‘I’m a really curious person, so I want to bring that curiosity to the company too,’ IKEA’s Head of Design Marcus Engman told Dezeen in 2015. ‘Curious people are interesting people, because they’re interested in you – they’re not just interested in talking about themselves. So what about the curious company that is interested in people?’
Marcus Engman began working weekends and summer holidays at IKEA as early as high school. He proceeded to apprentice for IKEA designer Mary Ekmark in the home furnishings department in the mid 1980s, before climbing the company ladder, holding positions such as Communications and Interior Design Manager, Range Strategist and Marketing Manager. After 12 years with the company, Engman founded his own retail agency, but in January 2014 he returned to IKEA as Design Manager.
From the start his mission was to give design a bigger emphasis in the company’s product range by inviting renowned designers to collaborate with IKEA. Among them are Ilse Crawford, fashion designers Katie Eary and Walter van Beirendonck, Pinar&Viola and Piet Hein Eek. Making high-quality design affordable for everyone is the core of IKEA’s Democratic Design principles.
Engman also said he wanted ‘to bring surprise back to IKEA’. The latest event to reflect this aim is the announcement of a new collection made entirely by African designers in partnership with Design Indaba.