Figure 1. Rektangel 


Dirk Schrijvers

IKEA was founded in the 1948 (1) and is well known for its affordable furniture that has to be reassembled by the client.  When IKEA stores became larger, secondary products, related to furniture, were introduced. Since the 1990’s, IKEA also added low cost glass vases to its catalogue and since that time, more than 60 series have been developed. Besides its own design team, IKEA employed different designers, (e.g. Maria Vinka, Anne Nilsson, Pia Amsell and Barbro Wesslander, Christina Halskov and Hanne Dalsgaart, Martin Bergström, Knut Hagberg and Marianne Hagberg, Mathias Hahn,  Anna Efverlund, Johanna Jelinek, Emma Dafnäs, Per Ivar Ledang, Ola Wihlborg, Erika Pekkari and Äsa Gray) who produced different designs for IKEA vases.  These designs reflect the spirit of the time, at which they were made. 

Posted 19 June 2016

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As for their furniture, the glass vases were named in different series, of which some are still in production. They are made in large editions by machine production or hand-made in blowing glass studios enabling a good price versus quality ratio. 

Transparent vases
The first series of vases were produced in plain transparent uncolored glass with different forms and had a functional design to be used for flower arrangements. They were simple containers, designed by collaborators of IKEA in basic forms without any decoration, although some of them were designed to be objects that could stand alone.
The series “Rektangel” is based on a cubic form and is produced in different sizes and forms (Figure 1).  Similarly, the series “Kanist”, exists out of a cubic container that increases from the bottom to the top (Figure 2). The series “Cilinder” is based on a cylinder and is produced in different sizes. It was also edited in white glass (Figure 3).  Larger sized vases “Bladet” up to 30 cm, designed by Anne Nilsson, had a simple form, but by their size it was possible to contain large flowers or branches (Figure 4).

Figure 2. Kanist

Figure 3. Cilinder

Figure 4. Bladet

Figure 5. Matresa

Next to transparent vases based on simple forms like rectangles, cilinders or globes, more complex designs have been made in clear transparent glass.
Such a more complex form is seen in the “Matresa” vase with 2 conic bowls integrated in each other (Figure 5). The “Stelik” series, has a star-shape form, and refers to the famous Aalto vase by Alvar Aalto for Iitala, a typical Scandinavian design (Figure 6).
 “Vasen” designed by Åsa Gray is a vase that has an elegant feeling to it (Figure 7). The inspiration for this vase came from thinking about an armful of tulips, the first flowers you can buy in Sweden in the early months of the year, when spring still feels far away. But by its functional design it can be used for all types of flowers and bouquets. Also when it is empty, the form is elegant and nice to look at. It was produced in different sizes, of which the 20 cm version is still on sale.
Another recent series “Ensidig”  of transparent glass designed by C. Halskov and H. Dalsgaard refers to  milk bottles of the 1960’s, that have been cleverly adapted to be used as a vase, in the philosophy of recycling materials and forms.  They are produced in different formats to serve for different forms of plants and flowers (Figure 8).

Figure 6. Stelik

Figure 7. Vasen

  Figure 8. Ensidig

Next to these vases in transparent glass without any decoration, other transparent series in clear glass were produced with decorative features.
The designer Emma Dafnäs, placed decorative glass elements such as small buttons or flowers integrated in the form in the series “Snärtig” (figure 9).

Figure 9. Snärtig

Figure 10. IKEA PS 2012 vases

Figure 11. Värvind

Figure 12. Blomster

Ehlén Johansson, a Swedish industrial designer, designed the IKEA PS 2012 vase (2) and added a ribbling to the surface (figure 10).  “It all started when I visited a glassworks to learn more about working with glass. I also visited the Venice Biennale art exhibition and was impressed with the city’s architecture, something I think influenced my design as well. That’s why I made IKEA PS 2012 vase majestic. I wanted it to have a life of its own, even when it’s empty. If you get flowers, it’s possible to separate the vase into a larger and a smaller part, one for large bouquets and one for somewhat smaller ones.”

In the same series, incisions were made on the surface, referring to the designs in cristal vases produced by other companies (e.g. Val Saint Lambert).
Monika Mulder made the design for the “värvind” series. Its beauty is based on irregularity and the feeling of imperfection. They refer to handmade urns and half-inflated balloons, among other things. The vases have a strong character, while they also have a lot of spontaneity and playfulness (Figure 11).

Pia Amsell and Barbro Wesslander made the design for “Blomster”, a transparent blown vase with an added floral design decoration (Figure 12). It is a vase that can be used for small wildflowers or big, festive floral arrangements. By adding the floral decoration, the object can also be used as a stand-alone object. 

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