A New Exhibit Showcases IKEA’s Design Evolution With 70 Years of Catalogs

published Sep 12, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: IKEA Museum

IKEA Museum, a museum located in Älmhult, Sweden that presents the history of the iconic Swedish furniture brand, has launched an exhibit that takes design revelers all the way back to 1950. Available to browse in full online now, the museum released a collection of its annual catalogs, starting from 1950 and ending at 2021. From retro cover graphics to minimalist furniture renderings, the exhibit offers a glimpse at the retailer’s design evolution over the last 70 years.

The design evolution is fun and apparent. In the 1965 catalog, a leather couch is situated on some blue shag carpet and the room is accented with lime green curtains and oak shelves—reflective of its retro time. In the 1992 catalog, a palpable shift occurs with floral upholstered couches and a coffee table more reflective of its current decade. Then, moving away from the era of Blockbuster and novelty inflatable chairs, there’s a more modern, minimalist space in the 2000 catalog, which showcases a room with contemporary red cabinets and chairs. 

Credit: IKEA Museum
1 / 4

In the latest offering for the 2021 catalog, there’s a more avant-garde bedroom with gray walls accented by a bed with a clean white duvet and bedding. On its site, IKEA Museum said the exhibition—launched to celebrate the 70th anniversary of IKEA’s first catalog—aims to take design enthusiasts “on a journey through time and space and gives you new perspectives on the IKEA catalog.” The museum continued, “For 70 years we have come to your home, now you can look in with us.” 

The catalog exhibit joins a roster of other virtual collections on display on IKEA Museum’s site. “Voices that hold,” a curation of innovative and cross-border design by young artists, can be toured until January 2021, as well as “Watch Music!,” a music exhibition that emphasizes its role in a home. 

Tour IKEA Museum’s (virtual) catalog exhibition online now.