Afro-IKEA design teams builds new ÖVERALLT collection

IKEA has put ten designers from seven African countries together with five of its own experts, with a special mission: create the products for the new ÖVERALLT collection. Inspired by what is called ‘modern urban rituals’ and by each other’s very mixed backgrounds, the multicultural team came up with ‘inclusive’ and expressive designs for tableware, seating and textiles.

The designs of the combined Afro-IKEA team are real, not just ideas or sketches. As you are reading this, some product designer/engineer is compiling packages according to the typical IKEA approach: different part, bits, pieces and nuts and bolts, packed with a set of instructions, ready for you to assemble. The collection will be on sale in stores for a limited time starting in May 2019.

The ten African and five European designers collaborated across disciplines as well as continents. Inspired by the modern urban rituals that are common across all cultures – ‘the things we do and use every day to feel at home’ – ÖVERALLT offers products in tableware, pillows, rugs, seating and other furniture and textiles, many in materials that are new for IKEA.

It started with curiosity

IKEA embarked on the project, based on its own curiosity about what intercontinental cooperation could bring. As Marcus Engman, Design Manager at IKEA, describes it: “The creative explosion which is taking place in several cities around Africa right now is something IKEA is curious about. We want to learn from this and spread it to the rest of the world. Working together with these designers and creatives gives us the opportunity to do so,”

A rug as well as an art piece

The participating designers come from the fields of fashion, sculpture, architecture, and furniture design and have been paired with IKEA designers to create the collection. One of them was Laduma Ngxokolo, award-winning South African fashion designer. His take on the process: “This collaboration opens up new avenues for everyone involved, and it creates a new voice for our continent.”

Together with Mikael Axelsson from IKEA, Laduma has designed a rug that’s just as much of an art piece. Ngxokolo describes the design process as “systematic but very inspired – in a highly creative environment.” “It’s inspired by where I come from, and by the journeys I’ve made. I hope it will bring comfort and pride to people”, he says.

‘Braided’ basket

Another new ÖVERALLT product is a basket inspired by modern hair braiding rituals, made by Senegalese fashion designer and artist Selly Raby Kane in collaboration with IKEA-designer Iina Vuorivirta. Selly’s work is characterized by a large dose of playfulness and humour, and the ÖVERALLT basket is no exception. “Braiding techniques are fascinating, and the braiding itself stands for creativity, power, art, sometimes even a coded language. I try to do designs that are functional but that still express my personality. It’s tricky, but it’s how I work.”

The designers

A cooperation with the African creative company Design Indaba enabled IKEA to make arrangements with the African designers. The full list of designers: Issa Diabaté (Ivory Coast), Hend Riad and Mariam Hazem (Egypt), Laduma Ngxokolo (South Africa), Bethan Rayner and Naeem Biviji (Kenya), Sindiso Khumalo (South Africa), Renee Rossouw (South Africa), Bibi Seck (Senegal) and Selly Raby Kane (Senegal).

Photo captions:

1 Laduma Ngxokolo (South Africa)

2 ÖVERALLT collection

3 Selly Raby Kane (Senegal)

4 ÖVERALLT collection

5 ÖVERALLT collection

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