An immersive exhibition celebrating the lives and loves of some the UK’s greatest collectors

Swedish retailer IKEA is opening a new gallery exhibition, ‘The Collection’, showcasing some of the most intriguing and unusual collections from across the nation, beautifully styled by IKEA storage gurus.

Celebrating the “Joy of Storage” as a means to presenting and preserving the treasures the nation holds dear, the exhibition includes collectors of toy soldiers, retro fashion, magazines and Spice Girls memorabilia all housed and styled in the IKEA product that best showcases it to the world. Elevating storage from the functional to the joyful, ‘The Collection’ is IKEA’s first foray into the world of exhibitions, seeking to show how possible it is to raise these minutiae of the heart into art that decorates every room in the house.

Research shows that the average British home contains £7,176 worth of collectables. With 140 hours spent every year on accumulating items like books, badges, vinyl records and coins, research by IKEA* found that the nation’s passion for collecting is at an all-time high.

The Swedish retailer discovered that 71% of adults call themselves collectors and dedicate time, money and energy into owning and curating multiple variations of the same thing, collections. Despite this passion, almost half of Brits hide their collections away. Whilst collecting used to be associated with childhood, research has shown that 44% of ‘grown ups’ are going as far as dedicating entire rooms to housing their collections.

Technological developments around entertainment have not destroyed the nation’s appetite to own and collect books, games and musical formats. 40% have a full bookshelf, 14% still collect games and 25% still purchase physical CDs. Therefore the sensation of being able to touch, feel, see and show the things we own makes us a nation of ‘magpies’.

In addition, the kudos of displaying our collections is strong with 15% of Brits displaying their collections to seem more alluring to the opposite sex and 20% admitting they find a bookshelf attractive. In comparison to other collections, book collectors are rated 10 times more attractive (in particular, those who collect classics) than those who collect games (2%), teddies (2%) and figurines (4%). To give the nation’s hobbies a bigger audience and celebrate the World’s greatest ‘magpies’, IKEA are curating their first ever UK exhibition.

With the help of the World’s most celebrated collector, Hunter Davies (The Beatles biographer and author of ‘Confessions of a Collector’), the IKEA Collection will celebrate collections that include Spice Girls memorabilia, Star Wars toys, Dawn O’Porter’s vintage clothing, dolls house furniture and even taxidermy.

Myriam Ruffo, Head of Storage at IKEA UK, commented, “71% of Brits class themselves as collectors yet almost half of us hide our collections away – something we at IKEA believe is a crying shame. We are big believers in the joy of storage and how products can help encourage people to show-off their passions, celebrating the things they love – elevating them to their rightful place as a piece of art in their home as easily as finding the right shelving for our books or the right cabinet for our games. That’s why we’re launching ‘The Collection’, to celebrate some of the most amazing collections from across the UK, and showing people how the perfect storage can enrich their lives to help present and preserve their passions for all the world to see.”

Hosted at Dalston’s ‘The Proud Archivist’, one of London’s top independent gallery spaces, ‘The Collection’ is open to the public from 21-23 January 2016.