Monday, 22 July 2013

Ikea's old new table

The first piece of flat-pack furniture Ikea ever sold? Right here.

And now Ikea is reissuing this 1956-designed classic, and selling it again in stores for £40 from next month after designers there recently found the original drawings for it in the company's archives.


The new table, renamed the Lövbacken, is almost entirely faithful to the original design, with its classic midcentury foil-tipped, tapered beech legs and classic 1950s shape. The only modern concession to the manufacture of the table is that the top is now made from MDF, coated with poplar veneer – the original used Jacaranda wood. Shame. Still looks good though.

Back then, the table was released under the name The Lövet – meaning "the leaf" – as you can see in the catalogue page below. I like some of those other items too – the Newe is pretty good, and I wonder if the Pastell was the prototype for the classic Bekvam stool (which probably should have been on this list). Although Ikea had these images of the table in its archives, the company had long though the original drawings had been lost over time – and those are what the design team recently unearthed.



And you can blame a chap called Gillis Lundgren for the hours you may have spent cursing the loss of a tiny crucial screw somewhere on your living room floor. Lundgren was the Lövet's designer and, so the story goes, after creating the table he struggled to get it into his car – but it had already been photographed for the catalogue... So, rather than rethink the design, he simply sawed off the legs to make it fit.  And thus the Ikea flatpack was born. Considering the table is just 51 centimetres high, I reckon Gillis Lundgren must have been driving around the Swedish countryside in a two-seater sports car. 

Once the table is released officially, you'll be able to buy it here

And if you're interested in knowing more about Ikea's history, you can read the piece I wrote about its rise, and our love-hate relationship with the retail behemoth, for the Independent Magazine last year.

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