Furniture designers don’t often get the chance to correct their mistakes: Their products are on the market for a couple of years and, with few awesomely popular exceptions, eventually get dropped from their manufacturers’ catalogs to make room for new stock. But Ikea, the go-to big box for affordable Scandinavian design, has given its designers the opportunity to revise their work (as well as that of their predecessors), adding increased functionality and sustainability. “[We] challenged our designers to bring their designs forward with innovative products that belong in the future,” Janice Simonsen, Ikea’s design spokesperson, says.
The results make their debut at the Milan Furniture Fair as part of the company’s PS collection, a curated series released every three years. This time around, the 60-year-old company decided to revisit its past as a way of creating pieces that address today’s needs for more flexible solutions to small spaces: chairs stack, furniture can transition from indoors to outdoors, a children’s table contains built-in storage, and various products have been upgraded using green materials such as bamboo.
Whereas the brother-and-sister design team Knut and Marianne Hagberg reimagined one of their own designs from the ’80s, turning a children’s foam indoor chair into a plastic, stackable armchair that can also be used outdoors, Nike Karlsson updated a ’70s metal tube sofa with pocket springs, which not only add comfort but are easy to recycle.
And while the inspiration for these and the rest of the 46-pieces are from the past, they should not be mistaken as being from another era. “In the design world, it’s sometimes fashionable to talk about vintage and release new products in old styles,” Peter Klinkert, Ikea’s PS project leader, says in the press announcement. “We always said that we don’t want to relaunch old things. It’s not IKEA PS. It’s not new and developing IKEA onward.” The PS Collection will roll into stores in August.