The above drawing is from Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek, best known for his scrap-wood furniture and shows the beginning of his cooperation with IKEA. His “Jassa Collection” will consist of several furniture pieces and decorative objects and will be launched in March 2018.
Cooperations like this have become already common since Karl Lagerfeld created a capsule collection for H&M back in 2004. They were the first to understand that for companies it’s better to be rather a “personality” than merely an organisation.
What Piet Hein Eek makes different is the complete openness about all aspects of the collaboration. For him not only the final product counts but the whole procedure and he speaks even frankly about failures along the process.
In the original contract from IKEA was included a secrecy clause which he asked to remove as he “cannot keep his mouth shut and ends up telling everything to anyone who will listen”.
Now everyone can read on the Piet Hein Eek website about the ups and downs and experiences during creating the collection. It’s a complete documentation from the first casual meeting, even details about the financial compensation systems and of course also about the trips and visits to the various factories.
Here some excerpts from Piet Hein Eek’s diary:
„At a certain point I realised that we have sold less than 5000 of our best selling chair in the last ten years and that IKEA makes thirty thousand units of a product at one time. So they make more chairs in one go than I would make of one product in my whole life. Their investment is therefore much more efficient than ours.
Everything they had been trying their best to achieve for the past fifty years was now being questioned. Instead of smooth and perfect it now had to be rough and imperfect.“
By describing the whole procedure of how developing the products, the visit at the factories and encounter with the local people, Piet Hein Eek becomes a storyteller. He proves that nowadays it’s not the mere product that counts but the whole story and people around it.
This cooperation ticks all the boxes of marketing with authenticiy, personification, storytelling and combining opposites with the philosophy of this collection „hand made – serial produced“.
I will be finally able to afford a Piet Hein Eek piece.