Tomas Jelinek grew up in what today is the Czech Republic where he studied at the School of Design and Crafts in Brno, where he got inspired by the legacy from Josef Frank and his colleagues in the Vienna School.
During the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 Jelinek left for Sweden where he got employment by IKEA, first at the catalogue department and later in the design studio. During the 1970’s and 80’s Jelinek designed several well-known pieces and series for IKEA, beginning in 1970 with the flexible storage unit Fembo. In 1972 the armchair Kadett was launched, made of chromed thick steel pipes and a woven seat in beige it was unusual in not being colorful.
In 1975 Jelinek designed the wheeled bedside tables Strajk that where presented in the IKEA catalogue in 1976. Strajk is like Kadett made of chromed steel pipes but with surfaces in laminate and a cotton fabric pocket on the back. Four years later Jelinek designed a children high-chair for the Mickel-collection. The high-chairs was made of red steel pipes and a red and white striped plastic seat.
Together with fellow designer Karin Mobring, Jelinek was chosen to work on IKEA’s collection STOCKHOLM, with classical, comfortable, and elegant furniture that most of the customers could afford. The result of Jelinek and Karin Mobring work was launched in 1985 and was designed as a tribute to best of Swedish and Central European furniture tradition. The furniture was made of the best material on the market, the wooden pieces of Nordic birch that could be bought in clear – or white lacquered or stained in red and brown.