IKEA Museum opens in world’s first IKEA store

The new IKEA Museum opened on 30 June 2016 in Älmhult, Sweden. The completed project fulfils the brief to restore and repurpose the world’s first IKEA store, which opened in 1958, into a unique IKEA Museum experience. WilkinsonEyre was appointed by IKEA as lead concept architect to develop the overall masterplan for the site and breathe new life into the old building.

The practice worked alongside Ralph Appelbaum Associates (masterplanners for main exhibition), local architect, Uulas Arkitekter (project architects) and the IKEA Museum project team (delivery architects) to reinvigorate and transform the space. The multi practice team was led and coordinated by the creative team for the IKEA Museum project at IKEA.

The aims of WilkinsonEyre’s masterplan were to restore the building to its former glory and to improve its environmental performance. The IKEA Museum project team were keen to explore various technical solutions, staying true to their environmental aims of ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’. Due to the poor thermal performance of the structure the original roof was replaced and enhanced with the addition of a roof lantern to provide natural light to the otherwise windowless top floor; single glazing was replaced with triple glazing; and a layer of rendered insulation applied to the external façade.

Internally the challenge was to convert the four storey building with low floor to ceiling heights into a flexible museum experience. Using clever, strategic surgery WilkinsonEyre cut in to the building to create volume and light, adding multi-height spaces and developing, with Ralph Appelbaum Associates, circulation routes that lead the visitor seamlessly and fluently though the building.

Paul Baker, Director, WilkinsonEyre said, “This was an incredibly rewarding project for an extraordinary client. We worked very closely with the IKEA Museum project team to come up with a solution that embraces their ideology and reflects the value of refined, efficient design.”