For the 2012 IKEA PS (Post Scriptum) collection, the Swedish flat-pack powerhouse rummaged through its back catalogue with some rather stunning results. For its latest assortment of curated PS goodies, IKEA has tapped into the "here and now" of young urbanites — packed into urban shoeboxes, merrily transient, craving the multifunctional, the mobile, and the moderately priced — with a collection directly inspired by cramped-but-mostly-loving-it city living.
Of course, you could argue that IKEA products have always leant themselves more to urban, space-sensitive environments than sprawling suburban McMansions and, by their very nature, are geared for semi-frequent changes of scenery. But with the 2014 IKEA PS collection — theme: “On the Move” — the retailer really drives the point home, specifically targeting the “young, urban crowd living in smaller spaces.”
According to a recent global survey commissioned by IKEA, nearly 60 percent of American city dwellers aged 18-29 are keen on packing up and moving within the next two years. And so, harnessing the talents of 19 different young and "young at mind" designers from across the globe — Germany, Holland, Japan, Iceland, Switzerland, France, the U.S. and on — who worked alongside an in-house design team, IKEA set out do produce a range of lovely and mostly lightweight home furnishings and accessories “designed for flexibility and moveability in order to adapt to the evolving needs of urban dwellers looking to live more simply and do more in the space they have.”
When inviting designers to collaborate on the 2014 PS collection, IKEA made a hugely smart move by strictly focusing on those in which, to quote Peter Klinkert, head of special collections for IKEA, “the space question is relevant one.” In other words, country bumpkin designers, no matter how talented, weren't involved. And once the initial prototypes were created, if they didn’t pass muster from a team of Copenhagen-based design students on the lookout for products that spoke directly to young, design-conscious urbanites without a ton of money to spend, they were shelved. Out of 150 prototype products created, 51 made it through to the final product development round.
For example, the inspiration for Tokyo-based Keiji Ashizawa’s knob-topped leaning wall shelving unit — one of my favorite pieces from the 2014 IKEA PS collection— came about from the fact that tenants in Japanese rental apartments are forbidden to drill holes into walls. I can see this super-versatile piece (pictured below) working well pretty much anywhere — bathroom, bedroom, kitchen — that's there a few feet of wall space to spare.
From the Polish-born trio of Paweł Jasiewicz, Maja Ganszyniec, and Krystian Kowalsk is a compact, cleverly designed secretary (pictured below) that's directly influence by the super-tight Soviet-era housing blocks found across Eastern Europe. Says Jasiewicz: “The idea was to bring order and intimacy into a room environment. To make living and working in a small space more enjoyable. To create a product whose form is driven by it’s function and that merges into the living room.”
Another highlight comes from the Brooklyn-based lighting wizards at Rich Brilliant Willing whose LED stool lamp (yep, it’s both a stool and a lamp) can be used both indoors and outdoors. Also from RBW is a circular stacking storage table available in multicolor or white that's reminiscent of the iconic Componibili storage units from Kartell.
Urban gardening also plays into the mix with Shanghai-based David Wahl’s vertical plant stand and an adorable, chalet-inspired tabletop greenhouse from Nicolas Cortolezzis, a Swiss-born designer currently living in Sweden, being two greenthumb-geared offerings.
Says Cortolezzi of his design (pictured above): “It can fit on the balcony, in the kitchen or next to the window. It can stand on a table or be hung on the wall. And one side is open and the other closed so you can regulate the temperature.”
Other IKEA PS 2014 highlights include a multi-tasking solid pine dining table, a side table with integrated lamp and magazine rack, a balancing beam-cum-bench, folding benches and chairs, a corner cabinet that makes "good use of these poor neglected spaces," and an assortment of bamboo storage modules and wall rails from London-based Tomás Alonso (another favorite). A range of tabletop accessories and textiles round out this living in the moment-inspired collection.
After an official launch in early April, the limited-edition 2014 PS collection —the eighth to be released since the design-forward "statement" program first launched in 1995 — hits stateside IKEA stores later that month. In the meantime, shoppers can get a sneak peak at the collection over at the IKEA Pinterest page. IKEA hounds: Any initial thoughts on 2014 IKEA PS offerings?
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