Often associated with fast furniture, IKEA archives and vintage IKEA furniture designs can be overlooked. Artist Harry Stayt has been collecting underappreciated IKEA styles from the 80s and 90s; the postmodern furniture collections that marked the launch of the Swedish brand in the UK.
Vintage IKEA for sale
Stayt spent years collecting IKEA archive furniture, gathering over 100 discontinued IKEA products which he initially sold through the platform Billy.Forsale in November 2020. Named after what are possibly the most popular IKEA shelves, the ‘Billy’ bookcase, the collection spanned 5 decades of furniture, catalogues and accessories.
Relaunching on 7 June 2020 at 6PM, Billy.Forsale offers 50 newly-added pieces of furniture from IKEA archives, including iconic items such as Verner Panton’s ‘Vilbert’ chair and ‘ULK’ Mirror, Gilis Lundgren’s ‘Impala’ lounge chairs and Tord Bjorklund’s ‘Skye’ chaise. Prices start at £65 for smaller items, and following this sale, the platform will become a regular operation, with frequent IKEA vintage furniture stock updates and a plan to produce in-house designs in the future.
Tracing the history of IKEA
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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Elly Parsons is the Digital Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees Wallpaper.com and its social platforms. She has been with the brand since 2015 in various roles, spending time as digital writer – specialising in art, technology and contemporary culture – and as deputy digital editor. She was shortlisted for a PPA Award in 2017, has written extensively for many publications, and has contributed to three books. She is a guest lecturer in digital journalism at Goldsmiths University, London, where she also holds a masters degree in creative writing. Now, her main areas of expertise include content strategy, audience engagement, and social media.
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