Marcus Engman

The head of design at IKEA challenges the way traditional products are made.

Marcus Engman has been the head of design at IKEA since 2012 but his history with the company runs even deeper. Born in 1966 and raised in Älmhult, Sweden – where the multinational company was founded – Engman spent his high school breaks working at an IKEA store.

During the mid-1980s, Engman was a home furnishing apprentice to IKEA interior designer Mary Ekmark. He went on to fulfil roles like communications & interior design manager in Swedish stores, and global range strategist and marketing manager (retail) for IKEA in Sweden.

He then founded his own retail agency, Kollo in 2000 before taking on his current position as head of design.

Now, he is at the forefront of how the retail giant builds its ranges and designs its products. To do this, Engman needs to be curious and creative in every project he undertakes. “So every day we challenge the status quo and the boundaries of what is possible. I also build a strong network of creatives outside IKEA because there’s a lot we don’t know and want to learn,” he explains.

Engman launched IKEA’s first African collection at the Design Indaba Conference 2017. The project was curated by Design Indaba. It’s expected to be available to the public in 2019.