Virgil Abloh Addresses Claims That IKEA Collaboration Is Unoriginal
Virgil Abloh recently took part in an interview with Hypebeast to contextualize his forthcoming collaboration with IKEA titled MARKERAD. The Off-White designer notes how everything he does "has a deeper meaning. It follows my philosophy finding the balance between a tourist and a purist. There are people that live and breathe and study design, furniture, graphic design, fashion. And then there’re people that just enjoy it. I like to make things that fall in the space for both, so on the surface level, there is an allure or a reason to look at it, but there has to be something on a deeper level."
Abloh also admits that working with IKEA was a natural pairing, admitting that the company has a "longstanding history, and my design aesthetic is taking that history and joining it with contemporary culture for a young generation that is looking for something interesting. That is what I possess as a designer. I’m inspired by how IKEA thinks about not only making a product, but also how they actually construct, ship and deliver, all which is something to learn from."
Some critics have claimed that Abloh's ideas for the MARKERAD collection are unoriginal, a claim he addresses head-on. "Me, as someone who transitions from eight years higher education in engineering and architecture, noticed that I have a unique position to educate and share knowledge about design. That’s what this whole collection is rooted in," he reveals. Articles furniture within the collection were inspired by home decor constructed in the 1800s, but come replete with contemporary additions that appeal to the modern-day consumer. "Each piece in the collection has a signifier that lets you know it’s 2018, not the 1800s. The kid buying my Nike shoes on the secondary market, listening to Playboi Carti’s album, also knowing that the chair is from the 1800s, and that other people riffed on it, and that it’s also a Swedish and American tradition… Opening that conversation on a design platform like HYPEBEAST is my job as a designer. That was my point."