Art moves into the kitchen
What happens when you bring together a creative fashion designer, a curious product developer and modern printing technique? At IKEA, it's a recipe that resulted in KALVIA kitchen doors and drawer fronts that help personalize kitchens with a splash of art and fashion.
KALVIA kitchen doors were born during a new approach to the home's most traditional space—the kitchen. We know more and more people today have an open kitchen and living room. And people want to personalize their homes. So we wondered if we could help add character and style by making a kitchen door that doubles as a work of art.
That was the idea when product developer Anna Granath and her team turned to fashion designer Martin Bergström. Martin works with everything from art to stage costumes and has designed for IKEA before.
"I was attracted by the assignment because it felt new and a bit 'edgy.' This door is a strong contrast to traditional white kitchen cabinets."
An abstract picture with a unique pattern
When Anna visited Martin's studio in Stockholm for a first preview, she stepped into a room filled with pictures and paintings in different techniques and colours. These abstract artworks would eventually lead to KALVIA kitchen doors.
"Martin's way of working is very inspiring. His process takes time while he finds his way to the final result. Furniture design is usually very concrete and practical, but here we searched more for a feeling and a strong expression that reflected his style."
Martin sees no difference between this kitchen assignment and what he makes for the fashion industry or the theatre world.
"The working process is the same. I like to do many sketches and then search through the pictures as if they're maps. When the picture is abstract, the pattern is actually in the eye of the beholder."
New technology for tailored doors
Little by little, Anna and Martin chose six different parts from one of his paintings. The selected parts were printed out in actual size and taped onto high-quality kitchen doors. The challenge was that each door size should get its own picture, but they should all work together, too.
"There is a lot of life in pictures while the black and white colour scheme creates a calm overall impression," Anna says.
The project also involved a new printing technique. It's like a giant inkjet printer that prints the picture directly onto the door's foil surface. The technique is very flexible and can tailor the picture to each door's specific format.
Creative and timeless kitchen art
Anna is convinced that even in the future people will choose mainly white or neutral-coloured kitchen doors. But mixing in a patterned door in some places can create exciting effects and unique expressions.
"KALVIA can also be nice on a solitary piece like a sideboard that you build from kitchen cabinets and maybe place elsewhere in the hallway or in the bedroom."
Even Martin hopes that the doors will inspire people to more personal and creative solutions that are timeless, too. Although his background is in the ever-changing fashion industry, he does not see KALVIA as a passing fad.
"I do not like throwaway culture and I like that this door has a 25-year warranty just like all IKEA kitchen doors."