Last June I went to the Ikea headquarters for their annual Democratic Design event where they discuss the company and present new designs and designers to the gathered public made up of journalists, bloggers, writers and staff.
One of the speakers was the British designer Tom Dixon, whose collaboration with the company had been announced the previous year. As we sat on his Delaktig sofas, configured in a myriad of different ways – which is the point – he told us how excited he was to work with the Swedish giant. I wrote about his plans and the five democratic design principles here if you are interested.
In brief, the sofa is the first one that has “approved hacks”. You can clip on a lamp, add a coffee table, move the cushions and back around so that it seats more people, or people facing different directions, or sleeping people. There are myriad possibilities and that is where we come to Bemz which has added another.
At the time, and currently on the Ikea website, there is only one look – the covers are plain – shades of grey, shades of blue. Much less exciting than the possibilities of the piece of furniture itself.
So Tom approached Bemz, who create custom-made covers for all Ikea sofas and chairs and suggested extending the collaboration still further. The result is the three covers you see here. Two – Superrock and Floral (a mix of 40/60 linen cotton) are for the sofa in its traditional sofa shape, while the third, Natural – a heavyweight greenish grey linen fits to all the cushions separately so you can create the shape you need to suit your space.
Bemz and Tom worked together to choose the fabrics and design the fit and style of the covers. Which are, I can tell you as they were all in the Mad House for a few days, gorgeous heavy linen and linen mix that is also soft to the touch. The two loose covers hide the metal frame and create a more relaxed look, while the fitted one gives a more industrial vibe to the piece, including handy pockets for remote controls and magazines and the like.
Tom has said that when Ikea approached him about a collaboration he wanted to do a cot and a coffin – the full circle of life – but that was deemed inappropriate. He decided instead to make a bed: “It’s the perfect unit of furnishing. Everyone needs a bed. It doesn’t matter if you’re in prison, camping, in the army, or on your deathbed [I’m guessing he really wanted that coffin] everyone needs a bed.”
Once you’ve bought the Delaktig, which is made by Ikea, you can buy bits with which to hack it (made by the Tom Dixon studio) including a task lamp, a coffee table and a magazine rack which can all be bolted to the main frame to mutate your sofa into a work, sleeping or entertainment space.”
And now you can choose a cover you like too. The floral version is very unexpected for Tom but Bemz said he wanted to create something that was quintessentially British for his Swedish collaboration. Superrock is a design that was hand-drawn by Tom and while it will appear in the rest of his 2018 collection, this version is unique to the Delaktig.
So now you can go forth and pimp your ikea bed. And if you don’t have the Delaktig, but have a different seating arrangement from Ikea you can always have a browse around Bemz and see if they have a new cover you fancy. They have more than 150 fabrics to choose from and have already collborated with Romo, Designers Guild and Christian Lacroix, among others.
Lesley Pennington, who founded Bemz in 2005, said: “We grasped the concept of Ikea as an open source platform a very long time ago. Our partnership with Tom Dixon and Delaktig raises the bar for collaborative design in the furniture industry and creates greater value and choice for customers”
All photos are by Megan Taylor