The Design Duo Behind 1,600 IKEA Products
The Hagberg siblings, the Design Duo Behind 1,600 IKEA Products
Meet Marianne and Knut Hagberg, the sibling designers behind some of IKEA's most iconic pieces. With over 1,600 products to their names, this duo has shaped our living spaces for more than four decades. From the beloved Pussel furniture range to the award-winning Omtänksam chair, this article provides a closer look at the artistry, collaboration, and enduring influence of the Hagbergs.
“Over 40 years I’d say we’ve had roughly 1600 products go into production, and that’s not counting the things that never made it.”
The quote is from designer Marianne Hagberg, half of the famous Hagberg designer duo. The siblings Marianne and Knut Hagberg have been working at Ikea´s design department for more than forty years, designing an incredible number of products together. Lots of them have become enduring and loved by a whole world of consumers. Others have been fully developed, but not set into production and sales.
Marianne Hagberg (b.1954) and Knut Hagberg (b.1949) are both trained furniture and interior designer at Copenhagen Technical College, graduated in 1978. The year after they started their career at Ikea and stayed in their positions together until 2021. During a period of over forty years they have seen CEOs, Design Managers and design trends come and go. To survive and develop in such an fickle environment indicates a strong will and personal integrity. And of course a great deal of talent, creativity and technical ability.
The core of Marianne and Knut Hagberg´s successful partnership can be named honesty - always telling each other what they think. There are no short-cuts in their work process and no computers involved. All their sketches and drawings are still made by hand, as the link between hand and eye always has been an important part of their common design process.
You would most likely know quite a few products of their design and have probably even experienced some of them in use. One of their best-known furniture range is Pussel, designed in 1986. The playful shapes and bright colour-scheme of these children’s chairs and stools are typical for the 1980s post-modern international style, inspired by the Italian Memphis Milano group. Pussel came to be a world wide sales success and is still remembered as a corner stone of the Hagberg’s design portfolio.
One of Hagberg´s last products for Ikea is the stick back chair Omtänksam (thoughtful in English). It received a great deal of attention when released in 2018, not least for the smart knock-down construction. The Hagberg siblings are the recipients of a number of important awards, including the Red Dot Design Award. Their long-term contribution to the IKEA concept of democratic design will be remembered.
MDM Talks #10: We talked with the designer, Adrian Bursell. In 2020, Adrian graduated from Konstfack. For his graduation project, Sticks & Stones: Souvenirs from Öland, he designed a side table called "Lilla Alvaret".