Ikea launches "deliberately low key"
collection by Ilse Crawford


Stockholm 2015: furniture giant Ikea has collaborated with London designer Ilse Crawford to launch a range of cork and natural-fibre homeware products.

Ilse Crawford Sinnerlig collection for Ikea

Unveiled during an event at Crawford's Ett Hem hotel in Stockholm yesterday, the Sinnerlig collection heavily features natural materials and neutral colours that were chosen to fit into any home.

"It's supposed to work in a bathroom in Mumbai as well as a kitchen in Neasden, it has to fit into people's lives," Crawford told Dezeen.

Ilse Crawford Sinnerlig collection for Ikea

The first collaboration between Ikea and Studioilse contains a range of around 30 products – from larger furniture pieces such as cork-covered tables and a daybed down to hand-blown glass bottles.

"[Ikea] asked us to work in natural materials, which of course is very appealing to bring the physical quality to our range, which I think they would say themselves is very missing," said Crawford. "I think they know that their surfaces have become quite flat in the push for perfection."

Ilse Crawford Sinnerlig collection for Ikea

For all of the pieces, emphasis is put on material combinations rather than statement shapes.

"It is quite low key but we deliberately designed it like that," Crawford continued. "We see it as background, it's not trying to compete with these fantastic icons of design – it's a different thing. But we all need a number of lights that aren't supposed to be waving at you."

Ilse Crawford Sinnerlig collection for Ikea

Cork is the predominant material in the collection, used in thin layers to cover table tops and seats as well as thicker sections to form tops for jars and bases for lamps.

"[Cork] is very much a part of our range, because of its acoustic properties and it works great with glass," said Crawford, who sees this as an important repurposing for the material because "no one wants wine corks any more."

Ilse Crawford Sinnerlig collection for Ikea

A set of bamboo-lattice pendant lights concertina together to pack and ship more efficiently, a typical element in many Ikea products.

Ilse Crawford Sinnerlig collection for Ikea

Cushion upholstery in neutral colours is woven from a cotton blend that uses less water in its production.

Ilse Crawford Sinnerlig collection for Ikea

Dried seagrass is used for a variety of products including baskets, again shaped to fit into one another for tight packing. "Ikea doesn't ship air," Crawford said.

The collection also includes a variety of ceramic pieces, which are treated to look slightly weathered.

Ilse Crawford Sinnerlig collection for Ikea

Crawford's team began collaborating with Ikea after the appointment of Marcus Engman as the Swedish company's head of design, who is determined to raise the "design quality" of the brand.

"About three years ago they approached us to develop a collection with them, and our first thought was 'yikes!'," Crawford told Dezeen. "It's not a special collection, it's very much a part of Ikea's main line."

Ilse Crawford Sinnerlig collection for Ikea

Working closely with the designers and researchers at Ikea, Studioilse was able to tap in to the vast resources available from such a large brand but still keep a focus on the materials and details of the products.

"What's very interesting is the idea of working with a company that has a very smart system, a scientific system," Crawford said. "It's been a fascinating project to create design for the many, at the level you can achieve with working for smaller companies."

Unveiled during Stockholm Design Week, the range will be available at Ikea stores and online from August.

  • Sascha

    Well done Ilse, time to go to Ikea again! When does it go on sale?

  • quasi-critic

    Ikea + junk food… everything that is wrong with the world.

  • alex

    From Ikea to Airbnb, she’s a sellout.

  • Mr Walnut Grey

    That’ll be a coup for Ikea then. Though I’d guess the majority of their customers won’t have a clue who she is.

  • Cliff

    I wish I could see the furniture. It actually looks really nice. Could you remove it all from the jungle and then photograph it?

  • Steve

    While I like the collection, they are a bit behind. All the other companies have moved on and stopped using Cork. It was great 5 years ago but it is a bit passed its prime. Maybe we will see copper and marble in Ikea’s catalogue in about 4 years time.

    • alexis

      We need to stop thinking about materials in terms of fashion – since when is cork past it’s prime? It’s been used for centuries in various forms.

      Thinking about real materials – especially generally sustainable ones – as beholden to the five-year cyclical whims of the market is narrow-minded at best.

      And on another note to those saying she “sold out” – I dislike these mega-companies as much as the next person. However, they are a reality and furnish so many people’s lives. Especially those living on a budget.

      It doesn’t matter that they “may not even know who she is”. I think the fact that ‘normal’ people can have access to reasonably priced furnishings made from natural materials and textures is a good thing, and definitely a step in the right direction.

      • kikimou

        You said it perfectly. I don’t need to add anything.

    • Marysea

      I don’t think being up to the minute is the point if you had actually read why they used cork.

  • Douglas Montgomery

    So nice, especially like the bamboo shades. I’d like to know how providing the everyday punter with decent furniture is ‘selling out’.

    The majority of folk aren’t design literate. Whenever I tell friends what a chair from Vitra or Cassina costs – even the modest ones – they nearly choke and are incredulous that people pay it.

  • Elliot

    Always loved what Ikea produces, but this is especially corking stuff!

  • James

    How can you design the main exhibition at Stockholm Furniture Fair then bring out a range for Ikea?, She is a sellout and it’s damaging to all the other brands she designs for. I won’t be buying her products from now on.

    • Bee

      Yay, more for everyone else! I’m a long-time fan of Ilse… and a longtime consumer of IKEA. I welcome the collaboration as it allows me to bring an aesthetic I love into my home (and one of the vision of a designer I greatly admire) at a very accessible price point.

  • Reem

    This is a really smart addition to Ikea’s line of products. It is a creative ‘low key’ collection.

  • Kaiser

    Pretty much the same thing that H&M does. Just that it will have less impact than Ikea thinks and be hurting to the designers.

    “I can get non-limited stuff from designer X at Ikea, why should I buy it for ten times the price at Brand Y?”

  • remade in Britain

    Much of this stuff can be adapted to any type of dwelling. Buy it in and up-cycle. Cheap and cheerful.

  • Сергей Демаков

    Да, коллекции присуща доля элегантности.

    В то же время сама идея и коплощение ее – банальны: оттенки бежевого цвета, переход от черного к белому, скорее белесому.

    Многие ппредметы малофункциональны. Сосуды с пробковыми крышками даже в рекламных роликах используются как вазы для сухих веток (где же крышка?). Кувшин мне напоминает электрический чайник или утюг.

    Ильзе утверждает: Das Leben ist nicht perfekt, die Natur ist nicht perfekt und wir sind es auch nicht. Natürliche Materialien sind auf ursprüngliche Weise
    unvollkommen und diese Unregelmäßigkeiten im Naturzustand dürfen sich gerne enthüllen.” Однако, где же тут “натуральные материалы: стекло, каменная масса с силиконом?