IKEA is coming full circle square. This week, the company announced the return of Lövet, the humble table that inadvertently sparked the flatpack revolution in 1956 when, in a fit of desperation, a young IKEA designer chopped off its legs in order to cram it into his car.
You see, for its first 10 years of life, Ikea was a pretty normal furniture company. Founded in 1943, it focused on producing low-cost stuff for growing families during the post-War baby boom in Sweden. But in 1956, an act of frustration by a young employee led to a market-wide revolution. Designer Gillis Lundgren — Ikea’s employee #4 — was taking the Lövet (“leaf”) side table to a photo shoot, and he couldn’t fit it into his car (a boxy hatchback, presumably). Like any good creative problem solver, he realised he could just saw off the legs and reassemble them at the shoot. His boss, IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad, liked the idea — and hired three more designers to develop similar concepts. Flatpack furniture was born.
The table is being renamed Lövbacken (“leaf return”) for contemporary audiences, and it will likely go for around $US60. As far as its design? It’s a slick dose of Mad Men-style Midcentury modernism served on three splayed, Noguchi-esque legs. It would’ve been hard to imagine in IKEA a few years ago, but if we’re judging by the Forty Year Itch, they’re right on target. [The Independent, via Curbed]