IKEA’s Newest Collection Celebrates Light in Ways You’ve Never Seen Before

A collaboration between IKEA and designer Sabine Marcelis, the VARMBLIXT collection includes sculptural lights—including a particularly sweet donut fixture.

IKEA VARMBLIXT collection with Sabine Marcelis donut light and arc lights
Photo:

IKEA | Design: Better Homes & Gardens

IKEA is known the world-over for its dynamic, affordable furniture, but when you think of the international store’s offerings, you probably first think of its mainstays: the MALM collection, the BILLY bookcase, the endlessly useful KALLAX shelves. Lately, you may know IKEA’s buy-back program and its discount-providing Family membership program, too. What you may know less well is IKEA’s lighting offerings—but that is bound to change with the launch of IKEA’s VARMBLIXT collection.

The VARMBLIXT line is a series of 20 items that range from sculptural light fixtures to a set of dynamic coffee tables to glassware. The line is designed in collaboration with Sabine Marcelis, a Rotterdam-based designer known for her engaging work across product, installation, and spatial design.

In a word, VARMBLIXT is all about light: emitting it, enjoying it, seeing how it plays with and through other materials and textures.

IKEA VARMBLIXT Collection with Sabine Marcelis

IKEA

“I’ve always loved to work with light,” Marcelis tells Better Homes & Gardens. “I really use it as a tool in all of my projects to activate a material effect—both artificial and natural light.”

The collection and collaboration mark a new effort from IKEA to shift people’s perception of light and light fixtures in the home from strictly functional to more design-oriented.

“Just because you are great at doing a function doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s great design. There needs to be this connection between the function and the form,” says Henrik Most, product and design manager on the IKEA Creative team. “In this case, how can you work with light as the light source and the materiality in a way that goes beyond the expected of what a light should do without losing its value as a functional light?”

The joint endeavor to merge function and form, while celebrating both artificial and natural light, has resulted in items unlike anything seen at IKEA before. An eye-grabbing LED pendant lamp is the most large-scale item: Made up of swooping U-shaped bulbs (with frosted glass to minimize harshness), it’s a fresh take on the chandelier that’s sure to make a statement in any dining room.

IKEA VARMBLIXT Collection with Sabine Marcelis

IKEA

The other lights are a little more dynamic, but equally visually interesting. There’s a round wall lamp with a slight bend to it that offers soft, atmospheric light without blending into the wall. One light is a combined mirror and wall lamp, with a dimmable fixture that allows the item to serve two key purposes (and all for just $80).

A long, linear wall lamp that can be hung vertically or horizontally holds endless possibility: “It really invites many different ways of applying,” Marcelis says of the light. “I can really imagine, if you have a few of them behind each other and opposite each other in a hallway, you can create this illusion of an archway, or if you have one hung horizontally, you really highlight part of a corner. I can’t wait to see how how people will interpret that in their own way.”

Marcelis has frequently worked with the rounded donut shape, which appears in the VARMBLIXT line in the form of an adaptable light and two serving bowls. The light can be wall-mounted or set on a shelf or other surface, and its warm orange light brings a cozy, homey atmosphere to any space. The bowls, which come in a soft, near-mint green and an orange, are bold on their own, but set in a spot where they can catch the light (natural or artificial), they’ll truly shine.

The other VARMBLIXT items include two rugs, one orange and one yellow, both with a bit of an ombre look that mimics the light of the sun at different points in the day; coffee tables made of powder-coated aluminum that can be coffee tables, stools, or a number of other things; and a number of glassware items, including drink stirrers, Champagne coupes, a carafe, and a vase. There’s also a glass shelf and a tempered glass tray, both of which are designed to play up the light in a space and the individuality with which they’re styled.

IKEA VARMBLIXT Collection with Sabine Marcelis

IKEA

The items in this collection are very intentionally designed, but that doesn’t mean IKEA shoppers are stuck using them just for those purposes.

“Obviously, at IKEA, we’re a company who have been known for really being able to deliver multifunctional design, but for me, multifunctional design is when it becomes intuitively accessible. You use it the way you want,” Most says.

Even Marcelis wants to be surprised by how consumers use her creations.

“Collaborative efforts are always bigger than the sum of its parts. And so this is a collection that’s really like IKEA and my world coming together. But then once it enters the customer’s home, it’s a continuation of that collaboration,” Marcelis says.

The new VARMBLIXT collection is available for purchase starting February 2023 in all IKEA markets.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles