In a kitchen, a cutting board is filled with lime fruits and small green bowls.

Shaping stories of celebration for the IKEA ÖMSESIDIG collection

The decorations are up, the table is set, and the extra stools are at the ready. Together with nine creatives from Chile, Colombia, and Mexico, IKEA is set to launch ÖMSESIDIG, a collaboration centred on celebration. We sat down with ÖMSESIDIG designers Liliana Ovalle and Abel Cárcamo Segovia to talk about family, festivities, and some of the joyful memories that inspired their works for the collection.

In a time when gathering seemed impossible, industrial designer Liliana Ovalle contemplated some of her dearest recollections of it for work. Sat in her London home, far away from her native Mexico and most of her family, she’d close her eyes to help bring them closer. Soon enough, one memory stood out: the traditional Sunday family gathering, and all the heart-warming sights, sounds, and smells that come with it.

“We’d gather at home or in the park in Mexico City. The kids would always be playing with balloons or – on special occasions – be excited to break into the piñata and collect pieces of it like trophies to bring home. There’d be music, like the Mexican boleros my dad would always play. I’d help my mom set the table, decorate, and make the lemonade. And there’d be limes everywhere”, Liliana shares, adding with a chuckle: “Our family was relatively small in the city with about fifteen of us there. When I’d go to my family’s home province, it felt more like hundreds!”

A dark-haired woman with glasses sitting in a living room in front of some green plants.
Liliana Ovalle, industrial designer. 

I’d help my mom set the table, decorate, and make the lemonade. And there’d be limes everywhere.

A colourful kitchen with a table, a chair, two stools and a garland hanging across the room.
The ÖMSESIDIG collection involves 30 products – including serveware, fabrics, bags and decoration – designed by nine Latin American creatives to interpret and encourage celebration.

“There was a liberty for everyone to instinctually head down the path we were personally most interested in to tell our stories”, Liliana shares, joyfully adding that it allowed her to follow a tasty obsession that always reminds her of home: limes.

Setting the table for IKEA with memories of Mexico

A staple in Mexican cuisine, the common, small, bright green lime is everywhere to be found in the country – not least at a celebratory feast. Its juice is a given as much in lemonades, like the one Liliana would make with her mother, as in dressings and marinades for salads, soups, and even on fruits and snacks. The lime fruit itself will often dot dining tables both in and outside the home, cut in halves or quarters, squeezed dry as it fulfils its purpose as treasured condiment.

And though a lime squeezer was an early idea for a product, Liliana eventually realised that it was the familiar, vibrant visual of limes that she wanted to capture for the ÖMSESIDIG collection.

“Making something inspired by lime for the first time, I asked myself what I could do to better understand it. I really like working with three-dimensional models, so I was cutting limes in different sections, squeezing them, making models of modelling clay”, Liliana smiles, mimicking the movements as she describes the process.

A sketch showing four green bowls with different shapes.

Concept sketches for Liliana Ovalle's small ÖMSESIDIG serving bowls inspired by limes and their important role in the Mexican kitchen.

Two green bowls standing on a work top in front of a bowl of lime fruits and a plate of sliced lime fruits.
The small, lime-inspired ÖMSESIDIG serving bowls.

Finding similarities in celebratory objects across the world

A person sitting on a wooden stool playing guitar.
The ÖMSESIDIG stool designed by Liliana Ovalle references Mexican vernacular craft.

Take the ÖMSESIDIG stool, for example. A clear nod to Mexican vernacular craft, like much of Liliana’s design work at large, its similarities to ancient Viking stools and old European milking stools made it even more appealing to work with for the collection.

“To me, design is a medium for developing narratives and generating experiences that create curiosity among people”, says Liliana. “And it’s interesting to think of how some experiences or objects that we consider local connect to others, beyond borders, especially with celebrations”.

You have to be there on Sundays to enjoy the food, the music, to listen to the stories and catch up on what everyone is doing. We really like to be with family in this way.

Abel Cárcamo Segovia, designer.

A Chilean tradition brought centre-stage in a celebratory feast

For ÖMSESIDIG, I really wanted to tell a story that is representative of my country, but also of myself.

A black haired man in a grey and red checkered jacket standing in a room.
Abel Cárcamo Segovia, furniture and objects designer.
A sketch showing the moves of the Chilean La cueca dance.
Early sketch explorations for Abel Cárcamo Segovia's ÖMSESIDIG serveware inspired by the cueca, Chile's national dance.
A black and white sketch of serve ware.
Abel's ÖMSESIDIG serveware designs inspired by the cueca dance take shape.
A table set with glasses and white serving bowls.
The ÖMSESIDIG off-white serving bowl and spoons, along with the ÖMSESIDIG serving tong, were designed by Abel.

“I’m very happy with these products for ÖMSESIDIG. They tell this story of my country but also my own way of being and creating. And I love the idea of people enjoying it in this very simple and subtle form anywhere, noticing the details, maybe feeling a hint of the story behind it”, says Abel.

The extra cheerful smile makes another appearance as he notes that soon, his ÖMSESIDIG designs could be dancing on tables set for celebration across the world.

The ÖMSESIDIG collection will be available in IKEA stores starting April 2023.