A set of products highlighted on a stage.

IKEA and Swedish House Mafia remix KALLAX to set the stage for more music

With the OBEGRÄNSAD collection, IKEA and Swedish House Mafia set out to make space for more music and creativity in the home. A given in the final line-up? A take on storage favourite KALLAX. James Futcher, Creative Leader at IKEA – and vinyl record enthusiast – tells us why, while Swedish House Mafia shares how the collection speaks to creatives starting out in music and beyond.

A trusty old EXPEDIT, predecessor of the KALLAX shelving unit, sits in the music room of James Futcher’s Malmö home. On top of it, a couple of turntables and speakers rest on a stand, while treasured vinyl records and CDs fill the cubes. Records and CDs holding memories of moments stretching from James’ childhood in England to present day in Sweden.

“One of the first vinyl records I remember buying was an album by Madness called Complete Madness, in London in 1982. I was 9, or 10. There’s this song on it, Baggy Trousers. It wasn’t like anything I had heard before”, James recounts fondly after sifting through his collection for the record.

Every record held and played triggers a memory – of the place it was bought, the period in life in which it was found, or the feelings felt during that very first listen of it.

“I think it’s really nice in this digital age, going back to something that is so physical”, says James.

I think it’s really nice in this digital age, going back to something that is so physical

A man with glasses and a black T-shirt standing in a room.
James Futcher, Creative Leader at IKEA.

It’s a sentiment seemingly spreading. Experiencing something of a revival in the past sixteen years, vinyl sales alone saw a fifty percent increase from 2020 to 2021 in the US, according to a report presented by MRC Data and Billboard. Similar trends of rising popularity are also spotted in markets like the UK and Sweden.

And while many, like James, have kept and grown their record collections over time, others are only just discovering the joys of starting the same.

“I can even see it with my daughter now, the excitement in starting to build your own collection”, says James about his sixteen-year-old, who he visits record stores with regularly. “It’s about owning a record. It’s yours, you enjoy it, you keep it. It becomes part of who you are.”

James shares that the topic of vinyl records came up early in the collaboration between IKEA and Swedish House Mafia, leading not least to the first IKEA record player since the 1970’s. And then, of course, there’s KALLAX. A beloved storage solution among vinyl record collectors – Swedish House Mafia and James included – it made perfect sense to include an update of the shelving unit in the OBEGRÄNSAD collection.

An IKEA KALLAX shelf with vinyl records and a record player.
KALLAX, a beloved storage solution among vinyl record collectors.

Setting the stage with the OBEGRÄNSAD shelving unit

A sketch of a KALLAX shelf with two record players on top.
Sketches of the OBEGRÄNSAD shelving unit from IKEA designer Friso Wiersma.
A sketch of a KALLAX shelf with two record players and two speakers on top.

“Many aspire to be a DJ, but not everybody has the opportunity to perform in front of a big crowd”, says James. “We learned a lot from Swedish House Mafia about the setups needed to make music. During the pandemic, we also started seeing people live stream DJ sets from their homes and studios using KALLAX as their stage. And we thought, ‘there’s a fun opportunity to do a small update of an iconic product for a collaboration around making and listening to music’.”

A black OBEGRÄNSAD shelving unit.
The OBEGRÄNSAD shelving unit looks much like KALLAX, only dressed in black and adjusted in height with an additional console storage section. 

The result? An OBEGRÄNSAD shelving unit much like the KALLAX, dressed in black and adjusted in height with an added console storage section. The cubes stay the same in size and shape, fit to hold around 50 records each as usual. But the added storage section is an adjustment inspired by the many people creating and playing music at home, making for a decluttered top to set the stage for a performance.

Exploring opportunities for a new take on products already in the IKEA range – such as the FRAKTA bag – was always a part of the conversation with Swedish House Mafia, says James. The group was particularly keen on the exploration due to the part that some of these products played in their lives starting out in a home studio of their own.

“We used IKEA furniture to accommodate our teenage lives as creatives, so the purpose of the collaboration was formed around our own journey”, says Axwell, while Sebastian Ingrosso further explains: “We’ve made pieces we wish existed when we used to build our own vinyl stands, working desks, synth stands.”

Swedish House Mafia
Swedish House Mafia.

We’ve made pieces we wish existed when we used to build our own vinyl stands

Sebastian Ingrosso, Swedish House Mafia.

Back then, their main workstation was an IKEA office desk setup that also inspired the OBEGRÄNSAD desk with speaker stands, modelled to create a golden triangle of sound. Around it, a storage solution made up of KALLAX.

“We used KALLAX as vinyl stands and vinyl storage. We had amps and other outboard equipment racked up in the shelving units, and basically surrounded ourselves with vinyl, samplers, synths, and equipment”, says Steve Angello.

A collaboration driven by unlimited creativity

Music inspired the development of the OBEGRÄNSAD collection through a focus on three main things you might want to do with it: listening to music, making music, and performing or having music on the go. A record player might play along with lights, a throw, and a chair to set the mood for a listening session, while a desk set up with a laptop stand and a desk lamp provides the right setup to work on a beat.

“Ideally, every piece in the collection can be part of someone’s creative journey, if you’re a musician, gamer, graphic designer or anybody”, says Sebastian Ingrosso. “There’s a lot in there to accommodate any person who values music.”

A room with a black desk, a black shelf, a black mat, and a black armchair.

“Music is a big part of many people’s lives. What’s made OBEGRÄNSAD such a rich, broad collection is that it really had everybody engaged, co-creating and giving ideas, reaching out to customers for input. It’s been a great, big collaboration with Swedish House Mafia, and within IKEA”, says James.

We’ve had many products in the range for storing vinyl. Now we have this collection, and we’ve got a record player to embrace music in the home even more.”

The IKEA and Swedish House Mafia OBEGRÄNSAD collection is set to launch in October 2022.

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