Working at Ikea is something of a dream job, says Axelsson, who lives in the small town of Älmhult, Sweden, where the company’s global headquarters are located.

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With a company the size of Ikea, you might think you have hundreds of in-house designers, but that’s not the case, says Mikael Axelsson.

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Axelsson started as an intern at Ikea after graduating from Stockholm’s Beckmans College of Design in 2012 and never left.

Postmedia caught up with Axelsson to learn about some of the collections he has designed at Ikea and how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected him.

Working at Ikea is something of a dream job, says Axelsson, who lives in the small town of Älmhult, Sweden, where the company’s global headquarters are located.

its home recently appeared in the Ikea festival, a 24-hour online event held last month focused on celebrating “how we live at home.” The festival showcased the homes, studios and neighborhoods of renowned artists, designers and chefs from around the world.

Cast iron everyday pot from Ikea designer Mikael Axelsson.
Cast iron everyday pot from Ikea designer Mikael Axelsson. Ikea photo /PNG

Axelsson products for Ikea include the Burvik side table and the Ravaror clamp light.

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He also designed the Vardagen cast iron pots and pans that the designer says he uses every day.

“They are super resistant. Very durable and last a lifetime if you treat them properly. And it is these types of products that I like the most; life-enhancing products, ”he says.

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Socially minded design projects appeal to Axelsson. One of the most rewarding collections she has worked on has been the Valgorande collection, created in collaboration with Romani artisans based in Romania, she says.

This collection includes wooden spoons, bowls, lamps, stools and baskets, and the underlying idea was to provide job opportunities for highly skilled Roma artisans, Axelsson says.

“It is much more rewarding than any design award you can get,” he adds.

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The glassware is part of Ikea's new Kaseberga collection, due out in spring 2022.
The glassware is part of Ikea’s new Kaseberga collection, due out in spring 2022. Ikea photo /PNG

Axelsson has also recently designed products for Ikea’s Kaseberga collection, which launches this spring, in collaboration with the World Surf League.

This collection, which focuses heavily on sustainability, includes items you can use at the beach and at home, such as a balance board (great for surfers) and ocean blue glassware that is made from “as many natural materials as possible. possible, like bamboo, cork, natural rubber and glass, ”says Axelsson.

“The World Surf League has very similar values ​​to those of Ikea when it comes to taking care of the environment, especially the ocean because they are very close to the ocean, they see it first hand, all the plastic and stuff,” he says.

Axelsson says the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the way he lives and works. He says people are slowly returning to the office now, and many are still working from home.

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The amount of time people now spend working from home has presented some challenges designers can solve, he says, such as designing dining tables that work well as office desks.

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Ravaror clamp table lamp by Ikea designer Mikael Axelsson.
Ravaror clamp table lamp by Ikea designer Mikael Axelsson. Ikea photo /PNG

It has also affected Axelsson’s design process at Ikea because, before the pandemic, he visited suppliers, in Asia and Europe, at least once during a project and spent quite a bit of time in factories. As this has not been possible recently, virtual meetings have replaced factory tours, with many prototypes being shipped around. Although things have taken longer in this new way of working, when things do reopen, they will likely be faster than ever, Axelsson says. “In the future, it will probably be more efficient, more effective,” he says.

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