Ikea is testing a new concept for city centre shopping – and it does not have any car parks or a ball pit by the entrance. Sweden’s best-known brand and the world’s largest furniture retailer has its finger on the modern era’s pulse, and this can be seen in multiple places in the new superstore. Among other things, the group has invested EUR 140 million in the store, offering not only furniture, household goods, accessories and a restaurant, but also a rooftop terrace open until midnight with a snack bar and fantastic view over Vienna. Just beneath it is a hotel floor which has been leased to Accor hotel brand JO&JOE.
It was a condition of the city council that forced the new Ikea store to forgo having a car park when the Swedish chain got the idea ten years ago to open a store by Westbahnhof station in the city centre. This condition has since evolved into a new concept that meets “urban customers’ expectations for car-free transport”. Those who wish to shop at the five-storey Ikea emporium will need to arrive on foot or by bicycle, train or tram and currently also reserve a time slot in order to avoid overcrowding the building. Afterwards, customers can collect the goods they buy at a location further out of the city or have them delivered by cargo bicycle or electric vehicle. The “flagship project” with just under 22,000 sqm of floor space is intended to help the climate. Similarly, the trees and shrubs adorning the cube-shaped building are intended to help the climate by lowering the temperature during summer, with solar panels and “sufficient space for bird’s nests and beehives” doing their part for the climate, too. It is a concept which Viennese weekly “Falter” described as “bringing Generation Greta into the fold of the Ikea family”. Ikea is currently testing a similar “store format of the future” at a freshly renovated store in Shanghai.
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