By Helen Siwak
On Saturday, May 4th, IKEA Art Event 2019 Limited Collection rolls out at IKEA stores in Coquitlam, Etobicoke, and Montreal. The 8-carpet collection includes design notables from around the world: Virgil Abloh (Men’s Artistic Director at Louis Vuitton and the founder of fashion brand Off-White), Seulgi Lee (Korea), Filip Pagowski (Poland), Misaki Kawai (Japan), Noah Lyon (USA), Chiaozza (USA), Supakitch (France), and Craig Green (UK).
The eight artist-designed rugs for IKEA Art Event will only be available for a short time. The collection mashes-up tapestry art, rug handicraft, avant-garde fashion, street culture, and modern design. The carpets were handmade in either wool or other natural materials by craftspeople in India and Egypt. Because of their extremely limited numbers, the rugs will be distributed by a wristband/raffle system in each city.
The wristband will entitle customers to a chance to purchase one of the limited-edition rugs. There is a one rug per person limit, and all participants must be the age of majority in their respective provinces.
For centuries, rugs and tapestry were considered the highest form of art. Industrialization led to rugs, wall-hangings, and tapestries being downgraded, and the makers’ skills started to disappear in the West. The fifth IKEA Art Event was created to bring new attention to a traditional craft, and revive and refresh the idea of handmade rugs as art.
In 2019, the Creative Leader IKEA is Henrik Most, and he believes that rethinking our relationships with carpets is long overdue. “These are rugs that will become exclamation marks in the home, whether you walk all over them, hang them on a wall or make them your own any other way.”
For Virgil Abloh fans, the IKEA Art Event 2019 is the second enticement from the designer. In June, 2018 IKEA collaborated with Abloh for a Paris-based pop-up shop that contained a limited number of the ‘Still Loading’ and ‘Älmhult’ carpets.
Although a date has not been determined, IKEA has announced an upcoming launch of a full collection of IKEA-Abloh items including additional carpets, furniture, and the “Sculpture” canvas tote, which is a riff on the cheeky Balenciaga blue and yellow tote that walked the runways in 2017.
In 2012, IKEA’s head of design Marcus Engman invigorated the company’s image by rethinking its product development and pushing creativity. Over the years, the brand has invited collaborations with many famous names. French retailer Colette, design superstar Tom Dixon, surf-and-skate brand Chris Stamp, Teenage Engineering, NASA, and soon-to-launch collaborations with Lego and Adidas, have kept the brand current and in-demand.
Founded in 1943, IKEA is a massive retail presence worldwide with more than 357 stores in over 29 countries. The latest figures provided by the company are that a whopping 817-million people visit IKEA stores annually.
In Canada, IKEA operates 14 full-sized stores, six ‘pick-up and order points’, and 17 ‘collection points’. The company says that about 28-million people visited its Canadian stores last year and the Ikea.ca website is said to see 95-million visitors annually.