At Stockholm auction, vintage Ikea goes high-end

At Stockholm auction, vintage Ikea goes high-end

The pieces, which date from the 1950s to the 1990s, are all marked with the stamp of the famous Swedish brand known around the world for its DIY furniture
The pieces, which date from the 1950s to the 1990s, are all marked with the stamp of the famous Swedish brand known around the world for its DIY furniture. Photo: Viken KANTARCI / AFP
Source: AFP

At a chic Stockholm auction house, 122 carefully-curated items with unusual provenance went under the hammer on Monday evening: vintage furnishings from flatpack furniture retailer Ikea was sold for a total of 37,000 euros ($40,000).

Collectors' interest has blossomed over the years for Ikea pieces that have become design icons, as the Swedish company -- normally known for more budget-friendly piece -- celebrates its 80th anniversary this year.

Inside the showrooms at Stockholm's Auktionsverk, the world's oldest auction house, a tubular sofa, a lacquered chest of drawers and even a pair of "space age" lamps take pride of place.

The pieces, which date from the 1950s to the 1990s, are all marked with the stamp of the famous Swedish brand known around the world for its DIY furniture.

"I've been working in the auction industry for almost 30 years, and if somebody when I started would have said that 'One day you will host an Ikea auction in a very nice showroom', I would have said 'No, no, that's absolutely that's not possible'," laughed Li Pamp, head of the auction house.

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"Ikea has in many ways been controversial," she noted, citing the company's history of copying and following trends and "criticised for environmental and sustainability reasons."

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"But there are also some items that stand out," Pamp said.

"Many very famous designers have been at some point in their career involved in Ikea. And for many, Ikea was the starting point of their career."

Tableware, furniture, mirrors, lights: more than 100 pieces curated from private homes were sold at Monday's auction. A red sofa sold in Ikea stores in 1972 for the equivalent of 120 euros went under the hammer for 2,000 euros.

With the vintage market booming, Li Pamp said many people could literally be sitting on unknown treasures
With the vintage market booming, Li Pamp said many people could literally be sitting on unknown treasures. Photo: Viken KANTARCI / AFP
Source: AFP

Earlier this year, an Ikea "Cavelli" armchair made headlines when it sold for 18,000 euros at another Stockholm auction -- a fortune compared to the around 27 euros it cost when it first went on sale in 1958.

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"As I remember it as a young child, if you wanted some cheap furniture you'd go to Ikea," said Thomas Raber, in his 60s, appearing elegant as he meandered through the showroom ahead of Monday's auction.

"You put it together yourself, and then when you'd had it for a few years, you'd throw it away," he recalled.

"And now 80 years later, it's here and it's being auctioned as a piece of art, an antique. I think that's fascinating."

'Journey back in time'

For Anette Aly, a 78-year-old Swede who bought her first sofa at an Ikea store in 1963, "it's a journey back in time".

"I see the things I saw 40-50 years in the store!"

The emergence of a high-end vintage market hasn't escaped the retailer.

"It's flattering. It's confirmation that we've created the greatest brand in over 80 years," raves Thea Mix Davidsson, collection curator at the Ikea Museum in the company's hometown of Almhult.

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The high prices for the coveted pieces are "the only thing that bugs us a little bit. We are meant to design for everyone."

Picking up on the trend for all things vintage, Ikea has launched a new collection with fresh takes on iconic Ikea designs, with the slogan "return to the future".

With that market booming, Pamp said many people could literally be sitting on unknown treasures.

"It could be that people have valuable Ikea items at home without knowing it," she said, urging them to give the auction house a call for an evaluation.

"We will of course help you!"

Source: AFP

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