First Look: Ikea’s Wildly Experimental New PS Collection

From 3-D knitted chairs to vases made from waste material, Ikea turned its designers loose for its next PS Collection.

Every few years, Ikea releases its limited-edition PS Collection–a series of experimental products that aren’t intended to supplant its perennial offerings, but rather to add a jolt of energy into its stores.


In 2012, Ikea remixed designs from its storied past. In 2014, it invited a roster of design world favorites like Matali Crasset and Rich Brilliant Willing to create pieces with city-living renters in mind.

For its 2017 PS Collection, Ikea’s designers chose a theme they call “Young Urban Life,” delving into new material research, fabrication techniques, and product types.

Again, the PS Collections are never Ikea’s bread and butter–the goal isn’t to turn a profit. Rather, they represent forays and experiments that keep the furniture giant’s product line from feeling stodgy. For example, a PS 17 side chair uses 3-D knitting–a technique developed by the footwear industry that’s since been co-opted by the high-end furniture industry.

Looking for ways to use materials more efficiently–Ikea is notorious for its bad logging practices to quench its thirst for wood–the company also worked with one of its glass factories to remelt reject products that would ordinarily be thrown away, reusing the material for a handsome vase. Some of the more idiosyncratic products include a seating piece that looks like the love child of a Papasan chair and a rocker, a sofa that looks like it’s composed of pillows, and a throw blanket that can be worn like a jacket.

For the practicality-minded set, there are still a few space-efficient pieces, like stackable storage bins, collapsible side tables that fold away when not in use, and arm chairs that join to become a love seat.

“Ikea is for the many, but the many are different,” says Henrik Most Nielsen, a creative lead at the company who directed the 2014 PS Collection. (The creative lead behind the 2017 collection is James Futcher.) “We’re trying to attract customers who think Ikea isn’t at the front of design. We’re moving from basics to embodying a strong personality and style.”


So if the Swedish retailer has its way, you might walk into Ikea for a basic bookshelf and exit with a vibrantly festooned rug/jacket as well. Spy some of the prototypes in the slide show above in advance of the collection’s full launch in February 2017.

All Photos: © Inter Ikea Systems B.V. 2016


About the author

Diana Budds is a New York–based writer covering design and the built environment.