The affordability and practicality of IKEA's minimalist, Scandinavian-inspired pieces have made the brand nearly ubiquitous. You'd be hard-pressed to walk into a friend's home without spotting one IKEA piece that you own or previously owned yourself. But it appears that the Swedish retailer is attempting to upend its reputation, launching collection after collection that has us asking Is this really IKEA?
IKEA's SJÄLVSTÄNDIG collection
This limited-edition line that launched in October 2018 is bursting with color, personality, and above all else, individuality. "The collection touches upon themes of liberation, rebelliousness, and creativity—thus the name, SJÄLVSTÄNDIG, which translates to 'independent,'" according to a press release. "Originally inspired by 'hacking' and DIY movements, the products have been designed with the intention of users making them their own."
To IKEA creative leader Maria O'Brian, SJÄLVSTÄNDIG is, at its core, a "way of expressing your identity in a home context," she explains. "It's about showing off your personality, that you're not bought. I think it's kind of what you strive for in life and in work. You typically don't strive to be a copycat." This ethos gave rise to products like modular carpets, the buildable furniture legs, and the ceramic vases, which were individually molded by factory workers' hands. And in typical IKEA fashion, the pieces allow people to build upon what the IKEA team has created to make it their own.
With its bright colors, geometric shapes, and color-blocked designs, the new collection also has a distinctly Wed Anderson-esque feel and we're so here for it. Here are our favorite picks from the collection.
The SJÄLVSTÄNDIG lampshades. Pink: $8; white: $10
The SJÄLVSTÄNDIG bowl, $20
The SJÄLVSTÄNDIG indoor/outdoor chair, $59
IKEA's take: "They have this building-block quality, where they work really well on their own, but they can also in a simple way become something really abstract and crazy."
The SJÄLVSTÄNDIG legs, $30 for a pack of two
IKEA's take: "The legs are interesting, like little, bold characters standing out from the crowd. They give people the freedom to play around with furniture at home," IKEA designer Hanna-Kaarina Heikkilä says.
SJÄLVSTÄNDIG modular rugs, $90
IKEA's take: The so-called "modular carpets" are a first for IKEA. "Opening up new ways in which you can personalize your home, the carpets are cut in geometric shapes, combining both colors and patterns," reads the press release. "Thanks to the hook and loop fasteners you can be free to mix and match, create unusual shapes or simply go for something more traditional—it's whatever you want."
SJÄLVSTÄNDIG modular rugs, $90
The SJÄLVSTÄNDIG trays, $5 each
The SJÄLVSTÄNDIG cone cushion, $20
IKEA's take: "Globalization. The more the world starts looking the same, the more we want to separate ourselves from what’s considered mainstream. But it's not all that easy setting oneself apart. How can you claim what's truly yours in a world that is saturated with numbers of likes and followers?"
The SJÄLVSTÄNDIG floor cushion in pink and blue, $25 each
IKEA's take: "So, what’s the deal? Do pillows only belong on sofas and chairs? What if plain tape turns into your very own art installation? Who says that a carpet has to be geometric?"
The SJÄLVSTÄNDIG vases, $13 each
IKEA's take: "Can something mass-produced still be personal? The design team decided to push boundaries on the factory floor by asking the workers to squeeze a SJÄLVSTÄNDIG vase," reads the press release. "I am so happy we managed to make a product that gives a voice to the co-workers on the factory floor. They are the ones creating with us, and now they've made their mark on the products as well,” IKEA designer, Hanna-Kaarina Heikkilä says. "It's important for us to highlight that these are people, not machines, and I like the idea of their fingerprints sort of being all around the world."
Pictured above: SJÄLVSTÄNDIG modular rugs, $90
The SJÄLVSTÄNDIG cone cushions, $20 each
The SJÄLVSTÄNDIG cushion covers, $6 each
The SJÄLVSTÄNDIG indoor/outdoor table, $35
The SJÄLVSTÄNDIG lampshades, cone cushions, floor cushions, and modular carpets
The SJÄLVSTÄNDIG room divider, $50