POÄNG Turns 40: IKEA Celebrates 40th Birthday of Iconic Product with Limited Edition* Release

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IKEA Will Mark the 40th Birthday of Its Top-Selling POÄNG Armchair with Six New Cushion Covers and One New Frame Style**, Available for a Limited-Time Only

IKEA POÄNG Armchair

For 40 years the POÄNG chair has brought together style, function, quality and comfort at a price point that’s affordable for the many

IKEA announced today that it will release one new limited-edition* POÄNG frame and six new armchair covers** – including one based on the original design -- to honor the iconic product’s 40th birthday.

Created and introduced forty years ago by Japanese designer Noboru Nakamura, the POÄNG armchair, with its clean Scandinavian frame and wide range of cover designs, remains one of the top-selling products at IKEA, with approximately 1.5 million POÄNG chairs sold each year.

“POÄNG is a modern classic that has stood the test of time and a great example of what IKEA calls Democratic Design,” said Gillian Firth, Sales Leader of Living Rooms at IKEA. “For 40 years the POÄNG chair has brought together style, function, quality and comfort at a price point that’s affordable for the many.”

POÄNG History & Evolution

Nakamura arrived in Sweden in the 1970s to study European design. “The reason why I wanted to go to northern Europe is that the design there has essential, creative elements for humans,” Nakamura said. “Their products are pleasant, fun and soothing to touch and use, with each having significant meaning and value.”

Once at IKEA, Nakamura met and collaborated with fellow IKEA designer Lars Engman, and soon the POÄNG – originally named POEM – was born.

Functional everyday living and comfort was top of mind while designing POÄNG, which is easily recognized by its unique, springy bentwood frame. “A chair shouldn’t be a tool that binds and holds the sitter,” Nakamura said. “It should rather be a tool that provides us with an emotional richness and creates an image where we let off stress.”

The layered bentwood frame was also designed for durability, providing the strength to stand being sat down in, day after day.

While the design of POÄNG has remained largely unchanged since its inception, the IKEA product icon has undergone some alterations – particularly as it relates to efficiency. “By being good stewards of our resources and reducing waste to a minimum, we have been able to cut costs associated with POÄNG significantly, without changing the style and comfort POÄNG fans have come to know and love,” said Firth.

One prominent change came in 1992, when the chair’s steel pipes were replaced by a frame made entirely of layered bentwood. The alteration allowed POÄNG to be flat-packed and shipped more efficiently, contributing to a 21% price reduction consumers enjoy today.

POÄNG Facts and Figures

  • The chair was originally called POEM, but was renamed POÄNG in 1992 to correspond with a series of changes and improvements made to it.
  • Globally, more than 30 million POÄNG chairs have been sold its debut forty years ago.
  • Currently, approximately 1.5 million POÄNG chairs are sold each year worldwide.
  • The price of the POÄNG chairs today is approximately 21% lower than the price forty years ago.
  • A test machine in IKEA stores since 1978 shows the durable form of the POÄNG chair. The machine pressure-tests the chair 20 times per minute at 1000 newton for a standard 50,000 times. That’s like a 220 lbs. person sitting in the chair 20 times per minute.

POÄNG Range & Limited-Edition Offerings

Today, POÄNG is available in four frames and sixteen covers. New limited-edition* “40th birthday” POÄNG styles – including one new frame and six new covers in new colors, patterns and a version based on the original design – will be available in all IKEA U.S. stores beginning in September**.

*Products available for a limited-time. Check local store for availability.

**Four of six limited edition covers – including, Sandbacka (green), Edum (dark blue), Edum (pink) and Seglora (natural) – are available in all U.S. stores beginning September 2016. The two remaining limited edition covers – Stenli (black and white) and Vislanda (black and white) – will be available in all U.S. stores beginning October 2016.

About IKEA
Since its 1943 founding in Sweden, IKEA has offered home furnishings of good design and function at low prices so the majority of people can afford them. There are currently more than 385 IKEA stores in 48 countries, including 42 in the U.S. IKEA incorporates sustainability into day-to-day business and supports initiatives that benefit children and the environment. For more information, see IKEA-USA.com, @IKEAUSANews, @IKEAUSA or IKEAUSA on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.

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Kathy Boerner
Ketchum
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