Ikea’s latest collection explores ‘the sweet spot between art and design’

Ikea’s Art Event Collection features objects by Sabine Marcelis, Daniel Arsham, Gelthop, Humans Since 1982 and Stefan Marx

Ikea Art Experience Collection 2021
The Ikea Art Experience Collection, featuring lighting by Sabine Marcelis, a clock by Daniel Arsham, a table lamp and a torch by Japanese collective Gelchop, a vase and a throw by Stefan Marx and a wall box by Humans since 1982
(Image credit: ikea)

Ikea launches its latest Art Event Collection, presenting a range of domestic objects that blur the boundaries between art and design. The collection features new work by Dutch designer Sabine Marcelis, multidisciplinary creative Daniel Arsham, as well as artists Gelthop, Humans Since 1982 and Stefan Marx.

‘Art places an important part in our everyday lives; it triggers emotions, sparks conversations. Having this imaginative space and time in our lives enriches us as human beings,’ says Ikea’s creative leader Henrik Most. ‘This collection explores the sweet spot between art and design.’ Designs feature five everyday objects reimagined by the artists, who tapped into their own creative experiences, artistic backgrounds and Ikea’s own vernacular. 

Ikea's Art Event Collection: everyday objects reimagined with an artist's eye

The collection comprises ten objects including lighting by Sabine Marcelis, a wall clock by Daniel Arsham, a table lamp and a torch by Japanese collective Gelchop, a vase and a throw by Stefan Marx and a wall box by Humans since 1982. Every piece in the collection has a formal simplicity at its foundation, and it is enriched with the artists’ own sensibility.

Ikea wall lights by Sabine Marcelis

A pair of wall lights created by Sabine Marcelis for the Ikea Art Experience collection

(Image credit: ikea)

Wallpaper* Design Awards judge Sabine Marcelis' pair of wall sconces is based on the interaction between light and colour, with a warm chromatic glow elevating the experience of the piece. Humans Since 1982 recreated a classic insect box, but substituted the traditional butterflies with miniature drones. ‘The iconic shapes of drones fascinate us,’ explain the artists. ‘Drones trigger many feelings, conversations and discussions that can connect people.’

Daniel Arsham drew on his Falling Clock, a 2011 art piece featuring a standard-looking wall clock disappearing into the wall and referencing the artist's own preoccupation with the theme of time. For Ikea, he revisited the design with the clock becoming wrapped into the seemingly moving rigid textile. ‘I think the position of the artist should be neutral, so i see the works as provocative to a viewer who can make their own assumption about it,’ he says. German visual artist Stefan Marx contributed a blanket and a vase to the collection, emblazoned with his signature scribbled motifs spelling out the messages “I’m so so so sorrryyyy” and “I wait here for your forever as long as it takes”. 

Ikea Daniel Arsham wall clock

Daniel Arsham's wall clock, referencing the shapes of previous artworks

(Image credit: ikea)

And finally, Japanese collective Gelchop found inspiration in Ikea itself, recreating the familiar shapes of the company’s Allen key wrench (necessary to self-build any Ikea furniture) into a lamp and torch pair. ‘Our inspiration comes from everyday ‘aha moments’,’ say the artists. ‘A small, insignificant tool is blown up into a larger item that acquires new meaning.’

The objects will be available to test virtually via a new AR effect available through Ikea’s Instagram, for users to try them in their own home ahead of the April launch.

‘Ikea is a home furnishing company, and we normally put functionality at the forefront of our collections,’ continues Most. ‘Here, experience becomes the primary function. Everyday life is also about creativity, using our imagination to spark our fantasy to become more in tune with ourselves. We have been democratizing design for a long time, and we believe art should be affordable and accessible for people around the world. Art belongs in the home.’

Ikea Stefan Marx vase

German visual artist Stefan Marx's glass vase, featuring a hand-written motif spelling out the statement “I’m so so so sorrryyyy”

(Image credit: ikea)

Humans Since 1982 Ikea

Artist duo Humans Since 1982 created a traditional wall insect box, but used drones instead

(Image credit: ikea)

Gelchop lamp for Ikea

Japanese collective Gelchop found inspiration in Ikea's super familiar Allen key wrench (necessary to self-build any Ikea furniture), which they turned into a lamp and torch pair

(Image credit: ikea)

Ikea Stefan Marx blanket

Stefan Marx's blanket, featuring the words “I wait here for your forever as long as it takes”

(Image credit: ikea)


IKEA Art Event 2021 will be available globally at IKEA stores and online from April 2021


Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.