Ikea’s top design chief reveals the company’s best product of all time

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Ikea’s Klippan sofa through the years.
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Ikea

Since its founding in 1943, Ikea has become the world’s largest furniture maker, with over 300 stores in 38 countries. The company’s design manager, Marcus Engman, started working there at age 16, and has stuck around for his entire career.

In an interview with Business Insider, Engman revealed his favorite Ikea product of all-time: the Klippan loveseat.

Engman’s father, Lars, designed the loveseat for the Scandinavian furniture giant in the late 1970s. It was first released in 1979, and is still one of the most popular sofas that Ikea sells today.

Marcus Engman says it’s easy to understand why so many households have bought the Klippan over the last three decades. The sofa comes in a standard two-seat size, which fits easily through most house doorways. And its owner can transform it with interchangeable fabric covers, making the design easy to adapt to evolving styles. (In addition to standard cotton covers, Ikea also sells limited-edition collections of covers every year.)

“You can change its color and live with it for a long time,” Engman says.

The first Klippan model featured a wooden frame, but the modern version’s frame is made of less expensive, more lightweight materials: particleboard, polyurethane foam, and fiberboard. The legs are now made of aluminum, while earlier models stood on painted wood legs. In 2004, the sofa’s parts were redesigned to fit in a flat-pack box so anyone could assemble it at home. These changes have allowed Ikea to decrease the price of the Klippan by 40% since 1979, according to Bloomberg.

Depending on the color, the sofa ranges from $249 to $299 in the US – a low price that Engman believes helps the Klippan appeal to many first-time apartment owners.

He adds that the item carries many personal memories for him. When he was younger, Engman’s father brought home many models of the sofa during its development.

“I remember when he brought it home for tests, and he asked me and my sister what we thought of it,” Engman says. “I have a lot of fond memories with that sofa, and I’m glad that it has survived for so long.”