British designer Ilse Crawford and her partner Oscar Peña assess design possibilities for containers for IKEA's new scented candles.

IKEA and Ilse Crawford create Scandinavian scents to bring nature into homes

Get ready to delight your noses and your homes! IKEA has created a whole new range of home fragrances – candles, perfume hangers and potpourri – to bring a sense of nature into our homes. What's more? London-based designer Ilse Crawford has created two of these scents and the candles' glass and the ceramic containers. The eight new scents will replace the range of fragrances available today. Inspired by the idea of creating an atmosphere of well-being at home, the scents range from outdoor bonfires to the Scandinavian forests, berries and meadows. We sat down with IKEA's Karin Gustavsson and Ilse to know more.

In February 2019, when Karin Gustavsson, Range and Product Design Leader at IKEA, went to Stockholm to attend the Design Week, she had the usual things on her mind – meeting designers, getting inspired by new ideas, knowing the latest in the design world, and so on. And while she met several designers, she also bumped into an old acquaintance - Ilse Crawford, a long-term collaborator with IKEA. 

 

They had several things to discuss, but the conversation soon turned to something new - home fragrances, a topic that interested them both. Karin and her team were mulling over changing the home fragrance range, and Ilse had developed a home fragrances range for a fashion and lifestyle company in New York many years ago. Not a big admirer of fruity floral fragrances, Ilse had a view on creating what she perceived as Scandinavia inspired scents – something rooted in nature, fragrances that are familiar and relatable for everyone.

Karin Gustavsson, a design leader at IKEA, worked closely with developing new home scents that will be available from April 2022.
Karin Gustavsson, Range and Product Design Leader at IKEA.

Recalling the meeting, Karin says she had no idea that the small conversation initiated then would lead to something so substantial three years later. 

 

In April this year, in collaboration with Ilse, IKEA is launching eight new scents – candles primarily, bringing in a whole new range of fragrances, which will replace the one available so far. Ilse and her team consulted on the overall direction of the collection. Ilse designed two specific scents and the containers, giving them extra attention so that they would be beautiful enough to reuse.

 

"We were beginning to feel that the scents were perhaps a bit outdated," says Karin, adding that IKEA had launched these scents at the beginning of this millennial. Reflecting the trend and preferences prevalent at that time, these 'gourmet scents' were primarily fruity, colourful, and bright.

 

While the traditional scents like vanilla and berries will still be available, they will be slightly altered., This is the first time IKEA will offer scents inspired by Scandinavia's nature and landscapes – beautiful meadows, forests, and greenery. 

 

"We wanted something Scandinavian, something closer to nature and more honest. Also, we did not want only to change the scent. These candles are a mix of paraffin and plant-based materials," says Karin, adding that by doing this, IKEA can appeal to the many people from around the world whilst still being sophisticated in a Scandinavian way.

British designer Ilse Crawford and her partner Oscar Peña assess design possibilities for containers for IKEA's new scented candles.
British designer Ilse Crawford and her partner Oscar Peña assess design possibilities for containers for IKEA's new scented candles.

The plant-based materials that Karin refers to include soy wax, shea butter, and rapeseed oil. These candles have a burn cycle of approximately 12 to 60 hours.  

 

Besides the candles, these scents are also available in paper hangers for the first time to help one create small pockets of fragrant spaces within their home, be it the cupboard or a suitcase. 

 

A scent – for all activities at home 

Like all IKEA products, the new scents have been crafted to help create a better everyday life at home. For this, these home fragrances have been inspired by the idea of creating well-being at home. 

 

Scents can play a role in relaxing us because our sense of smell is primal, distinctly connected to memories and even emotions. 

 

"Scent can change the feeling of a space and thus how we feel in spaces," says Ilse. 

London-based designer Ilse Crawford smells a candle sample as a part of her process to create new home fragrances for IKEA.
Ilse Crawford smells a candle sample as a part of her process to create new home fragrances for IKEA.

This unique power of scents is why home fragrances are increasingly becoming an important aspect of home furnishing. They can elevate our experience of home and amplify everyday life. 

 

IKEA and Ilse have been working together for several years now. In 2015, IKEA launched SINNERLIG – the first designer collaboration with Ilse. This collection was highly appreciated and the SINNERLIG pendant lamp has become an icon product. Last year, IKEA and Ilse came together again for a long-term collaboration to create a number of smart, beautiful, and timeless home accessories, including vases and candle holders.

 

The scent of IKEA

All the new eight scents have been developed individually to match different everyday activities of life at home. Of these, two new fragrances – ADLAD and ENSTAKA – are designed by Ilse and her team. ADLAD, for example, has a soft and gentle scent of trees to remind one of the trails they may have taken during a holiday or morning walks. 

 

"Not wild, more friendly, and welcoming like a Scandinavian forest. It's the scent of home, the scent of IKEA. A familiar and genuine woody fragrance which is also clean and distinct – a modern interpretation of IKEA and the company's historical roots," says Ilse.

London-based designer Ilse Crawford has joined hands with IKEA to create new home fragrances, which will be available in IKEA stores from April.
Ilse Crawford has joined hands with IKEA to create new home fragrances, which will be available in IKEA stores from April. 
A hand holding a match lighting a candle
One of the ENSTAKA candles, designed in collaboration with Ilse Crawford.

With the timeless fragrance of smoke from a stove or fireplace, ENSTAKA, on the other hand, is more intense. It evokes emotions connected with fire traces of human presence and our instinctive need for warmth and safety. 

 

"There is something that is forever grounding in nature. We wanted to bring the instinctive memory of nature back into our homes, through scents – particularly for those of us around the world who live in dense cities and don't have immediate access to the outdoors", Ilse adds.

 

These scents can be experienced through different products - from tealights to glass and ceramic containers to paper hangers. Ilse has designed ceramic containers, which are available in beautiful muted colours like dark red, shady pink, natural green, white, and earthy brown, among others. She has also designed the 50-hours glass containers, which have a unique design for each scent. 

British designer Ilse Crawford is working in her studio for creating two new candle scents and containers for IKEA.
Ilse Crawford is working in her studio for creating two new candle scents and containers for IKEA.

Both 50 hours glass and the ceramic containers have been designed by Ilse for an "after use" life. 

 

"The second life of objects is very important to us. We wanted the containers to be kept rather than discarded. So, we focused on making beautiful everyday objects. The quality, materiality, and tactility were something we took special care to get just right," says Ilse.

 

What's more, the containers are food-grade, so they can be used for a host of purposes -– for drinks, for seedlings or as plant pots, as a bathroom storage container, or even as a jar for jams, holding a place of pride in our homes.

 

The eight new scents will be available in IKEA stores from April 2022 and the Ilse-designed ceramic container candles from July 2022.

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