IKEA is known for simple, staple rugs that can go with just about everything—like the classic black-and-white Stockholm that has graced many a first-apartment floor for under $200. But on Thursday, the retailer announced that they are majorly upping their rug game—with eight new designer collaborations for this year's IKEA Art Event. The rugs will be available for a limited time in 2019.
IKEA partnered with eight contemporary artists for the collection, challenging them each to come up with a unique new design. The news was announced at the company's annual Democratic Design Days at their headquarters in Almhut, Sweden, where they host hundreds of journalists from across the country, including Apartment Therapy (for transparency: IKEA paid for our travel and accommodations).
Each rug will will be handmade in wool and other natural materials—but still clocking in at an IKEA-range price tag. While the designers are all artists, most had never worked with rugs before—instead, think sculptors, fashion designers, and even tattoo artists.
Prices will range from $199-$450 depending on the individual details and size—many are wool, handwoven, extra large, or detailed with carvings or different rug piles.
"These are rugs that will become exclamation marks in the home, whether you walk all over them, hang them on a wall or make them your own any other way," Henrik Most, Creative Leader for the upcoming collection. He spoke at the kickoff of the Democratic Design event about how the making art more accessible is at the crux of what IKEA is about: "It's about making it a natural part of people's homes, not just something you see in a museum or gallery," he told the crowd. And while a rug, of course, has a basic function, he wanted to challenge the designers to find an aesthetic expression as well. Collaborators include Chiaozza from the United States (pictured above), Craig Green from the United Kingdom, Filip Pagowski from Poland (who created the Comme Des Garcons' heart), Misaki Kawai from Japan, Seeulgi Lee from Korea, SupaKitch from France, and Virgil Abloh from the United States.
And they did—after the presentation, I had the chance to see, and even touch some of the prototypes. Check out some of the highlights here:
"I wanted an ironic take on the traditional attitude to furnishing where the living room is just a showroom, not somewhere you sit," Abloh said in a statement about his design. "I think the parental 'don't ruin the furniture' kind of thing has really impacted how younger people think of furniture today."
"I don't like rules—I play around with materials and simple shapes and add some nice to it. I think keeping it simple adds mystery—anyone looking at the piece can start to wonder about it," artist Misaki Kawai said of her contribution. Her (very stylish) 2-year-old was also proudly showing off the rug at the show.