A pair of hands holding a cork base and a glass case.

Organize your memories

Your collectible action figures, handspun yarn for future knitting projects or the kids clay sculptures. We like to surround ourselves with things that mean something to us. But how do you display a collection beautifully or store the little things that have a room in your heart?

Our possessions reflect our personality and contain our memories which is why we like to display them. Why else keep your teenage daughter’s baby shoes or the souvenirs from your travels?

Personal things we keep make us happy and our homes homier. Only about one out of five of us view the things in our homes as strictly functional objects. Half of us keep objects that are connected to memories. One out of ten bring something when they travel to remind them of home, according to the IKEA Life at Home report, which looks at the everyday lives of people around the world.

“We collect things to spread a sense of peace in a chaotic world and to create our own sanctuary shut off from the noise of urban life. We are very good at storage at IKEA – things you want to pack away in a very rational way. How can we touch the emotional side of storage?” says creative leader James Futcher.

Portrait of James Futcher against a white wall.

James Futcher, Creative Leader for SAMMANHANG

A hand holding a round object made of ribbed glass.

SAMMANHANG glass case.

Asked people how they store collectables

To answer that, IKEA asked ten designers from all over the world to look at what people like to collect and how we can make it easier to make room for things that we love and mean something to us. Where do you show your vintage camera collection? How about a parent’s toughest challenge: children’s artwork?

That was the start of SAMMANHANG – an eclectic group of containers like glass vessels, boxes and shelves. These pieces, compelling in their own right, can bring a sense of order and beauty to a collection of meaningful objects. They can put memories and experiences into a context, or in Swedish, “sammanhang”.

Each product started with a story.

“One of the designers had just moved in with his girlfriend, and she had a lot of beautiful stuff everywhere. He came up with a very simple shelf to put on the wall. You can use just one, tens or hundreds of them,” says James Futcher.

An Australian designer duo decided to use rippled glass, distorting what’s in it when viewed from different angles.

Drawings of a room divider, next to a sample of ribbed glass.

Using different materials to create a feeling of display and hiding.

A white geometrical design with blue, black and grey details, on a red background.

First sketch on how you can use optical illusions to display your things.