Form Us With Love democratise design for Ikea

What should I do if I can’t afford to buy a chair for £200? That’s a question that I naturally get asked a lot because I tend to write about design classics and products #madetolast…which, in turn, tends to cost more for quality materials.

So I set upon a challenge to find an affordable chair that you or I could afford with our modest budgets, given the high cost of living in London. I discovered this is easy enough to find, but difficult to fully endorse because the design is often compromised.

In walks Ikea, who was the last on my list for good design, who teamed up with Form Us With Love, a Stockholm-based design studio, whom, for almost ten years have put dialogue and relevance at their core.

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“Our collaborative objective was to find the perfect multi-purpose chair, easy to fall in love with and quick to maintain,” says Form Us With Love “using neat yet durable frames, a new collection of chairs and stools are presented, BIFMA tested* and sold at a remarkable price”.

*BIFMA is the not‐for-profit trade association for business and institutional furniture manufacturers. Since 1973, BIFMA has been the voice of the commercial furniture industry.

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And they certainly live up to the remarkable price tag…the chairs are £40 and the stools £100.

Janinge started out as a challenge – to create a chair that could handle the everyday wear and tear of a restaurant, yet be well-designed enough to take home. Form Us With Love needed to design for strength, durability and stability, as well as high quality and comfort. Thanks to close cooperation and team spirit, they managed to solve the equation of combining design, function and quality in the same chair – and at a low price.

“The great idea behind the Janinge collection is the democratization of design, to create a durable construction, based on the needs of both domestic and public environments” says Ikea.

Ikea’s UK press office told me that development of the chair started in 2011 and is produced in Italy. This was an interesting and encouraging sign that you can produce quality furniture at affordable prices within Europe. We all know that it is possible, but so rarely do we experience that these days.

Made from reinforced polypropylene plastic, the same material that Robin Day’s polyprop chair is made from, I am pleased to see some commitment from Ikea to change their production principles from incredibly unethical processes to promising change over the coming years.

“For many years we have worked with others to increase the supply of wood from responsibly managed forests. We are one of the founding members of the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) and we now have 21 foresters working to ensure that all wood is sourced in compliance with our forestry standards and to increase the share of certified wood in our supply chain.”

This is a vast improvement on a previous statement whereby “the company declines to pay a premium to ensure that all timber is legally harvested, citing costs that would be passed along to the consumer.”

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Designer: Form Us With Love
Manufacturer: Ikea
Year: 2015
Price: £40-£100

Daniel

Having worked in design for the past decade, Daniel started ateliertally.com as a discussion of timeless, modernist product design. Trained as a graphic designer, he also has an avid interest in typography. You can follow him on Twitter @ateliertally.

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