IKEA’s new collection couldn’t be more Indian

It’s made in India, inspired by India and is the Swedish giant’s tribute to India

When Swedish brand IKEA opened its inaugural store in Hyderabad six months ago, it caused a maddening traffic snarl on the roads leading to the outlet. Newswires everywhere went a little crazy reporting the astounding footfalls—40,000 people dropped into the 4,00,000 square feet store touted to be among the biggest IKEA outlets anywhere in the world. The fantastic opening only proved that the wait was finally over for house-proud Indians who had longed to do up their homes with IKEA offerings for many years now.

However, not many people know that Sweden and India have something else in common—their passionate love for textiles. This love story now finds expression in the brand’s new launch, ÄNGLATÅRAR, a soft furnishings range in pure cotton and jute, dedicated to India, and conceptualised by IKEA’s in-house designers, Akanksha Deo from India and Paulin Machado from Sweden. Playing with the two colours that dominate the two different cultures—indigo and Falu Rödfärg (red)—Deo and Machado synthesised an interesting interplay of ‘cool’ and ‘earthy’ against a neutral base of white. “The colours have been carefully selected and carry a deeper meaning with both countries’ rich heritage and history,” says Mia Olsson, Country Communication & Interior Manager, IKEA India.

Indeed, the history of these colours lends itself to imagery that could easily yield an epic. For centuries, traders from Europe were drawn to India for the country’s prized riches of indigo, a blue pigment derived from the green leaves of Indigofera Tinctoria, which grew in profusion on the dusty plains of Kutch. Falu Rödfärg, a deep rich red pigment, on the other hand, was discovered as a waste by-product in the copper mines of Falu in Sweden in the 16th century. It soon dominated the country’s whole landscape when its hoi polloi decided to clad their home exteriors in red to mirror the stately brick mansions of the rich.

ÄNGLATÅRAR though is less about class distinctions and more about accessibility; the products are priced between Rs 399 to Rs 16,990. Deo and Machado used the two colours to define traditional signs, shapes and alphabets from the two countries. But, instead of using Latin and Devnagari letters in their known form, they enabled each other to address them in innovative ways through brainstorming and critical feedback and manipulated the contours of the alphabets to yield a unique story.

Showcased on cushions, throws, sofa covers, bedsheets, and curtains, this collection is an Indo-Swedish love story, told in blue and red.

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