2 1/2 years, 28 designers, 42 pieces: The challenge Ikea set forth-- to produce socially and environmentally responsible products using simple (often reused, recycled, and repurposed) materials. By all accounts the designers succeeded, often brilliantly. Using fish nets, recyled packing crates, bamboo and Indian newspapers to mention a few sources, the designers have created a range of products that are functional (storage, seating, tables) and decorative (vases, fabrics, cushion covers).
Hella Jongerius has created the Jonsberg series of four large vases, representing four different cultures and continents. They are even engraved or painted by hand, and still only $39.99. This is about $6920 less than a similar (though very limited edition and handmade) vase available at Moss. Even if you can afford the handmade one you'll want to pick up one of these. They are that good.
The new Ikea PS website is equally impressive, with product details, games and videos of the designers speaking about their products. Each one has an interesting story behind it.
We were also into the Ekhov bench, a simple red steel saw horse construction with birch seats; the Hamneda boxes and JÃ¤mshÃ¶g stationery made from Indian newspapers; and the Hylte serving stands in plastic and steel (right). Items range from $1.29 (for a simple wall storage unit) to $219 (for a birch dining table), with an average price of around $30.
Items will most likely not be available online, so check out the selection at your local Ikea store. Many items are already in stores, and all items will be out by March 2006. While these may be mass, they are small-scale mass in comparison to most Ikea items, and due to their unusual materials and fabrication not all items will be available in all stores at all times. So if you see a piece you want don't wait until next time to pick it up.