A woman in green pants sitting on the floor, surrounded by other people.

Sabine lets light lead the way

From lifting spirits to setting the mood, light is far more to everyday life than simply a guide in the dark. For designer Sabine Marcelis, it's just as much inspiration and tool – not least in her new collaboration with IKEA. We talked to Sabine about the idea behind the upcoming collection, her fascinations, and how light comes into play with it all.

In Rotterdam, Studio Sabine Marcelis sits right at the harbour, its glass façade facing the exact point where the sun often sets in what Sabine herself describes as an amazing display of colours and light.

"This really nice, warm light hits the studio at the end of the day, where it bounces off all the mirrors. It's something very small and momentary, but it makes me super happy", says Sabine. "It for sure also influences my way of working, and the colour combinations return in my work".

Celebrated for work that thoughtfully highlights material properties and processes, Sabine can transform light play like spectacular sunsets and curious shadows into artful designs in the shape of, say, this IKEA Art Event 2021 lamp. In a new collaboration, Sabine joins IKEA for a new exploration of light, including and beyond its source. One that marks the start of a journey to strengthen the connection between the many people and the light in our homes.

"Sabine has a profound knowledge of colour, material, and light. With her insight and ability to materialise it in sculptural objects, we can create an emotional layer to light and show that it's more than just a function. It's about creating the feeling of a home", says Henrik Most, Product Design Leader at IKEA.

A portrait of a woman with white T-shirt and green pants.
Sabine Marcelis.
A pair of hands holding a glass vase.

The result will be a timeless range of products in different materials, shapes, and colours that promise to play with the surprising effects of light on wellbeing and life at home.

"Light is such an amazing tool to work with," says Sabine, who uses both natural and artificial light as a design tool. "It can really activate any project, whether static or moving. And when the light hits certain shapes, they can completely transform a space".

With curiosity as a guiding light

Sabine's career as a designer may actually have started in jewellery, seeing as she made and sold her own next to her parents' flower stall at New Zealand markets growing up.

"We were really encouraged by my parents to be creative. They didn't want us to buy anything for their birthdays. It was always 'make us something'", she says. "I always really enjoyed doing my own thing, thinking, how does this work? What can I learn? What can I make?"

A woman in green pants and a black T-shirt holding a glass plate.
Sabine during the product development of her new collaboration with IKEA.

Creating artful design for the many people

A hand holding a plastic tube, laying on a desk together with pens and product samples.

Sabine during the product development of her new collaboration with IKEA.

A big exercise in the collaboration has been to optimise material use and try not to create any waste. Keeping dimensions optimal for function, aesthetics, and the overall look while at the same time making sure it's all fit to flatpack.

"I haven't had to think of these things before because I never really designed in volume, but it's been really rewarding to land on the perfect proportion for something for optimal use of the material", says Sabine.

If you ask Sabine, one of the most fun parts about collaborating with IKEA is that the products land in so many different homes.

"People have the freedom and ability to make their own interpretations of your designs and place them in their very diverse interiors", she says, recounting her experience getting tagged in homes all over the world on Instagram for the IKEA Art Event lamp.

She wishes for the same with the upcoming collection, and also for the objects to evoke a sense of warmth and positivity.

"I truly believe that the things that you surround yourself with in your home do affect your mood. I hope people are conscious about their purchases and that when they do buy something and it lives with them in their home, that it sparks some happiness every time they see it. And I do hope that it keeps providing something new to discover."

The collaboration between IKEA and Sabine Marcelis will be in stores in October 2022.

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