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An interview with Viveca Olsson, the creative leader behind IKEA’s STOCKHOLM range 2017.

It’s wonderful now that Summer is here. We have been lucky with the warm and dry weather in London.

I’ve enjoyed spending more time in our garden. It’s actually quite therapeutic to have that quiet time with nature, to unwind and think.

We’ve invested in an IKEA outdoor sofa, and I’ve decided to style it with the new IKEA STOCKHOLM range.
Here are some of the IKEA STOCKHOLM 2017 products, styled in my living space.  I was excited with the opportunity to interview Viveca Olsson, the creative leader behind IKEA STOCKHOLM.
It’s always fun to delve behind the creative process of a collection.

So here goes: IKEA STOCKHOLM What has been the key inspiration for STOCKHOLM 2017?

VO: STOCKHOLM collection always take its inspirations from nature. This time the blue colour comes from my private photo of a winter night sky in South Sweden, and the orange came from a beautiful sunset image. Viveca Olsson Talk me through the design process for creating a new iteration of the STOCKHOLM collection.

VO: We take extra care in designing the best quality in our range. Care in material, tactile surfaces, details, colours, sizes and proportions to be long living products over time in different living situations. I like to see the new products as a continuation of the previous collection, with new elements. We wanted to continue the visual direction, but make sure it felt new. We also continued to work with the same values in mind that STOCKHOLM has always stood for — exciting quality for everyday use, long-lasting products made with graceful materials, pieces with well-thought-out, everyday functions and warm, human qualities with a caring, homely feel. The STOCKHOLM collections are also about wellbeing, sustainability, and most of all convenience. What is your favourite piece from this year’s STOCKHOLM collection?

VO: The rattan products, for the beautiful tactile expression and the sofa is my absolute favourite piece. It’s a 24/7 sofa — somewhere to socialise, relax, sleep, eat, work, do homework, play, listen to music, be together, and have a space of your own. It’s casual, convenient, comfortable, and beautiful, with many uses, and is made to fit any expression of style. I believe it will become the favourite piece in many homes. How important is showcasing sustainably sourced materials in STOCKHOLM?

VO: Sustainability is one of the key pillars of the IKEA Democratic Design process and STOCKHOLM is no different. In each element of the design, we have worked closely with suppliers to ensure that, where possible, materials are sustainably sourced and recyclable. Rattan and glass feature heavily in this year’s collection. Is this responding to trends which we are seeing in the home?

VO: We like the tactility in both- the materials are different and makes an interesting contrast. We were looking for materials with a soft, smooth touch in order to give the collection a sense of warmth and a homely feel.

Materials with different textures that would work well together, such as rattan, velvet, hand-blown glass, woven carpets, as well as the natural feel of beautiful wood like ash. Why do you think STOCKHOLM continues to be a popular range for IKEA?

VO: The collection is a perfect example of our Democratic Design process, and our customers love the stylish designs of the IKEA STOCKHOLM ranges. We are sure that it will continue to be popular for years to come!

Hope you’ve enjoyed reading Viveca Olsson’s responses to the questions posed. It’s always so interesting to get a behind the scenes view.

You can find many of the IKEA STOCKHOLM products used for this post’s garden styling here.

I will be back soon with more outdoor living posts. Have a good day all.

( All photography and styling are by Geraldine Tan, editor of Little  Big Bell. The IKEA STOCKHOLM home wares were gifted to me.. this is a sponsored collaboration with IKEA UK. All views are my own. )

Ikea Stockholm 2017 furniture collection featuring rattan, velvet and more.

I was so excited when IKEA recently launched their new STOCKHOLM 2017 furniture and home range. I have been keeping an eye on the collection, for a while now, and I was over the moon when asked by IKEA to style a few curated pieces at home. I particularly love the Rattan furniture in that range. Those in the know, would have by now, snapped up their much coveted rattan cabinet. I think it’s already sold out in the U.K.

However, all is not lost, as there are still many amazing pieces available, such as this stylish IKEA STOCKHOLM rattan and Ash coffee table. Its pared down simplicity would be perfect for a minimal Scandinavian interior.

However, it’s possible to mix and match colours and patterns to create a vibrant but balanced look too. I have used this handmade IKEA STOCKHOLM rug in grey, as a bold contrast.  I wanted to accentuate the natural wood and surface weave pattern of the rattan against the dark coloured rug. Next, is the fun part of adding colour.  I’ve chosen a combination of bright red and blue patterned cushions from the STOCKHOLM range, to make my pale mint sofa pop with happiness.

To counterbalance the colours on the sofa, I have styled the coffee table with colourful books and flowers. The blue, mouth-blown glass carafe, vase and bowl on the rattan coffee table are also from the same range. I have decided to add some wild orange flowers to contrast the blue vases and cushions. This glass serving plate is smooth and of a great quality. It definitely looks more expensive than it actually was.

Gunnel Sahlin, the designer of the STOCKHOLM glass range said that ” The colour of the glass changes with the light and with what you put inside it. It really has a feeling of hands on craft that sorts of stays with the piece.” At first sight, you may think that there is a wooden side table by the sofa. It’s actually the Ash tray from the STOCKHOLM range, placed on an old IKEA Frosta stool. I’ve styled it with a few potted greens. Here’s the tray with some floral blooms. On the opposite end of my sofa is a velvet STOCKHOLM range pouffe in dark blue.

I love how a pouffe can be a footrest, extra seating, or a table. Hope you have enjoyed seeing how I have styled my IKEA STOCKHOLM 2017 range at home. I will be back soon with an interview with Viveca Olsson, the creative leader for the 2017 IKEA STOCKHOLM range. Have a lovely start to your week.

( All photography and styling are by Geraldine Tan, editor of Little Big Bell. This is a sponsored collaboration with Ikea UK, but all opinions are my own).

A visit to Almhult Sweden for Ikea Democratic Design Day.

I’ve just returned last week from an inspiring trip to the homeland of Ikea in Älmhult, Sweden. I was invited to join a large group of international press, for the annual Ikea Democratic Design day event, where the new and future Ikea collections were being revealed.

It’s amazing to think how far Ikea has come. The photo above is of Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of Ikea. He is now 91 years old, but founded Ikea at the age of 17. This photo of Ingvar Kamprad is located at the entrance of the Ikea museum. If you zoom in and look close enough, you can see that it is comprised of lots of tiny photos of his co workers.

So you may be wondering why the event is called Ikea Democratic design day. Marcus Engman, the head of Design at Ikea told us that the term ‘Democratic Design’ is actually the backbone, heart and soul of Ikea.

Ikea Democratic Design is made up of 5 principles that influences every step of the design process. These 5 principles are: Form, Function, Quality, Sustainability and Low price

When Marcus Engman was asked if all Ikea products lived up to the five principles of DemocraticDesign, it was refreshing to hear him admit that not all do, and that solutions Ikea were happy with a few years ago, may no longer live up to current expectations, hence new solutions and modifications are being sought. This is the 2019 limited edition version of the iconic Ikea Frakta bag. Yes, you heard right, it’s only available in 2019, and I’m so pleased to have been given one at the event. It is a shimmery silver bag with pastel hues of mint, blue and yellow. It’s actually made of recycled crisp packets.

Ikea is now starting to collaborate on making limited edition versions. There will be a few new designs by Hay coming out this year.

Did you read all about Ikea’s clever response to Balenciega’s new collection bag that looked like an Ikea Frakta bag recently? Here it is. Brilliant marketing response isn’t it? Before I reveal the new Ikea collection, I thought I’d show you my tour with Ikea at their museum in Älmhult.

Recently CNBC reported that vintage Ikea furniture are selling for thousands of pounds at auction. Could this soon have us all flocking to Ikea to collect the limited edition pieces? I managed to photograph a few of Ikea’s beautiful vintage mid century collections here.

It was so interesting to see a working condition old fashioned black and white television. Look at this beautiful chair, upholstered in a very on trend deep olive green. There was also a new temporary fabric exhibition in the basement of the museum. I spent ages there looking at the vibrant coloured prints on fabric.

I managed to get 2 posters from the museum shop with the Dala horses and bananas prints above. Stunning patterns and colours. I also got to tour Ikea’s Test lab. I was fascinated to learn about all the tests done during product development.

These were the areas of testing :

Chemistry- testing volatile organic compound emissions, odour tests and more.

Textile- testing its pH to ensure the textile doesn’t cause skin irritation, strength of fabric, appearance after washing and shrinkage, stain resistance, absorbency and more.

Fire- flammability tests on the furniture.

Candle- Quality of burning, soot test and more.

Surface and Corrosion – durability of surfaces

Furniture- mechanical tests on functionality ( above is the photo of the mattress roll test. A 140kg weight is rolled over the mattress between 30000 to 50000 times, with the possible height loss measured).

Assembly – assess if products can be assembled quickly and easily.

Kitchen – appliance testing

Lighting- ensure lighting exceed the stated life time and more.

Climate chamber-testing moisture related problems on wood in countries with high humidity.

Component- testing the hinges, dowels and screws.

Packaging material- testing the corrugated cardboard to ensure products in transit are well protected.

Here’s a robot hand testing a kid’s packed lunch box. We stayed at the Ikea hotell.

As expected, the lobby was full of stylish Ikea furniture. Here’s one of the sitting room areas. That fireplace and stacked wood shelf is so cool right? This is the restaurant at Ikea Hotell.  My pared down and simple bedroom. Love that light house and wave photography series above my bed. Now to introduce you to the collections launching later this year and in 2018.

This is Rolf and Mette Hay. For those who love Scandinavian design, will know their renowned Danish furniture brand Hay.

A few years ago, I visited Copenhagen and of course no visit there should be without a visit to HAY. You can see my Hay post here. The Ikea and HAY collaboration is one of the most highly anticipated collections due to come out this year in October.

Their collection is called Ypperlig. In my opinion, the sofa above is the must have piece of the collection.

I believe it will be retailing for 599 Euros, which is super affordable for an iconic piece of design. I’ve shot it up close for you to see. I’ve even sat on it, and can report that it is super comfortable. Here’s a chair from the Ypperlig collection. Aren’t these Ypperlig cushions divine? I’m in love with the pink cushion with the red polka dots. Feast your eyes on this Ypperlig dining table by Hay. If you are on the hunt for a new dining table, I suggest you hold off till October for this beauty. The next designer collaborating with Ikea is Tom Dixon. I’m sure no real introduction is required of this renowned British furniture and homewares designer. His collection was called Delaktig, and was co-created with 75 design students from Royal college of Art, Parsons School of Design and Musashino University.

Delaktig means ‘being involved’ in Swedish, and is an open platform that inspires people to make it their own. This furniture collection is a base for many different functionalities. You can add pillows, side tables, lamps and headboard, as you go. Here’s an up close view I shot at the event.

What do you think of the sofa? I can see it in stylish office spaces and large industrial loft apartments. Here’s a shot with my pink Kate Spade New York handbag.I think the pink contrasted well with the the grey don’t you think?

The Delaktig collection is due to launch in February 2018. This is Bea Åkerlund, a stylist to celebrities such as Madonna, Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Rihanna and Lady Gaga, to name a few.

Ikea has chosen to collaborate with Bea, because of her unique sense of style and her passion for individuality. Her collection with Ikea is called Omedelbar, and is launching in March 2018.

Those black hands that Bea is holding up against her head in the photo, are actually wall hooks from her collection. Here’s a little moodboard from Bea’s collection that I shot at the event. Here’s an alphabet light from her collection. I can see this lips cushion in Boudoir styled bedrooms. This is the moodboard filled with photos of the one of a kind figurines commissioned by Ikea as part of the Ikea Art Event series. This evil eye glass is by Ludvig Lofgren. This is by James Jarvis. It’s a peace sign and not so polite sign when turned around.

The Ikea art Event series will be launching in April 2018. This is the Spänst collection by Chris Stamp. He has managed to incorporate street culture and sports into the home. He has created storage for shoes and Ikea’s first ever skateboard.

The collection is due to launch in May 2018.

Here is the collection by Ikea’s social entrepreneurs, due to be released later this year and 2018. Aren’t these pieces so pretty? At the Democratic Design Day, Ikea also announced their future collaborations, going into 2019. I was so excited to learn about their collaboration with the founder of Byredo, Ben Gorham.

Byredo produces the amazing perfumes and scented candles. I can’t wait to see what Ben comes up with in this collaboration. I appreciate this is a very long post, but I couldn’t resist showing you the Ikea after party, set amongst the beautiful countryside of Almhult in Sweden.

Beautiful Lupins on display. It was a Midsummers night party Delicious cocktails on arrival. A beautiful barn converted for the evening’s festivities. Tables beautifully set. I love how wild flowers picked from the fields just outdoors of the party venue adorned the table. There was also Swedish folk music to greet us and a fun disco with saxophonist to end the night. The food was absolutely delicious.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this post about Ikea’s Democratic Design day. I had such a fun time on the press event. It’s always amazing to go behind the scenes. I’m looking forward to showing some interiors styled posts using Ikea products in the next few weeks. Watch this space.

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead.

( The post comprise a selection of photos by myself and press images from Ikea. I was invited to Sweden on the press trip by Ikea UK. All views in this post are my own).

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