A colourful piece of fabric lying next to a sewing machine and a pair of scissors.

With the Nytillverkad collection, vintage IKEA designs are back in lively new colours

What better way to celebrate a birthday than to honour some of the highlights of the time passed since? To mark 80 years, IKEA does so with Nytillverkad – a colourful revitalisation of items from its treasure trove. We walked down memory lane with Rutger Andersson and Sven Fristedt to talk about their now iconic vintage IKEA designs – and what they really think of the Nytillverkad takes on them.

When designer Rutger Andersson steps into the IKEA of Sweden offices in Älmhult on a bright day in spring, it’s only his second time doing so since the 1990’s. The first time in the decades past since concluding his twenty years at IKEA was actually just a few weeks ago. He was then invited to have a peek at Nytillverkad, an upcoming collection that pays tribute to the rich design history of IKEA by revitalising some of its most iconic products
Rutger’s IKEA SMED coat hanger design from 1978 is one of them.
“It was the first thing I drew as a designer at IKEA. Most coat hangers back then were just these big ones in wood, and I wanted to make one that you could flat pack and assemble. That’s the IKEA signature, and it’s a lot more difficult than making good looking design for high-end brands. But the opportunity to realize my ideas the way I could here… I haven’t had that since”, Rutger recounts, smiling as he adds: 
“IKEA was a very good design school for me.”
A man in a black jacket and hat standing by a yellow coat hanger.
Rutger Andersson, designer formerly at IKEA.
Rutger looks over at a group of both vintage and new takes on SMED in various colours standing at the far end of the room. For a brief moment, he’s seemingly deep in thought.
“I must’ve gotten the inspiration from a cactus. It looks like a cactus”, Rutger says, chuckling lightly. It was quite some time and many designs ago, after all.

Bringing Rutger Andersson’s SMED to Nytillverkad BONDSKÄRET

On this day, Rutger has come to Älmhult to get more familiar with BONDSKÄRET, the new IKEA Nytillverkad take on the classic SMED coat hanger. He assembles one in lilac together with Rickard Jonsson, the IKEA engineer behind the update – noting the subtle changes made with curious questions and comments throughout the process. 
“I approve of this!” Rutger exclaims once the BONDSKÄRET is assembled, much to Rickard’s delight.
Two men kneeling over an IKEA flat pack.
"How good-looking!" Rutger says when he sees the tidy plastic-free packaging for BONDSKÄRET. Here he is unpacking the coat hanger with Rickard Jonsson, Product Design Engineer at IKEA. 
At first glance, BONDSKÄRET might just be the coat hanger SMED. The design is the same, as are the dimensions. But it has a few notable twists and tweaks. 
Like new, vibrant colourways in lilac and yellow alongside the original black. Or metal stretching smoothly all the way around the hook ends from their base, replacing previous plastic components. The latter thanks to both know-how and technology development that allow for shaping the material to that end with ease today.
Two hands holding a purple coat hanger.
The BONDSKÄRET hooks have shed the previous design’s plastic tips and are now made entirely of metal.
A man in a black jacket and a grey scarf assembling a purple coat hanger.
The legs of the coat hanger now lock upon assembly. 
But the change that ultimately excites Rutger the most sits at the base of the coat hanger. It’s a small but significant key added to lock the legs at a 120-degree angle, making for a much-appreciated stability improvement. To Rutger, that was the missing piece.
“I feel honoured to have SMED revitalized like this. It’s really well done now, a lot better”, he says. “I think it’s fantastic that you’ve found and picked up these products that can stand to be looked at and used again after so many years. It shows that there’s a future in their design”.

The IKEA design icons of the future found in the past

SMED and many of its bold, colourful contemporaries are undoubtedly having a moment in recent years. Long after first appearing in the IKEA catalogue of 1984, the iconic coat hanger has been a recurring fixture among vintage resellers. And it remains pleasantly familiar to many growing up or making a home in the 1980’s and 90’s.
Two pages from an old IKEA catalogue.
The SMED coat hanger was featured in the 1984 IKEA catalogue, then in black and white. Images courtesy of the IKEA Museum.
A woman in a white shirt sitting on a white chair in an office environment.
Karin Gustavsson, Creative Leader at IKEA.

With Nytillverkad, we wanted to find the icons of the future in the old and create a tribute to our eighty-year-long history at IKEA.

Karin thus led an exploration of the IKEA treasure trove to find and revitalize some of those very things for Nytillverkad. Looking through old catalogues as well as having many conversations with IKEA archivists, long-time co-workers, and designers past and present was all a part of the journey.
“With Nytillverkad, we wanted to find the icons of the future in the old and create a tribute to our eighty-year-long history at IKEA”, says Karin. “It isn’t meant to be a completely curated collection, but accents that could spice things up a bit in the range and in homes. I wanted them to stand on their own as well, like sculptures made to stand in any room”.
Such as Rutger Andersson’s SMED coat hanger, the iconic LÖVET table, the late Karin Mobring’s JERRY stool, and Sven Fristedt’s eye-catching fabrics. Some products made just the way they once were, redressed in new colours. Others, like SMED, further engineered to meet the stricter stability, quality, and flat-packing requirements of today – an important aspect of the selection and development process for the collection.
A collection of colourful IKEA vintage products standing in a room.
The first launch of the Nytillverkad collection features furniture, bedding, and accessories in new colours.

I had SMED myself back then. It’s a very special memory to me”, Karin says, adding enthusiastically: “And I grew up with Sven Fristedt’s fabrics, so it was very exciting to meet him in person”.

Visiting Sven Fristedt, a Swedish master of patterns

In a cosy loft apartment nestled in a small coastal town of southern Sweden, renowned Swedish pattern designer Sven Fristedt sits at his kitchen table, an eager look on his face. A small team from IKEA, Karin included, is visiting. They’ve brought samples from the Nytillverkad collection with them.

A man looking to the right. In front of him is a table with a colourful fabric.
Sven Fristedt, pattern designer, in his home in southern Sweden.

“Good quality, it’s really nice!” Sven says as he strokes the broad-striped Nytillverkad LAGERMISPEL cushion cover in white and yellow. It’s a redress of his ILEX pattern, launched in the 1983 IKEA catalogue.

But what he gets even more excited about, is the KRYPKORNELL pre-cut fabric, a slight update to his colourful, leafy BLADHULT design.

Two pages from an old IKEA catalogue.
Sven Fristedt’s colourful BLADHULT print first appeared in the 1980 IKEA catalogue as a sofa cover for KLIPPAN. Images courtesy of the IKEA Museum.

“I feel happy when I see this. I think it will be enjoyed, absolutely”, Sven says, gently stroking the fabric. He’s happy with the size of it, and playfully reminds Karin that “You can’t make it too small!” was an input he had early on.

Sven brings the team into his lively living room to share stories of his most active time as a pattern designer with the team, picking up and pointing at posters, books, patterns, and newspaper cut-outs to help illustrate.

A man standing in a living room, holding a book in his hands.
“I’ve always worked with leaves, and I’ve done many varieties, like that one I made already in 1965”, he says, pointing at a cushion with a black and white leaf print on his couch. “I’ve done small and very large leaves. It fits me well. I enjoy cutting in different types of paper a lot, which would automatically make round forms. I’m not too happy about working with rulers and lines, so that was that”.
Creating patterns and prints for IKEA from the mid 1960’s and a couple of decades on was great for that purpose, according to Sven.
“The most fun thing was that I got a lot of freedom”, he says, though adding that Vivianne Sjölin – range coordinator at the time, and the person who introduced Sven to IKEA – would have a say sometimes. “But the freedom to create was always there.”
In a room, two pillows and a piece of colourful fabric is placed on a chair.
The Nytillverkad KRYPKORNELL and LAGERMISPEL fabrics and cushion covers brought to Sven’s home. 
A wall with sketches and clippings from newspapers.
One of Sven's walls filled with memories from his career and more.
When asked about where he draws inspiration for his work, Sven shakes his head. He hasn’t figured out a good answer to that one yet, he says.
“Creating is my way of living; my every day is about it. Not that I sit and draw every day, I don’t. But I think about it often. When I sold my house I thought, ‘Now I’ll stop working’. But that was such a silly thought because you can’t just do that. My creativity is me”, Sven explains. 
“I don’t know if I want to keep doing patterns anymore, but who the hell knows. It would have to be something exciting that IKEA orders!”
A man standing leaning on a desk in a studio environment.

Sven and his patterns arguably once put Swedish textile design on the map. When Karin mentions this to him, Sven says he doesn’t tend to give the idea much thought at all.

“Imagine if I went around thinking, ‘God, I’m so big, I’ve meant so much. If they only knew that without me, life would be so damn boring’”, Sven says with a smirk, causing chuckles in the room. “But now with the exhibition of my work at Kulturen, which looks quite big, and seeing the number of fabrics and patterns that I’ve done over the years…”

Sven lights up when he speaks about the retrospective of his work at Kulturen in Lund, Sweden, noticeably honoured by the feature. He then falls silent for a moment, looking down while taking a breath that turns into a smile as he looks up again. His fingers brush against the KRYPKORNELL fabric draped over his work chair. Carefully, he concludes:

“I feel satisfaction, I do.”

The first launch of the Nytillverkad collection was revealed at the 2023 Milan Design Week and will be available in IKEA stores from July 2023.