Everyday things, unexpected identities

The winners of the annual Ung Svensk Form competition were announced yesterday at the Stockholm Furniture Fair. Tessa Geuze was the proud winner of the IKEA stipend with her work “Identity of Things”.

Ung Svensk Form (Young Swedish Design) is a competition that showcases the most interesting and groundbreaking work by up and coming designers in Sweden. Twenty works, from over four hundred entries, were selected by an independent jury of designers, architects and other creatives, to be part of a touring exhibition. This year, IKEA designer Nike Karlsson was on the jury as well as one of the founders of 10-Gruppen, Tom Hedqvist.

Hosted by the national design organisation, Svensk Form, IKEA sponsors the event and also gives a stipend to work with the IKEA design department in Älmhult for five months. Many in-house designers at IKEA are past winners of this stipend, for example, Hanna Dalrot and Mikael Axelsson.

IKEA supports Ung Svensk Form in order to “give something from IKEA to the new young crowd as well as looking into the future of design,” said Marcus Engman, Head of Design at IKEA.

This year’s winner is all about fulfilling emotional needs and this is something we are aiming for as well.

Whilst announcing the winner of the stipend, he explained that Tessa’s work is tapping into a change that is going on right now. “We at IKEA have been focused for so many years on fulfilling functional needs. This year’s winner is all about fulfilling emotional needs and this is something we are aiming for as well.”

A very happy winner. Young designer Tessa Geuze and Design Manager at IKEA, Marcus Engman.
A very happy winner. Young designer Tessa Geuze and Design Manager at IKEA, Marcus Engman. Erika Zinders

Tessa’s collection, “Identity of Things”, explores the coexistence of human and product (or lack thereof). As consumers, we surround ourselves with too many things that we don’t care about. Tessa believes that designers could play a role in curing this poor relationship by playing with ideas of the user, usability and user-friendliness.

Tessa believes that designers could play a role in curing this poor relationship by playing with ideas of the user, usability and user-friendliness.

The work consists of three different objects: Almost a Hairdryer, Not Quite an Iron and Nearly a Shower. They are truly multi-functional, but not as you expect; one of the appliances can both pop popcorn as well as your iron clothes. You can read more about the work here.

“As she pushed her objects to the future, she forces us to think a step further,” said Petra Lilja, Industrial Designer and jury member. “She had a vision, and that is why she was awarded this prize.”

Tessa’s immediate response is of pure happiness, along with a little shock. “I only found out last night when a friend texted me and congratulated me on the award,” said Tessa. The news was taking it’s time to sink in.

Tessa was born in the Netherlands, first moving to Sweden as an exchange student. She recently completed her Master’s in Industrial Design at Lund University.

Tessa’s project views objects in a new light, injecting a little fantasy into the everyday. The way we see the world today is absolutely not the way we have to see it tomorrow.

Tessa Geuze explaining her work
Tessa Geuze explaining her work "Identity of Things" to a visitor of the Stockholm Furniture Fair. Erika Zinders