“Consumers have access to cultural diversity in cooking and eating from all over the world,” explains Ina Tidbeck Sjöblom, who works with the team that creates IKEA’s cooking and eating products. “They want to taste the best of all cultures.” People are adventurous too, with 69% saying they like to let their taste buds travel, trying new and different cuisines. “Which means that it’s not only in Asia that we need to have eating products for sushi,” Ina says.
Transculturalism is about figuring out how to make differences into similarities too—a trick VARDAGEN does without anyone even noticing. How? The collection is designed so single products work in multiple ways. Take the egg cup for example. It’s a staple on many European breakfast tables, but it can be something else too. “We did the egg cup in a shape that it’s more like a very small dip bowl,” explains Ina. “So it’s also for Asian eating, you know this small bowl where you put your chili paste and other condiments.” The small VARDAGEN bowl is another example of transcultural design. It’s the right size and shape to be the all-important rice bowl for Asian markets, and it’s just right to be used as a side-salad or cereal bowl in other parts of the world.
“We haven’t done anything like it before,” says Ina. “It’s huge.” VARDAGEN is the biggest collection of traditional cooking and eating essentials IKEA has ever released. And thanks to the versatility of the products, the series is uniquely suited to the global market—catering to the needs of eaters living from Hong Kong to New York and everywhere in between. One thing people all over the world seem to agree on is the importance of durability. “We know from all the studies and research we do that people don’t want to buy and throw away things, they want to buy something that lasts,” says Ina. “So, we chose to work with honest and durable materials that are long-lasting.” VARDAGEN is made from durable and sustainable materials, like glass, porcelain and stainless steel. That means, just like the name VARDAGEN suggests, they’ll be useful every day for many days to come.