An Ikea designer's success

It was not too long ago that Shanghai-based Swedish designer David Wahl was an intern at Ikea, and now, with a successful career in the Swedish company, he was the judge of the Ikea Singapore’s Young Designer Award 2015. One of the 29-year-old’s most notable Ikea designs is the PS 2014 pendant lamp.

How did you start working with Ikea?
I was one of three students given a six- month internship at Ikea of Sweden when I graduated in 2008. After that, I moved back to Stockholm and worked at another company as an industrial designer for two years, before going back to Ikea as a full-time designer.

What do you take into consideration when designing Ikea’s products?
The company’s philosophy of “Democratic Design”. The five aspects are form – it has to be beautiful; function – to make everyday life easier and more meaningful; quality – for things to last longer and age gracefully; sustainability – to have a beneficial impact on people and the planet; and a low price. Everything is designed with these aspects in mind.

Of all the Ikea products you’ve designed, which is your favourite?
That would be the PS 2014 pendant lamp. It has the most fun and unexpected design, with an element of surprise. Even though it looks complicated, it requires only simple and basic assembly. Quite a bit of thought went into it, but that’s the fun part – like solving a puzzle.

What inspires you?
Different fields of work, not just design. I’ll go out and see how people solve problems. For example, how musical instruments and sports equipment are designed, or the many interesting solutions in architecture.

What do you think of the designs submitted by the students?
I think they’re really nice! Every design has some really good points that relate to “Democratic Design”. While some are really strong in form, others are stronger in function, so there’s a mix. The overall level is very high!

More about lightings: