60 years of Ikea's textiles by prominent artists and designers are now on display

By Linnéa Pesonen

Photo: Ikea

Ikea Museum’s latest showcase, 'Magical Patterns' is an ode to the Swedish company’s rich history in textile design. Below, take a glimpse into its playful universe featuring 180 exuberant patterns

Besides functional furniture and delicious meatballs, Ikea has a vibrant history in textile design – an aspect which is front and centre of the company’s latest exhibition, ‘Magical Patterns’. Premiering at the Ikea Museum in Älmhult, Sweden, before it embarks on a world tour, the showcase spotlights some of the most popular and lesser-known Ikea patterns conceived by acclaimed artists and designers over the past 60 years.

We also believe that the patterns will bring memories and feelings to life, and hope that it will be joyful to go on a journey of discovery in the exhibition.

Anna Sandberg Falk, curator at the Ikea Museum

“When you browse among the fabrics, you quickly notice how many prominent artist names appear, which may be news to many. We also believe that the patterns will bring memories and feelings to life, and hope that it will be joyful to go on a journey of discovery in the exhibition,” says Anna Sandberg Falk, curator at the Ikea Museum.

Featuring 180 fabrics, 'Magical Patterns' offers a unique journey through Ikea's rich history of textile design. Photo: Ikea

Photo: Ikea

Ikea’s rich textile journey traces back to the ‘60s when the Swedish company began nurturing emerging design talent, providing a platform to display their innovative creations. One of Ikea’s most iconic collaborations commenced in the ‘70s when the brand partnered with the illustrious Swedish 10-gruppen (10 group), a collective of 10 designers featuring some of Sweden’s most prominent names in textile design, including Carl Johan de Geer, Inez Svensson, Britt-Marie Christoffersson, Birgitta Hahn, Tom Hedqvist, Lotta Hagerman, and Ingela Håkansson-Lamm. Pioneering with patterns that defied prevailing norms with their bold colours and creative composition, the collaboration stands out as a highlight of the exhibition.

“The textile department at Ikea was a brave bunch who believed in themselves and the patterns and dared to challenge. Sometimes you might have to fight a little extra to succeed – the ‘Striped Lane’ was hidden under the table in the textile department of the department store at first, but then quickly became a success,” says Sandberg Falk. “They dared to take risks and it paid off. And with hindsight, you can be glad that they dared, as several designs from this time have become hugely appreciated and set the tone.”

Bright hues and bold composition made many of Ikea's textile designers stand out in the '60s and the '70s. Photo: Ikea

The pattern created by Inez Svensson in 2005, featuring bananas set against black and white stripes, remains one of the most beloved from Ikea's collaboration with 10-gruppen. Photo: Ikea

In total, the ‘Magical Patterns’ exhibition comprises a collection of 180 vintage and contemporary fabrics arranged according to what the patterns represent. In addition to the works of the 10-gruppen, visitors can marvel at playful and striking designs by creatives such as Nina Jobs, Cilla Ramnek, Anna Efverlund, Lotta Kühlhorn, and Synnöve Mork, all of whom have played pivotal roles in shaping Ikea’s past and present as a beloved homeware destination.

“In the exhibition, the visitor can see what the creative process behind pattern creation can look like and be inspired about how to use textiles, colours and patterns in the home,” says Sandberg Falk. “We hope that our visitors will be inspired to dare to try colour and pattern, but also to see patterns in the things that are everywhere around us: in a fork, a banana or a flower.”

Ikea's 'Magical Patterns' exhibition runs from April 25, 2024, to March 2, 2025.