Classic 1980s IKEA designs up for grabs in archive sale

Classic 1980s IKEA designs up for grabs in archive sale

London-based artist Harry Stayt is an avid IKEA collector. Now, he is opening up his archive in a special sale.

Often associated with fast furniture, IKEA’s historic design classics can be overlooked. Artist Harry Stayt has been collecting underappreciated IKEA staples, and swiftly shelved would-be classics, for the last five years.

Launching on Thursday 26 November, BILLY is a one-off archive sale, and features over 100 discontinued IKEA products. Named after the company’s best selling ‘Billy’ bookcase, the collection spans five decades of furniture, catalogues and accessories, with a particular emphasis on 1980s and early 1990s pieces.

Iconic items – including Verner Panton’s ‘Vilbert’ chair, Niels Gammelgaard’s ‘Ted Net’ chair and Harry Allen’s ‘Kila’ lamp – are up for grabs, with smaller items starting at £50.

The collection has been in development since Stayt’s university days at Camberwell College of Arts, London, where he studied the sculptural possibilities of modular and flat pack furniture. Ongoing research (and a long held interest in the ‘wonderful everyday’), took the artist to Älmhult, Sweden – birth town of IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad and home of the IKEA Museum – where 40 rare IKEA catalogues were discovered, dating back to 1970. They have since proven to be a useful tool for finding desired items for the BILLY collection and tracing their provenance.

Many of these forgotten pieces feature IKEA’s most playful designs, which were perhaps once too radical for a mass audience, but now they speak to those seeking a nostalgic, upbeat aesthetic. The modern availability of these long since decommissioned designs emphasises their durability, and offers a new way to appreciate the Swedish furniture giant, so often hobnobbed with thoughts of throwaway culture. §

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