The IKEA Museum restores and repurposes the world’s first IKEA store into a unique experience in the heart of Älmhult, Sweden. Opened in June 2016, WilkinsonEyre worked alongside Ralph Appelbaum Associates (masterplanners for main exhibition), local architect, Uulas Arkitekter and the IKEA Museum project team to reinvigorate and transform the space.
The aims 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 4-storey building into a flexible museum experience. With low floor-to-ceiling heights, we added multi-height spaces to create a light, welcoming entrance lobby with enough space for visitors to comfortably enter, orient and begin their journey with inspiring and dynamic views into the museum. Working closely with Ralph Appelbaum Associates, we created circulation routes to lead the visitor seamlessly and fluently through the experience.
Due to the limitations of the footprint of the 1958 building, a 500m² museum café is housed in an adjacent 1990’s structure. By introducing a canopy to link the two buildings we created a ‘public’ square providing both shelter for al fresco dining during warmer months and an exciting visual link between the museum and café.
“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.”
Paul Baker, Director