Posted by Janice Simonsen on October 28, 2011

Carl Öjerstam has collaborated with IKEA since his student days in 1995. He’s created more than 200 products for IKEA, including the STORVIK rattan chaise lounge that was produced from 2001 to 2005 and which won the Red Dot Award for product design in 2002. (The Red Dot Award is an international award which has recognized excellence in design since 1955.) 

With all this IKEA experience under his belt, Carl knows what it takes to develop a new IKEA product. It all begins with a project brief and, of course, a price. The project goals for the new STORSELE chair? Make a chair. Make it black. Make it with rattan. And keep it under $120. Challenge accepted.

Carl also knew he needed to make it stackable, in order to save on transportation costs. Finally, and most importantly, the chair should be comfortable. “The comfort should be in the frame,” Carl says. “You should be able to sit in it without any cushions or textiles.”

After deciding on a concept to pursue—“I always look at different ways to achieve a final product. often  in the beginning, then it narrows down”—Carl sent off 3D sketches and basic dimensions to a factory in Jakarta, Indonesia for creation of the prototype. Then he visited the factory in person to try out the design. At the factory, Carl worked by hand to make adjustments to the prototype: cutting, tearing, taping and paying particular attention to the armrest, the seating curve and the flow of the rattan to ensure optimum comfort.

“I really sculpted out of rattan,” he said. “I sometimes like to work with my hands instead of just sitting at the computer.  For me there is a lot of joy in this type of process.”

“When working with IKEA, I enjoy the benefit of people interacting with my designs on a global scale because they’re affordable and accessible for many people to buy, own and use.”

Mission accomplished Carl! Starting this month, the STORSELE chair will be available in IKEA stores worldwide.

What do you think of the black rattan chair? Let us know!

-Janice

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