ÖVERALLT: IKEA and The Design Indaba in Collaboration.
IKEA has long cushioned us, and surrounded us in our affordably furnished homes.
The Scandinavian brand brought this kind of style to other parts of the world and, soon, homes in Ontario would look eerily similar to homes in Brighton.
Through flat packed furniture, a particular design aesthetic was permeating middle class homes and the world became very familiar with a certain type of aesthetic.
The brand has since become popular in India and China with large portions of the population opting for the mass retailer and their ‘put-it-together-yourself’ products.
While we are used to IKEA sending scandi design throughout the world, the brand has now teamed up with designers from other parts of the world to begin introducing consumers to different styles and ideas.
The ÖVERALLT Collection.
Most recently, the ÖVERALLT Collection will feature designs by African creatives bringing ideas and aesthetics from the continent to homes everywhere.
IKEA, of course, is not new to collaboration. In recent years, they have transformed their brand by teaming up with different labels and designers. Gone are the days of off-white basics. IKEA has become a brand that comes with the gravitas of ‘cool’ thanks to the direction that it has taken.
Once seen as the furniture that was bought to fill a room until one day one could afford something better, culturally popular traits have snuck their way onto the maze-like showroom floors and collectively we can’t get enough.
The ÖVERALLT Collection is their latest move. IKEA in collaboration with the Design Indaba is now bringing African contemporary design into the mix.
The collection, however, does not simply absorb African style into the scandi brand. Rather, it gives the designers a platform to present their own interpretation of interiors that we are then, in turn, able to buy and admire throughout our homes.
“IKEA was curious to learn more about the contemporary African design scene and the creative explosion that can be seen in several cities around Africa,” Design Indaba Festival in Cape Town.
A fresh take on design.
There is a wider interpretation that can be made of the significance of this collaboration. IKEA furniture and its imitations have found their way into even the homes of those living in Africa. Having African designers finally at the helm of what is produced, there is a functionality to the designs in a way that is practical for people of a different culture.
Within the collection, one of the pieces is a bench that is designed to encourage socialising while a basket designed by Selly Raby Kane is created to reflect the West African ritual of hair braiding. Kane wants to have her designs in homes across the world in order to inspire a curiosity in people that leads them to learn more about the intricate histories of these traditions.
By embracing collaborations, IKEA have shown themselves to be more aware of trends than simply reproducing familiar designs.
“The starting point was to explore this area connected to socializing around food, indoor and outdoor living, the rituals around expressing identity and sustainability. From there, the design and development process has resulted in a collection of products that is all about building bridges and discovering the ‘urban living room’ together with others,” IKEA.
Issa Diabate from the Ivory Coast designed products that reflect an African approach to combined out and indoor living. The products that she created are made to be inexpensive and simple. This functional approach to design fits snuggly into the IKEA brand while still remaining unapologetically African.
That is the beauty of this collaboration and crossover between big brand and designers from Africa. What is shared are the ideas and experiences of people from a different part of the world. It is invaluable to see this expression take form in accessible ways as we are able to push our understanding of innovations from across the world.