Shoppers have long known what to expect from IKEA: affordable home furnishings showcased in full-size glory at the chain’s massive blue and yellow warehouse-like structures, complete with in-store cafés where design choices can be contemplated over Swedish meatballs. But changing consumer consumption patterns have the Swedish retailer experimenting with formats, including its latest project: Ikea Copenhagen, a department store meets “green lounge” now under construction in the heart of the capital.
Designed by Danish architecture firm Dorte Mandrup, the new, scaled-down venue represents a “rethinking of the traditional Ikea department store,” right down to the store’s façade, 25 percent of which will be covered in greenery. The so-called city store redefines the Ikea concept, adapting it to the way Copenhageners live and use the city, explains Anders Lyhne Nordtorp, expansion manager at IKEA Denmark.
With the smaller space, the retailer is leaning into more digital tools, for example. And because consumers will only be able to bring home items that can fit into its signature blue bags, IKEA will offer same-day delivery.
The store’s design is targeted to urban denizens in both form and function, starting with accessibility. To accommodate the two-thirds of Copenhageners without access to a car, the team added parking for 760 bicycles, including 55 cargo bicycles, which customers can borrow to transport their goods home. The city-center store will be located a stone’s throw from the nearest train station, the meatpacking district and the inner-city harbor, making it accessible for 1.1 million people within 20 minutes by bike, car or public transport.
IKEA Copenhagen is one of a string of smaller store formats the retailer is developing to better serve a new breed of urban customers—and deliver on its commitment to become a climate-positive business by 2030. Looking to promote circular consumption patterns, for example, the new store will offer a lab where customers can get help repairing furniture. That kind of eco-friendly philosophy means the project could also help Copenhagen achieve its goal to become the first carbon-neutral city in the world by 2025.
Out to earn the BREEAM outstanding certification, the team embedded sustainability throughout the design. The store will feature a 1,450 square-meter array (15,608 square feet) of solar panels, and its cooling system will reuse water from nearby canals. The masterplan calls for planting 250 trees and bushes on the premises and building a publicly accessible rooftop garden that adds more than 150 meters (492 feet) of green space for the community. Along with offering a tree-lined haven in the city’s densely populated Vesterbro district, the rooftop connects to a new city walking path.
“We want to give back a green lounge to the local community and create both intimate resting places and opportunities for spontaneous meetings,” says Dorte Mandrup, founder and creative director of the eponymous studio.
In keeping with that ethos, project leaders continue to solicit local support and feedback through recurring meetings where Copenhageners can come together (afternoon coffee included) to learn about the new store, slated to open in 2023.