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INDUSTRIELL: celebrate the beauty of imperfection

Famous for using salvaged material to craft beautiful furniture, Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek has joined forces with IKEA to turn industrial production on its head and create a handcrafted collection for the many.

Blue patterned linen hanging on a line in a workshop.
Blue patterned linen hanging on a line in a workshop.
Piet Hein Eek holding up patterned blue textiles.

When you think about mass production, it’s easy to imagine big machines spitting out identical products. IKEA and furniture designer Piet Hein Eek wanted to challenge this idea with a new approach to making different kinds of products, from wooden furniture, to glass, ceramics and textiles. ‘Instead of being smooth and perfect, with INDUSTRIELL everything had to be rough and imperfect,’ says Piet of the new range, which includes tableware, linen, lighting and chairs. For textiles, this meant skipping straight-line embroidery in favour of hand-drawn-like designs that pushed the capabilities of the machines making them.

Rough cuts of wood stacked up in a workshop.

The aim was to give INDUSTRIELL an imperfect, human feel without raising prices, using industrial processes to create consistently unique products on a big scale. For wooden products made from pine, this meant using as much of the tree as possible. ‘We made a point of keeping what you could call imperfections, like knots and changes in the grain and colour,’ says IKEA creative leader Karin Gustavsson. For the ceramic vases in the collection, handcrafted moulds were designed so that there would be a variety of different shapes to choose from.

A wooden shelving unit in a workshop.
Ceramic vases and moulds in a workshop.
A pine chair standing on a work bench.
IKEA and I had been thinking about the same thing for ages – how to make objects feel more human and more personal while still having an industrial production process

Piet Hein Eek, furniture designer

Wicker lanterns hanging up in a warehouse.

Mass-produced and handcrafted furniture can seem like exact opposites. Both have their benefits – large-scale production lets you work out the most efficient way to produce high-quality pieces at a price most people can afford, while handcrafted furniture can be as individual as the person making it. Being handmade but serial-produced, INDUSTRIELL combines and celebrates the two. ‘I think INDUSTRIELL is beautiful because you can feel a personality behind the products,’ Karin says.

A portrait of Piet Hein Eek.

‘When I graduated from design school there was a great drive for perfection in design,’ says Piet. ‘If you made a thousand copies, they had to be identical, and there was nothing in the design that hadn’t been put in there by the designer.’ With INDUSTRIELL, Piet had the freedom to challenge that idea and let the raw materials take the lead. The final result is a collection designed to bring a warm, human feel to your home.

INDUSTRIELL is made to mix in with what you have and last for a long time, so hopefully the products become part of your personality too

Karin Gustavsson, IKEA creative leader

INDUSTRIELL is available in-store and online now