This One IKEA Product Started Out as a Napkin Drawing

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We love IKEA, but somehow, learning about the history behind one of the brand's products makes us love the company even more. We're talking about the Billy Bookcase, which was designed on the back of a napkin, according to Design Taxi.

IKEA reports that it all started in 1978 when Billy Liljedahl, IKEA's advertising manager, complained about not being able to find a "proper bookcase." This then spawned an idea in designer Gillis Lundgren's mind and, fearing that he'd forget it, he immediately sketched his mental picture of a bookcase down on a napkin.

Just a year later, in 1979, Lundgren's napkin art became the Billy Bookcase (named after Liljedahl). "Gillis' aim was to create an affordable bookcase that would suit every kind of person and many different living spaces," IKEA writes.

All these years later, you can still buy the napkin-drawing-turned-bookcase. For $49, the Billy Bookcase is available in white, black-brown, and birch. "It is estimated that every five seconds, one Billy bookcase is sold somewhere in the world," reads the product's description.

This just goes to show how powerful a napkin drawing can be.


When Anna Gragert isn’t trying to create a groundbreaking third-person bio for herself, she's working as the senior lifestyle editor at Hunker. Her email: anna.gragert@hunker.com

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