A woman in a yellow dress standing in front of a wall filled with lamps.

IKEA and Sabine Marcelis bring warmth to light with VARMBLIXT

Together with designer Sabine Marcelis, IKEA is setting out to bring more warmth to the home through VARMBLIXT. At the heart of the collaboration? Four fascinating lamp designs that launch a movement in the lighting range at IKEA. We spoke to product developer Chiara Ripalti about the beauty she sees in light and the development of VARMBLIXT with Sabine Marcelis, who in turn shares how warmth and wonder are woven in throughout the collection.

Beauty has long been a source of fascination to Chiara Ripalti. Once a student of art and design in Italy, now a Product Design Developer for lighting at IKEA in Sweden, she’s spent much time reflecting on what and where beauty is – and the impact it can have on everyday life.

“Beauty is such a personal emotional experience. You find something that is a unique combination of colours, a balance of shapes, a harmony, and you just feel it inside yourself. It’s so important”, says Chiara.

A few things that are beautiful to Chiara, off the top of her head: A simple vibrant green colour, like that of the green shirt that tops off and nicely contrasts her otherwise all-black outfit of the day. Or the shadows cast on a space from a window washed with light.

“Light is a functional thing, but to me, it’s also just beauty. And I believe that if you have something that makes you feel like this in your home, you will live better”, she says, noting that not least in lighting, much that is focused on making the most of its form is often only afforded by few. “To democratise beauty is something we should really think more about.”

It’s a perspective that Chiara brought to her work on VARMBLIXT, a range of lamps, serveware, rugs, and more designed by Sabine Marcelis for IKEA. To Chiara, the development of the collection involved putting ideas on the importance of form that she already deeply believed in at work, while also broadening her perspective on light at home.

A woman in a blue shirt and white T-shirt standing in front of a white wall with rounded lights.
Chiara Ripalti, Product Design Developer at IKEA.
A series of rounded white lamps hanging on a white wall.
The VARMBLIXT circular and linear lamps, both in metal, set up in installations at the IKEA Festival in Milan in June 2022.
Linear bended lamps in steel hanging on a wall.

Lamps designed by Sabine Marcelis to keep light and shadow at play

Simple to the eye, the designs of the two textured, matte, and largely opaque metal lamps in VARMBLIXT are rooted in an idea from Sabine to shape a line of light with a simple gesture. The circular lamp constitutes a complete line, top half curved slightly for light to wash onto the wall from there. To play with its design, its colour also has a particular purpose.

“The typical wall at home is often white, and I wanted the lamp to blend in, so that you notice the play of shadow and light a lot more”, Sabine explains.

A woman standing next to bended lamps in metal.
Designer Sabine Marcelis with the installation of VARMBLIXT linear lamps at IKEA Festival in Milan.

The statement lamps made of glass – a favoured material in the collection – on the other hand, were a bit more challenging in aspects like production and flat packing with the scales at hand.

The fragility of glass was among the challenges, and a special treatment to make it sturdy enough to not completely collapse upon breakage among the solutions. Another key development regards the eye-catching doughnut lamp, a recurring shape in Sabine’s work. 
“It was challenging to refine the connection between the mounting system and the glass element in the doughnut lamp so that it could function equally well as a wall light and table light”, Sabine shares. 
“I’m used to working with glass in a flat sense, like layering sheet glass, but with VARMBLIXT a lot of items are blown glass and really three-dimensional. It was very cool to see how the suppliers worked towards getting it exactly how I imagined it”.
A woman in a black shirt holding an orange coloured glass lamp in her hands.
Designer Sabine Marcelis inspects a prototype for one of the VARMBLIXT serving bowls.

Sparking light and warmth across the home

A mirror with light hanging on a wall next to a vase.
The VARMBLIXT LED wall/mirror lamp.
A table with five glasses on a tray.
The VARMBLIXT drinking set.
The IKEA and Sabine Marcelis collaboration VARMBLIXT will be released across IKEA markets in February 2023.