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An exhibition about Irma's fascinating design story


Step into the iconic blue Irma universe: The exhibition IRMA - A DESIGN STORY invites the audience to explore the fascinating design story of the supermarket chain Irma and unfolds the story of the supermarket that brought art and design into people's everyday lives.

The girl in the blue dress
We know the blue checkered Irma coffee, and we know her. The girl in the blue dress – a cultural icon for many and a symbol of the supermarket chain Irma, which, at 137 years old, is one of the world’s oldest supermarket chains. Since Irma opened in a small basement shop in Nørrebro, the company has been at the forefront, putting the customer at the center. With their art cans, art bags, toys, packaging, distinctive blue checks, Mao shoes, and neon signs in the cityscape, Irma has made art and design a part of people’s everyday lives. For the story about Irma is also a design story, and Irma has consciously used art and design in their ongoing adaptation to changing societal and consumption trends.

A strong design identity
The exhibition IRMA – A DESIGN STORY highlights Irma as a design company: How the chain has carefully thought out the design on both a small and large scale – from the label on, for example, “Maj-drik” to the well-known dish towels to glowing blue facade signs – and early on developed a range of designs that are now iconic: The light sign with the egg-laying hen, the blue Irma coffee, the coffee measure, and many more. Irma was also the first to invite designers and artists to decorate the supermarket’s bags and cans, which quickly became collectibles. The exhibition, the first museum exhibition about Irma, provides a unique insight into Irma’s design story and the development of the supermarket chain’s well-known logo – the Irma girl.

A treasure trove of design
The exhibition at Designmuseum Danmark showcases a string of Irma’s most beloved graphic elements such as the Irma girl and the red heart stickers distributed at the checkout, but also meter-high Irma girl signs, neon signs, art cans and art bags, Irma toys, and paper disposable panties from the 1960s. The objects in the exhibition are loaned from Coop and private collectors, but also include a range of Irma items from the museum’s own collection.