Ikea is Being Sued for Allegedly Stealing a Chair Design

By Chris Mills on at

Ikea's Melltorp stacking chair is a masterpiece of minimalist design; a cheap, robust, stackable chair that doesn't look like it belongs in a classroom. But, according to Emeco, it's not actually Ikea's design.

In the picture above, Emeco's 20-06 chair is on the left, while Ikea's Melltorp is on the right. Although there are differences in the construction (Ikea's is a steel frame with polypropylene panels, whilst Emeco's is all aluminium) the two designs are undeniably alike.

This, understandably, has not gone down so well with Emeco, which has filed a design right and copyright infringement case against the furniture giant in German court. It's easy to see their case: both chairs are remarkably similar in design, but Ikea's costs £20, versus £420 for the (Norman Foster-designed) Emeco chair.

As Dezeen points out, Emeco has a small history of this kind of behaviour. Airbnb was forced to remove chairs from their HQ after Emeco pointed out they look like the company's ubiquitous Navy chair. Emeco has also settled suits with Restoration Hardware and Sugar Stores over copycat chairs. [Dezeen]