IKEA’s Newest Collaboration Is Perfectly Imperfect

published Mar 21, 2018
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(Image credit: Courtesy of IKEA)

IKEA is one of the world’s largest makers of furniture, so we forgive you if it’s not the first place you think of for that handmade vibe. But for their latest limited edition collection, the Swedish retailer collaborated with Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek to bring that imperfect human feel to mass produced pieces.

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(Image credit: Courtesy of IKEA)

“The INDUSTRIELL collection is our way of turning mass-produced uniformity on its head, by building into a product, a beautifully imperfect, human quality without raising its price. This ambition had us completely rethink how we can make furniture,” the company said in a press packet about the new line.

(Image credit: Courtesy of IKEA)

“When I graduated from design school there was a great drive for perfection in design,” Piet said. “If you made a thousand copies they had to be identical, and there was nothing in the design that hadn’t been put in there by the designer. I wanted to strip that idea away and let the material take the lead.”

(Image credit: Courtesy of IKEA)

Piet, who is known for working with salvaged materials, was excited to collaborate with the retailer. “It turned out that IKEA and I had thought about the same thing for ages,” he said. “To make objects feel more human and more personal while still having an industrial production process.”

(Image credit: Courtesy of IKEA)

Each piece required rethinking the way it’s normally made on a large scale. Textiles feature hand drawn patterns instead of straight embroidery; the vase was cast in several handmade molds, so that final shapes vary slightly; glassware and tables had their symmetrical designs tweaked to allow for differences; pine chairs show off knots and other “imperfections.”

(Image credit: Courtesy of IKEA)

“I think INDUSTRIELL is beautiful because you can feel a personality behind the products,” IKEA creative leader Karin Gustavsson says. “They’re made to mix in with what you have and last for a long time, so hopefully they become part of your personality too.”

INDUSTRIELL will be available in IKEA stores starting in April.