Ikea, known for affordable modern staples like the Malm beds and Billy bookcases, has more recently doubled down on outside collaborations, developing collections with everyone from British industrial designer Tom Dixon to red-hot high-street fashion designer Virgil Abloh and NASA.
One of the most highly anticipated among them launches stateside this month: Ypperlig, Ikea’s largest collaboration collection to date, introduces over 60 products designed with Hay, the Copenhagen-based brand bringing irresistible Danish design to today’s shoppers.
Ypperlig, coming just weeks after the launch of Hay’s kitchenware collaboration with Danish chef Frederik Bille Brahe, was first teased in summer 2016, starting with the brand’s forest-green-colored remix of Ikea’s iconic Frakta tote bag. The final product line up debuts not one but six new takes on the Frakta, adding quietly alluring color schemes like dark red and white and yellow and black—each available for $1.99.
The rest of the collection continues on this theme of upgraded basics at affordable prices. It includes furniture like sofas, chairs, shelving, and tables, with a price range of around $40 to $600. There are also accessories like wall mirrors, lamps, trays, and throws with a price range of around $4 and $50.
The thing to appreciate about Hay’s designs is how they feel at once familiar and somehow more inspired than what came before. Take, for example, the stone vases, now given a moody color-blocked twist, or the mirrors with some knick-knack storage built in, or the small wall shelf that also works as geometric decor.
According to Rolf Hay, who founded the company with his wife Mette in 2002, a lot of the products in the collection—and the slight “improvements” they implement—were inspired by Ikea’s supply chain. For example, the plank table took notes from the way Ikea’s popular Lack coffee tables are manufactured.
When asked if they were inspired by any current design or lifestyle trends, Rolf Hay seemed to know that he was expected to say “small space living.” After all, that’s been the focus of many a recent Ikea launch and, well, just about every other new furniture line or startup.
But he gets real about it.
“You can definitely say that people today live on less space than we did years ago...So that means our concepts need to be more compact,” he says. “But the problem is that it may be that we live on less space...but if you do a chair, you’re still designing for the size of the human body.” Nobody can do anything about that.
“What you can do is you can make more transparency,” Hay says. “For instance, the plastic chair we did is actually inspired by these old Vienna wooden chairs, which are very very old and transparent.”
Another product, a loveseat with powder-coated steel legs, uses shape and material play to go compact. Its interior is cushioned with some room to stretch, while the exterior is hard and sleek.
Ypperlig is available in U.S. stores now. American shoppers can also expect to see even more Hay in the months to come.
“We are coming big time,” Rolf Hay says. “We’re going to be much more available in the North American market within a short time.”