Future classics from Ikea
How the flat-pack became an auction-house favourite
If you think that Ikea furniture is all just flat-pack fodder destined for landfill, think again. Collectors are spending thousands of pounds to snap up rare vintage pieces from the Swedish furniture giant at auction, wildly exceeding their modest original price.
Åke sofas and armchairs from the mid-1950s a re wor t h 10 t imes what they were sold for at the time, while the orig inal manufacturing model of the ‘Clam’ chair from the range by Danish a rch itec t Phi l ip A rc t a nder s old for £50,000 not long ago. Almost as astonishing, a flat-pack shelving unit from the 1970s recently fetched £3,000 and a simple 1980s sideboard table went for £2,275. Why the crazy prices?
‘Ironically the most expensive Ikea auction items today were almost always f lops t hat were quick ly discont inued due to lack of sales or excessive production costs,’ says Pontus Silfverstolpe, cofou nder of Ba r nebys, a n a r t-market sea rch eng ine t hat t racks sa les – a nd trends – from 2,000 auction houses.
Big-n a me de s ig ner s ar e a not her draw: Ikea founder Ingvar kamprad recog nised t he benef it s of collaborat ing with leading desig ners, including Verner Panton. In 1993, he designed the colourful, angular Vilber t chair, priced at £60 but taken out of production due to disappoint ing sa les. today, it goes at auction for upwards of £700, thanks to the combination of a well-known name and limited availability.
those of us who aren’t lucky enough to have a f lat-pack desig n cla s sic at home ca n do some sma r t shopping now. ‘Personally, I think Ikea’s PS series will be in demand in the f uture, and Ilse Crawford’s desig ns [which were launched in 2015] are already highly sought a f ter in t he auct ion market,’ says Silfverstolpe.
While most of Crawford’s limitededit ion Sinnerlig collect ion has sold out (I managed to bag a dining table), a few product s a re st i ll for sa le – you should snap up the bamboo pendant l ight s (£40) a nd cork-topped stools (£50) while you can. My other tips are to buy something from the Stockholm 2017 collection (in store now – the cabinet is a winner) and from Danish brand hay ’s for t hcoming I kea col le c t ion, which launches in autumn.
Top right Catch it while you can: Ilse Crawford’s desirable Sinnerlig collection Above and right Coming attractions: furniture by Danish designers Hay, due for an autumn launch The Telegraph Magazine | 3 June 2017