We all know that IKEA's main objective is to make furniture accessible to everyone. In recent years there has been a proliferation of signature collections that allow a wide public to own pieces signed, for example, by Virgil Abloh or Sabine Marcelis: this is the democratisation of luxury, which we discussed in a recent article, investigating the difficult marriage between mass production and art-design (or collectible design).
An increasingly popular trend lately sees the situation reversed: furniture designed for the masses, and originally available at popular prices, now reaches astronomical costs in (online) vintage furniture markets. On numerous e-commerce sites, you can buy IKEA furniture that has increased in value a hundredfold over time, sometimes costing more than 5000 euros.
“The most popular vintage Ikea pieces are from the 1980s and 1990s. I think this is because Ikea in this era began to define itself as a brand aimed at a youthful, urban and contemporary audience. The silhouettes are fun, eye-catching and colourful, even while maintaining a rather minimalist quality,” said Wava Carpenter, founder of e-commerce Pamono and the newest director of Design Miami, to The Guardian.
“There’s a rising market for 1960s Ikea furniture, which often looked like midcentury modern Scandinavia. It’s a bit less distinctive in terms of the brand identity, but it’s also pretty rare to find these days.”
To investigate this trend, we took a tour of the major vintage furniture e-commerce websites and selected the 15 pieces of IKEA furniture that are most sought after and coveted by collectors. In our search, we also came across the Instagram page @billy.forsale: a collection of vintage IKEA furniture, which held its first auction dedicated to the Swedish brand in November 2020.
In our selection you won't find the world-famous Billy bookcase, sold in millions worldwide and therefore anything but rare, but there are also some pieces of furniture designed by the same author: Gillis Lundgen.