top of page

A Review of The IKEA Art Event

An original perspective on home furnishings will be at the sixth annual IKEA Art Event, in which IKEA asked some contemporary artists to reinterpretate usual objects, (making some pret-à-porter objects). IKEA has invited 5 visionaries skilled with art and design, to create inspirational pieces for a limited collection: Daniel Arsham, Gelchop, Humans since 1982, Sabine Marcelis and Stefan Marx. The same cleverly made objects by the artists, are useful household objects. From April 2021, the collection will be available globally, at the “IKEA” stores and online.

Daniel Arsham (an American artist and the co-founder of Snarkitecture, founded in 2008) who collaborated with other creative leaders across fashion and architecture, stage production, and interior design combines art, architecture and performance to his work. Objects that he touch are manipulated into endless forms of expression, exploring archaeology, architecture, and time, usually through a monochrome color palette. The monochrome color palette he resembles material properties. Some of his recent artworks involve archeological decay and civilizations.

On “,” Arsham says, “A lot of things I am using in my work or referencing are everyday objects — a very simple telephone, camera or clock; things that have a place already in daily life. When I can latch onto something that people already know and it’s shifted outside of the everyday, that can be an interesting experience for them.” His steal and glass wall-mounted clock called “Clock” shows how surrealism and regular items can mix together.

Clock” , “Daniel Arsham’s clock ($45) shows his ongoing fascination with questions of movement, materials, and architecture.” ©. April 1, 2021. All Rights Reserved.

Gelchop, a Tokyo-based artist, combining ordinary items with unexpected elements, creating new objects. His method of deconstructing and adding elements, to give the object a new meaning. His ideas come from the thought of how to improve the quality of daily life. One of the most powerful “IKEA” items is the “Allen key,” which is an LED Table Lamp and flashlight, in silver and metallic blue. The Allen key shape is presented as an enormous flashlight and LED table lamp in one of the images, but you can actually purchase regular flashlight size versions.

Allen key Flashlight” with the caption, “Gelchop decided to turn the humble Allen key into a handy flashlight ($30) (available in metallic blue and silver). April 1, 2021. All Rights Reserved.

LED Table Lamp”, “It also made an LED table lamp ($50), which illuminates the tiny, useful object.” ©. April 1, 2021. All Rights Reserved.

Ever since 2009, “Humans since 1982,” (a studio based in Stockholm, Sweden, which is co-owned with engineer David Cox) established by Bastian Bischoff (from Germany) and Per Emanuelsson (from Sweden), the interdisciplinary team maintained whip-smart technicians, programmers, and designers. Their works consist of the elevation and subversion of objects like smartphones, clocks, and surveillance equipment. Each piece in their collaboration may be a complex work of art, but they make it look easy, appearing like a form of minimalism.

Both, Bastian and Per met as postgraduate students at HDK Göteborg back in 2008. Well, at the “IKEA ART EVENT 2021,” the creative duo “Humans since 1982” added a drone, a technological piece associated with surveillance, placing them in an aluminum display case (representing a butterfly collection).

I am sure somebody in the world will try to mimic or modify the duo’s work by simply heading to the thrift store to grab plastic knives, popsicle sticks, and glue, but there is a reason why “Human since 1982” are professionals. The drones that are placed in the cabinet allows viewers to wonder about the modern technology being static. If you so desire a replica of the “Drone Wall Art,” get them while you can on the “IKEA” website.

Arguably, one of their most controversial pieces is “Celebrating the Cross, 2009,” which is a sin lounger in the shape of a life-sized, black crucifix. “Celebrating the Cross, 2009” is a great example of how the team incorporates phenomenology into their work. It is perfectly clear why this piece is controversial, knowing that it may be sturdy enough for someone to sit and rest on a revered image of their faith. On the bright side, the sun lounge is creatively the shape of a crucifix, which is unlikely you will see at your nearest furniture store.

Humans since 1982”, “Humans Since 1982 took the drone and put it into an aluminum display case resembling a butterfly collection ($50). This is available beginning May 1, 2021.” ©. April 1, 2021. All Rights Reserved.

Rotterdam-based product designer, Sabine Marcelis, focuses on installation and spatial design. One of Sabine’s projects was experimenting with sheets of paper as an effort to achieve different optical effects. She is mostly known for her work in resin, as well as neon, glass and marble. Marcelis said, “I think a lot of effort comes from doing.” There are two sizes that her “LED wall lamp” comes in: 12” and 16” and can switch to five different colors, with effects created by dynamic light. The wall lamp is inspired by Lucio Fontana’s cut paintings.

Wall Lamps”, “Sabine Marcelis’s wall lamps ($40-$60), which come in two different sizes and can change to five different colors, explore the wonderful effects created by a dynamic light emanating from a single, solid surface.” ©. April 1, 2021. All Rights Reserved.

Berlin-based artist and illustrator, Stefan Marx’s influence is the world around him: friends, strangers, books, music, etc. The conversations that he overhears from friends and strangers determines his typographical artworks. Although he is influenced by life in general, his main influences are skate culture, graffiti, and techno.

The mediums he use range from textiles, paintings, and porcelain. His soft-knitted piece called “Throw,” is a graffiti-inspired throw blanket, which reads “I wait here for you forever as long as it takes.” His two vases have phrases: one vase reads, “I’m so so so sorrryyyy” and the other vase reads the same phrase as on his black and white, wool throw blanket.

Throw”, “Stefan's throw ($25) is a beautiful piece of textile art that pairs well with the vase.” ©. April 1, 2021. All Rights Reserved.

Work Cites:

Artnet. “Humans Since 1982: Stockholm.”. 2021.

Sessums, Zoe. Clever. “Wall Lamps.”. 1, Apr. 2021.


bottom of page