This publication has not historically been kind to IKEA, Swedish purveyors of indubitably economical and functional furniture that unfortunately offers nothing in the way of character, sustainability or good taste.
But today is a new day, and I am confronted with a new IKEA: that of Spänst, a collection of painfully hip home furnishings designed in collaboration with L.A. streetwear brand Stampd.
Like most things IKEA, the pieces here are almost comically modern: minimal design, high function and a limited color palette (see: jet black and ivory white), presumably to help style-wary bachelors and post-grads decorate their homes without having to consider whether, say, a vibrant Turkish kilim rug complements a burnished brown leather couch.
IKEA Spänst Collection With Stampd (4 images)
But unlike IKEA's ubiquitous permanent collection, everything bearing the Spänst label feels like a part of a whole: sure, transparent, stackable shoe boxes aren't exactly transformative on their own, but paired with a stark black wardrobe and these delightfully versatile LED sticks, they feel cool, compelling and considered.
Admittedly, these pieces have a certain subset of mobile young creatives in mind: the shoe rack can accommodate skateboards, the desk doubles as a DJ booth and there's even a grown-up version of one of those NERF baskbetball hoops that attach to your doorframe (for about $1,350 less than the one that inspired it, we might add).
We're also a bit perplexed by the utility of the bar stool, which amounts to a foam butt pad coiled around a step ladder:
But overall, Spänst — like IKEA's forthcoming home audio range with Teenage Engineering — represents a welcome breath of fresh air for the retail giant, and (we hope) a sign that more exciting collaborations are in the pipeline.