Their flowers, fabric and fika ready for the summer

An embroidery became a hefty ceramic cup and saucer with extra space for a cookie. A painted sun shines over a cityscape printed on a textile. The expectations were high when, for the first time, 26 members of the design collective Textilgruppen and Papperian gathered to see how IKEA used their art work for products in the coming summer collection.

Excitement is in the air at the store in Växjö, Sweden that is home to the design collective Textilgruppen and Papperian. The collective is one of Växjö county’s programs for persons with disabilities, and they are known for their creative mindset and bold, colourful designs. Today is the vernissage, and for the first time they will get to see how the artwork they sent away a year ago has been transformed into products in the coming  IKEA summer collection. Have they turned the embroidered flowers into printed fabric, or maybe something completely different?

IKEA is always looking for new talents to collaborate with. For the collection SOMMAR 2019, IKEA wanted to work with bold patterns and found the design collective in Växjö.

”We want to offer products that appeal to the many people, which is why we work with a large variety of artists and also look for talent outside the more traditional design arena. In this collaboration IKEA has managed to find a unique design that fits perfectly into the SOMMAR 2019 collection”, says Sara Ottosson, Product Developer at IKEA.

Sara Ottosson, Product Developer at IKEA, showing the prints from the SOMMAR 2019 collection.
Sara Ottosson, Product Developer at IKEA, showing the prints from the SOMMAR 2019 collection.
We want to offer products that appeal to the many people, which is why we work with a large variety of artists and also look for talent outside the more traditional design arena.

When the collaboration started two years ago the group was given different inspirational themes to work with associated with summer, eating, cooking, and decoration. The group arranged workshops and the work resulted in sketches, textile prints, embroidery and ceramics. Then the IKEA team collected the art work, and set about constructing patterns for production together with art director Magdalena Persson.

“We left Växjö with boxes filled with art and textile with fantastic patterns and colour combinations. We looked into how to transfer the shapes into patterns suitable for production. The collaboration has resulted in thirteen products,” says Sara.

These thirteen products are what the gathered group is very curious to see. They know what they sent away but they have no idea what it has turned into. In the Växjö store one item after the other is revealed and the room is filled with giggling and jubilation. First a flowery table cloth and a tray. Then big bolts of fabric with different prints, napkins, table mats, storage boxes and ceramics.

Lennart Lindqvist, one of the artists behind the collection.
Lennart Lindqvist, one of the artists behind the collection.
I believe that if you lose one ability you are compensated with another. Many people think that you can’t achieve anything just because you have a disability. This proves the opposite.

The teapot, milk pitcher, and cup and saucer now displayed on a table were from the beginning an embroidery. In the needlework the cup is chunky with a saucer with extra room for a cookie. Lennart Lindqvist, one of the artists, is satisfied when he can see that the extra space next to the cup is still there.

”The extra space next to the cup is brilliant. It is also good for anyone with a handicap since you many times only have one hand to carry things with,” says Lennart.

Lennart has been a part of Textilgruppen for six years and he describes it as a place where people care for each other. Thirteen years ago he suffered from amnesia, and after the memory loss he noticed that his creativity developed.

”I believe that if you lose one ability you are compensated with another. Many people think that you can’t achieve anything just because you have a disability. This proves the opposite,” says Lennart and points at the summer collection. His own contribution is one of three ceramic sculptures.

Artists from the design collective Textilgruppen and Papperian celebrating the vernissage of SOMMAR 2019
Artists from the design collective Textilgruppen and Papperian celebrating the vernissage of SOMMAR 2019

Elvir Krdzic, artist at Papperian, remembers that he made sketches of suns, and he can now see that they are shining on a city landscape printed on fabric.

”I did not know if the sun would be in the collection or not. I was surprised when I found it in the fabric pattern. I am really satisfied, it turned out really nice,” says Elvir.

The collection SOMMAR 2019 is scheduled to launch globally in February.