It makes sense if you’re caught off guard by the brand-new collaboration between the perpetually affordable IKEA and Ben Gorham, founder and creative force behind Byredo’s luxury fragrance, fashion, and beauty empire. But similar to how Virgil Abloh’s collection put a “Wet Grass” rug on our wish list, the latest designer collaboration from IKEA just works. And fortunately for fans who flock to Gorham’s olfactory prowess, the new launch is all about how home fragrances can make you feel that much more at home.
Dubbed OSYNLIG (Swedish for “invisible”), the limited-edition collection features 13 scented candle fragrances across floral, woody, and fresh categories, with prices ranging from a wallet-grabbing $4.99 all the way up to the still-reasonable $24.99. And yes, those behind the collaboration know these price points are music to the ears of Byredo fans who fork over $85 per candle.
“The things he makes are very high-end, so it was also appealing to be able to take his knowledge and apply it at scale in a way that democratizes it,” noted James Futcher, IKEA Creative Leader, in a press interview. “It would have been ‘lagom’ to just make one or two that appealed to almost everyone, but with so many distinct scents you have the opportunity to try them and find one you really, really like, one that hopefully provokes a memory for you.”
Shop OSYNLIG in-store and online at IKEA as of November 1. Ahead, Ben Gorham on the inspiration behind the candle collection, courtesy of IKEA.
What inspired this new collaboration with IKEA, and how did it come about?
Ben Gorham: “Being born and raised in Sweden, IKEA [has] essentially been a part of my life since birth, like most Swedish people. It’s affected us and been a part of our homes in one way or another. I think the opportunity for me to work with IKEA was extremely exciting. Partially because the company Byredo that I founded 15 years ago has worked in a very personal, subjective manner when it comes to translating memories into smells. And this project with IKEA, not only have I been able to utilize the processes and the philosophies of the IKEA organization and structure, we have also been able to approach the idea of smell in the home as a completely democratic process involving maybe hundreds of people and data, creators, and focus groups, to understand how we could create a system or spectrum of smells that appealed to many, many people.”
With fragrance such an inherent staple in luxury beauty—including Byredo—why did you feel it was important to use this collaboration to “democratize” high-end scent?
Gorham: “We live in a very aesthetic world. Design is more accessible than ever. We learn as children about the names of colors, shapes, how to count, how to read. You learn about apparel and furniture, we use the internet every day which is endless in terms of altering our visual perception. I feel people just don’t reflect enough when it comes to scent, but smell is a very relevant part of our life and also the home. To collaborate on this idea of ‘invisible design’ with IKEA, getting people to think about smell, is very exciting.”
Obviously, we’re all spending so much more time at home this year. How did that affect the fragrance selection, if at all?
Gorham: “The concept was to understand which type of smells people associate with the home, and that is how we built our library of raw materials. Those are the ones we used to blend the different fragrances. It was very much about understanding people’s relationship with smell and home. I know most people have associations of visiting their grandmother’s house—whether it’s her perfume or the flowers or her cooking—smell is a very relevant part of the home. It creates a sense of comfort and security. We seldom speak of it and I think this project enforces that as well: getting people to think about smell.”
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