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The History of IKEA’s KLIPPAN Sofa

IKEA’s iconic KLIPPAN sofa was first presented in the 1980 edition of the IKEA catalog. The catalyst behind the design? Product Developer Lars Engman’s young family! After Engman’s two young children ruined one of his expensive Italian sofas, he set out to create a sofa that could stand up to the rigors of daily life in a household with kids. He knew he wanted to design a piece with soft corners for safety and a removable, washable cover. Engman worked with Japanese designer Noboru Nakamura, who had been designing for IKEA in Älmhult, Sweden for several years by that point, to co-create the now-iconic piece. Nakamura used the existing sofa LAPPMON as a starting point but pared down most of the design details to create a distinct, timeless silhouette. In doing so, he also made it possible to offer the sofa at a lower price point. In order to offer a removable cover, he also adjusted the size of the sofa to accommodate the width of fabric reels at the time (150 cm). This alteration also allowed the cover to fit inside a standard household washing machine. (The company even offered sewing patterns for KLIPPAN covers in case customers wanted to make their own.) The KLIPPAN sofa made its debut in the 1980 IKEA catalog, but it did not sell well immediately. However, it grew in popularity over the years and has consistently been part of the IKEA product line ever since. In fact, each year, IKEA offers KLIPPAN cover options in unique, limited-edition colors and patterns and the sofa continues to be one of the furniture company’s most beloved products to this day.

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