IKEA Is Building a Big New Store in Vienna With No Parking

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©. IKEA am Westbahnhof

They say it's the new megatrend: customers without cars.

Every IKEA store I have seen in North America is a big box in the suburbs, with people lined up to put big boxes in their SUVs. But the world is changing, and more people are living without cars. For many, that might mean going without IKEA. That's why they have been introducing urban stores and why their new store in Vienna is so interesting.

The concept focuses on the current megatrends and takes into account the dramatically changed shopping behavior, as well as a new form of mobility without a car. Customers have little time and appreciate convenience and comfort. This is clearly noticeable in the furnishing area: More and more customers no longer even think about carrying their purchases home themselves. You can have them delivered.

Ikea store in vienna

© IKEA am Westbahnhof

The whole store is geared toward pedestrians, cyclists and people who come by subway, which connects right to the store. Everything that is too big to carry will be delivered within 24 hours.

IKEA at Westbahnhof should become the meeting point for the whole district. In the furniture store itself, which extends over several floors, interior design ideas and the entire IKEA range are shown in an innovative way. There is room for inspiration and chilling. What will not exist is a traditional furniture store, because all larger items will be delivered directly to your home from the new logistics center in Strebersdorf.

Thinking Outside the Big Box

IKEA notes that the majority of people living in inner-city districts don't have a car. "So IKEA gets where the customers are." They also didn't do a boring box, but had a limited competition to hire architects, and ended up choosing querkraft architekten, who explain on their site:

The design reflects the IKEA brand - friendly, open, unconventional and relaxed. querkraft's solution is shown in a building that also represents added value for the environment. The roof terrace, which is open to the public, the greenery on all facade surfaces, a café and a pleasantly designed outdoor area all contribute to the “good neighbor”.

Ikea store detail exterior

© IKEA am Westbahnhof

It all reminds me a bit of the Pompidou Center in Paris, with its open space in the middle and all the services on the exterior:

The outer shell of the building is reminiscent of a shelf. It is a 4.5 meter deep zone that lays around the building like a shadowy shelf. There are room expansions, terraces and greenery as well as serving elements such as lifts, escape stairs, building services elements or toilets.

Designed as a Meeting Place

It's actually a really interesting vision for the future of retail in an online world. It's a store that is designed more as a meeting place, but also where you can really feel the products and test them, which you can't do online.

We chose the location because it is perfectly connected to public transport. Most residents of Vienna's inner city districts don't have a car. The central location is perfect for them. At the same time, the usage behavior of services also changes: people like to go shopping, want to try, attack and test things, plan together with our specialists - but they don't want to drag them home themselves, but prefer to have them delivered. IKEA at Westbahnhof is responding precisely to this trend.

As my tipster for this post notes, electric cars won't save us, especially if they are just sharing the road with all the SUVs. We have to change the way we live in cities so that we don't need any kind of car. That's the megatrend we need to see if we are going to get through this crisis.