Artist Sabine Marcelis’ Work Is Loved by Celebrities. Now IKEA’s Bringing It to Our Homes


The IKEA Art Event Collection has returned in 2021 for its sixth release. Revealed this week in a global, virtual event, the collection this year is comprised of 10 home furnishing and decor items that IKEA said “challenges the perspective on everyday objects whilst paying tribute to everyday creativity.”

New Zealand-born and Netherlands-based designer Sabine Marcelis is one participating artist. Interiors obsessives will recognise her works, many of which are constructed from glass and resin, and almost all play around in some form with light — whether natural or neon.

They’re found scattered throughout the homes of art collectors and decor lovers everywhere, with her resin Candy Cubes being a particular favourite among celebrities, collectors, and fashion designers, who use the sculptural pieces to display high-end accessories. These start at around $5,000.

Collaborating with IKEA, Marcelis designed and created a glowing wall lamp in two sizes. It’s a collaboration she had not necessarily expected would come her way, but one that intrigued her and thus, the design process began.

“It’s really interesting to think about your work existing as an IKEA object and it’s an interesting challenge. It’s the reason why I was so excited to accept the invitation; to see how my work could live in so many people’s home instead of a select few,” Marcelis said in an interview with The Latch.

Sabine Marcelis’ IKEA lamp comes in two sizes.

Marcelis began by folding and slicing pieces of paper. “In the very beginning we tried to make the lamp out of paper, but quite quickly concluded that we would need to add a polymer into the paper, which is the same as plastic.”

Throughout the entire journey, it was important to Marcelis that her end product was not made from plastic. Quite conveniently, her decision aligns with IKEA’s own environmental goals to become circular by 2030. “We all have a responsibility to think about the environment,” she said.

“I’ve always said there is no place in the mass production market for the material I use in my limited-edition work, which is cast resin. So I think I would be very much contradicting myself if I would then go ahead and work with plastics with a company like IKEA, where it is absolutely about reaching the masses. So finding a more sustainable material was a must from the beginning.”

Marcelis eventually landed on a metal disc that’s backlit by an illuminated halo of colour-changing light. A sharp slice through the front face allows the light to peek through, while the glow that pours out of it has the ability to shift a room’s atmosphere completely.

sabine marcelis ikea

“It was a different approach for me because I’m so used to working with materiality that has the ability to be transparent. With this lamp, I wanted to challenge myself in a different way, so it’s not about the interaction with the additional material and light, but rather that you can use shape itself to shape light,” she said.

Sculptural and yet functional in nature, the lamp has both an on and off state. “I like that it doesn’t necessarily give away its function straight away — that it’s a bit of an anonymous object. Then when you turn it on, the light floods out,” she added.

The lamp emits a handful of carefully curated colours: a warm white, a colder white, a pink, a coral, and an orange. “I wanted to create a really warm atmosphere with this lamp, and I wanted the light to have the ability to change a space just by changing the light,” Marcelis said. “Neutral white is ideal for the day or evening, but if you’re having a dinner party or a dance party, then you can change the character of the space to become a little bit wilder.”

As with all of her works, be it Candy Cubes, marble and resin coffee tables, neon and glass lighting, brass mirrors or rugs, Marcelis’ IKEA lamp is designed to evoke a sensation of wonder, curiosity and a spark of joy.

“Oh my God, I sound like Marie Kondo… but I guess it’s true! I just hope that if people use this lamp to change the light in their place and it makes their evening more pleasant, then that’s amazing. The aim of this lamp; it’s really about changing not only the mood of a home, but the moods of the people within it.”

In addition to Marcelis, four artists and designers also worked with IKEA to create unique, functional art pieces. Hailing from cities all around the world, these include New York’s Daniel Arsham, Tokyo’s Gelchop, Stockholm’s Humans since 1982, and Berlin’s Stefan Marx.

Marcelis’ glowing wall lamp, sculptural clock, an Allen key-inspired torch, an embossed vase, and a drone-adorned wall decal make up the eye-catching range, which will hit IKEA stores in Australia and online from April 12, 2021.

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