Democratic Design - IKEA

Democratic Design: IKEA

"The aesthetic form is there for all. And not just for the museum!"

This quote from the IKEA catalogue of 1979 stands programmatically for the design strategy of that company from Southern Sweden, which since 1948 has grown from a one-man-business to become the biggest furniture store in the world and shaped the concept of "democratic design" like no other.

Die Neue Sammlung - The International Design Museum Munich - is now the first museum to devote a major exhibition to this subject - presented in the inimitable art and design crossover context of Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich.

For IKEA, design is one the central factors that contribute to realising the idea of functional, well designed furniture that is affordable to most people.

Among the concepts behind this is the notion of "Beauty for All" (Ellen Key 1899), which had its roots in the reform movements of the 19th century and the "Swedish Model" of a modern, open society oriented towards the family and social concerns.

A decisive aspect of this philosophy is the development of a specific language of form and product range that combines different directions in design: on the one hand, Scandinavian Modernism with its predilection for wood, natural surfaces and organic shapes; and, on the other, international movements such as that of Flower Power, Sixties-style »Democracy from below« or Post-Modernism.

A further aspect is the commitment to "Swedishness", which manifests itself in "country house" design inspired by homeland traditions - one is reminded here of the watercolours by Carl Larsson in the 19th century - and also experimental works by young Swedish designers.

The exhibition will present such themes as The Beginnings, the IKEA Principle of Do-it-yourself, The Billy System, Design Process, Material Change, Sustainability and Ecology, Kiddy-Land, PS Collection etc.

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