From coaches in Sweden to homes across the world
Imagine riding in a horse-drawn coach in the 1700s or 1800s. The clip-clop of horses' hooves. The slight back-and-forth swaying. A richly detailed cushion on the wooden bench beneath you. This was the inspiration for RÖDARV—a cushion for today's homes that embraces the Swedish tradition of wool embroidery and coach cushions.
It all started as an IKEA textiles team went to a museum called Regionmuseet about an hour away from the IKEA headquarters in Älmhult, Sweden. The museum housed a collection of Swedish textiles dating back to the 1600s.
The team was especially drawn to embroidered cushions of the 1700s and 1800s from Scania, Sweden’s southernmost region. Back then, women crafted lots of textiles for their homes and started at a young age to make pieces for their dowry that would become part of their new home once they were married.
Women even made coach cushions so that journeys would be more comfortable. These cushions were used at home, too.
"They were so striking because of the free, naive way of embroidering combined with the strong, beautiful colours," explains Susanna Leo, a design coordinator who was part of the team. "Each cushion is unique and carries its own history. It's creativity on the highest level."
Designed with imagination and modernity
Plants, people, geometric patterns and animals usually appeared on the traditional Swedish coach cushions that inspired RÖDARV cushion.
"The motifs of the old coach cushions are full of imagination and aren't always perfect or symmetric, which shows traces of the hands that embroidered them," Susanna says.
RÖDARV is a modern interpretation that captures the genuine feeling we wanted.
So, even though our modern lives don't call for coach cushions anymore, maybe you'll hear a faint clip-clop of history the next time you cosy up with a RÖDARV cushion.