When Ikea opened its first retail store in Älmhult, Sweden, in 1958, it launched with a few stellar items. Among them, the Ganget armchair, a circular wicker seat with bowed steel legs, and the Knäsjö , a spindly floor lamp with elongated cotton lamp shades. At the time, Ikea’s late founder, Ingvar Kamprad, was trying to design “modern” furniture that evoked an optimistic future.
Now, 75 years later, those once futuristic designs are available again, and they look perfectly at home among Ikea’s more contemporary goods. To celebrate its 75th birthday, Ikea is relaunching Gratulera, a line of “vintage” pieces, spanning the company’s designs from the 1950s to the 1990s.
Over the next few months, Ikea will begin rolling out furniture lines dedicated to a different decade of design. In August, they’ll start with the ’50s to ’60s, which includes the Ganget armchair, Knäsjö floor lamp, and a decorative bowl, among other midcentury designs.
In October, it’s all about the ’70s and ’80s, with wire chairs, colorful puffy couches, and bright Memphis-style patterns. Finally, in December, Ikea will throw back to the ’90s, a time when the company embraced a more “minimal” style.
It’s a clever marketing ploy (and that Ikea has used before to celebrate a big anniversary). The funny thing is, the “vintage” items don’t look so different from what Ikea offers today. Guess it just goes to show, good design barely ages.