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Design By Ikea

Design By Ikea: A Cultural History

by Sara Kristoffersson

Sara Kristoffersson is guest professor of Design History and Theory at Konstfack National University College of Arts, Crafts and Design, Stockholm, Sweden. She has published a number of articles on various aspects of design, fashion, art and architecture and lectures widely on these topics at museums and universities, including École nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs, Paris, France; Parsons School of Design, New York, USA; the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts and the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm, Sweden. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Bloomsbury Academic, 2014
  • DOI:
    10.5040/9781474293945
  • ISBN:
    978-1-4742-9394-5 (online)

    978-0-8578-5813-9 (hardback)

    978-0-8578-5814-6 (paperback)

    978-1-4725-8737-4 (epdf)

    978-0-8578-5815-3 (epub)
  • Edition:
    First published
  • Place of Publication:
    London
  • Published Online:
    2017 2017
Design By Ikea
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Sara Kristoffersson's compelling study provides the first sustained critical history of IKEA. Kristoffersson argues that the company's commercial success has been founded on a neat alignment of the brand with a particular image of Swedish national identity – one that is bound up with ideas of social democracy and egalitarianism - and its material expression in a pared-down, functional design aesthetic. Employing slogans such as “Design for everyone” and “Democratic design”, IKEA signals a rejection of the stuffy, the 'chintzy', and the traditional in both design practices and social structures.

Drawing on original research in the IKEA company archive and interviews with IKEA personnel, Design by IKEA traces IKEA's symbolic connection to Sweden, through its design output and its promotional materials, to examine how the company both promoted and profited from the concept of Scandinavian Design.