel way to exploit disadvantaged people via cheap labour. Trinkets and profit without the guilt….

  • modular

    Love these

  • step_out_of_a_triangle_and_into_striped_light

    apparently this “helps women in India to start up small sewing businesses”
    Seems like exploitation in disguise to me. What are the figures here? Do these women get paid a proper wage?
    Also how humiliating that a country that has the ability to produce such fine textiles must resort to producing this rubbish. Shame on ikea for this. Also Hella needs some quality control up in here studio. Its a wall hanging and its cheap and ugly!

  • India has the highest poverty index in the world. What is a proper wage there? I’d bet all I have that they are being paid better than their neighbors and are happy to have jobs.

    Good for Ikea for employing the poor and helping them generate wealth. Globalization is not a zero-sum game.

  • Trumbo

    hum, this makes me rethink of my first impression.

  • Patrick

    What kind of a reflex is this?! You see a picture of Indian women working for a Western company and start shouting “Exploitation!”. Based on two pictures on a design blog? Or did I oversee the detailed article about the working conditions there and the schedule about the worker’s pay? Please base your comments on whatyou see, not on your prejudice!

  • jed_

    well said patrick, it’s a strange kind of quasi racist kneejerk reaction that immediately assumes expolotation where there is none. did anyone read the actual text:

    “Hella Jongerius created wall hangings for the IKEA-Unicef program, which helps women in India to start up small sewing businesses and enables their children to go to school.”

    it’s a strange kind of expoliation that would work alongside UNICEF (the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund).

  • Just Do It

    Don’t they have animals in India ?
    I do not really get the link between Swedish tales and Indian skills…
    I find it rather strange to make a project to help Indian women without featuring any cultural consideration for them.
    The animal thing sounds really random and seems to be poping up from nowhere.

    I find it a pity as I usually like Hella’s work.

  • sunanda

    I am a textile design student from India, would like to make say something…. these women are definately not exploited as if they werent doing this, they are getting even lesser returns then what Hella would have helped them with. Designers from different country bring in a new perspective of looking at their traditional craft.
    Well i really dont about the concept used here, but my concern is ….how long will this kind of marketing for the skills of these women will sustain itself ? Is it only a one time affair?

  • Patrick

    It does not seem to me that the concept behind the works is dominated by the location that the products are made (India). The animals displayed come from the cultural environment of the artist. But that leaves open the question why the pictures with the Indian workers are published in the first place…

  • playcheckers

    why not just cut hella jongerius out of the equation?

  • The last hanging is just great, it kind of looks like the one I had in my room when I was little.

  • szczepX

    See today on eBay:

    Mayby somebody wants to buy?