IKEA has revealed some of the products set to feature in its long-awaited furniture collection by fashion designer Virgil Abloh, including slogan-covered rugs and a cabinet for storing and displaying sneakers.
Abloh, founder of fashion brand Off-White, and Henrik Most, a creative leader at IKEA Range and Supply, unveiled a selection of prototypes in a live-stream broadcast from New York yesterday at 5.30pm EST (9.30pm GMT).
The range, which was revealed to be named Markerad, is aimed at students and young people moving into their first homes.
Comprising a mix of furniture and home accessories, many of the designs in the collection appear similar to traditional IKEA pieces. But Abloh has added subtle adjustments that he likens to pop art – a movement that thrives on irony.
"The essence of the project is not just us designing something cool for cool's sake," said Abloh. "I'm trying to invest an artistic quality in things that you already have."
Among these "elevated" designs is Door Stop Interruption. The product is a simple wooden chair, but it comes with a bright red doorstop that slot onto one of its legs.
"When we were stuck in the beginning looking through what we wanted to do, I had this image of an airplane wheel and two doorstops to stop it," said the designer.
"I just posed the question that the person who designed the wheel must think he is God's gift to earth," he added. "But the person who designed the doorstop is equally impactful because it can stop a plane in its tracks."
Also in the collection is a glass cabinet with a wooden frame, to offer millennials a place to store and showcase sneakers. Abloh said he came up with the idea for the credenza after forgetting about items that he owns. He hopes it will help to reduce unnecessary purchases.
"This is a means of curating your junk drawer or curating the most coveted things," he said. "At least they're stored and they become an art object. I think that will have an impact on our consumption level."
The cabinet has red handles that are shaped like nails, as a reference to the tools needed to assemble IKEA's flat-pack furniture.
The collection will also include Abloh's take on the IKEA Frakta bag
A hotly anticipated item in the series is Abloh's take on the Frakta bag. Although not featured in the showcase, it could be spotted in the background. It has also appeared on social media, shown in beige instead of blue, emblazoned with the text "SCULPTURE".
Quotation slogans, which are a signature of Abloh's previous work, also adorn two rug designs revealed. The word "BLUE", made from letters that are hand-shaved in blue textile, decorates a bold red design. The other is a decorative Persian rug covered with the text "KEEP OFF".
The collection will also include rugs emblazoned with slogans
IKEA announced last year that it was working on a collection with Abloh, who is also a trained architect and a long time collaborator of rapper Kanye West.
Abloh said the prototypes mark a "milestone" in the progress of the collection. But he will continue to test the products with millennials before designs are finalised.
"The process will include us taking this chair to a dorm room, a person's first home to see what can be effective," he said. "I have another few months until I have to stop and put the pencils down."
IKEA is expected to reveal more details about Markerad during annual Democratic Design Day event, which takes place in Sweden on 7 June 2018. The collection set to launch in 2019.
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