Ikea’s Billy: an iconic library


Who does not know the famous library Billy of the Swedish furniture giant Ikea? With its simple and effective design and competitive price, it pushes design codes to become a true popular icon! Back to a library that is not ready to leave our interiors.


Some numbers
The Billy Library has grown to more than 41 million copies in 37 countries. If all the libraries sold were aligned, it would be 70,000 kilometers long. We know today that in the world, it sells a Billy every 6 seconds. On the price side, the first library was sold 459 francs and is now priced at 39 euros.


The birth
The Billy Library (named after Billy Liljedahl, the catalog manager at the time) made his debut at Ikea in 1979 thanks to Gillis Lundgren’s pencil shot. Initially, it is offered in oak and pine. It can be infinitely adjustable because it is possible to add or remove shelves but also to enlarge the library by joining other models. The idea was to be able to create its own library, simple, functional and without flourish, not even a window that closes it. It is probably his modernity that gives him such great popular success.


The Billy Today
Already in 1979, the bases are camped but other innovations will be added. For example, in the 1990s, the Billy was enriched with the Benno system of storage for CDs and DVDs. Today, the Billy is available in beech, birch, oak, white, black, brown, silver, red, blue or with flowers …


La Billy and the designers
This library inspires! For Ikea, designers such as Marc Brétillot, Matali Crasset and Véronique Ovaldé lent themselves to an exercise in style by transforming the Billy into an ultra-offset piece of furniture. Result: a red Billy surrounded by strainer, a construction game and a cabinet of curiosities. And for the general public, Additik even offers special stickers to customize it. The Billy still has good days ahead!

Did you know ? A book was even devoted to him. This is “Billy the kit” by editions Albin Michel, which retraces the 30 years of this unavoidable piece of furniture.

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