In 2017, Snøhetta was invited by IKEA to join a concept competition for an IKEA store next to Vienna’s Westbahnhof and reached the third phase of the project development with its design. The competition was based on the findings of a study, showing that most customers can carry their purchases back home with them in one blue IKEA bag. The idea of an urban IKEA was created, which differs from the typical IKEA, located in the periphery of a city.
Snøhetta developed a conceptual design that echoes the diversity and vitality of urban life in the Austrian capital. The pulsating city life of Vienna connects with the store through the integration of the Europaplatz, and the continuation of the prominent shopping street Mariahilfer Straße, into an interior landscape. A new and striking plaza emphasizes the urban context of the site and its role as an infrastructure hub. This plaza and a grand staircase, which are coloured in red, lead the visitors on an urban red-carpet experience into the heart of IKEA.
Inside, Snøhetta’s design offers a generous and multi-functional space that is open to everyone. Here, you do not only find classical IKEA showrooms exhibiting furniture – but also living spaces for urban activities and spaces of possibilities, which can be used as working space, or to host events, dinners, etc. As an open urban structure, this IKEA store provides entrances on multiple levels and its multi-functional spaces, the hotel and the restaurant are also accessible after the shop hours.
The building opens again towards the city on the attic with a generous, tilted terrace. This roof patio conveys a park-like atmosphere and offers a beautiful view of the city towards Schönbrunn. By creating a playful façade design and public green roof and by extending the public plaza into the building, the building interacts with its surrounding in a way that creates added value for the city of Vienna and its inhabitants.