This New IKEA Store Is a Sustainable Masterpiece That’s Designed Like a Beautiful Shelving Unit

Certain enterprises have mastered the art of instantly recognizable branding that subtly draws people into their stores. Tiffany & Co., for instance, has the robin’s egg hue that dons its jewelry boxes, the giant bow wrapped around its boutiques during the winter holidays, and even The St. Regis New York’s namesake suite. The American fine jewelry maker isn’t the only brand that’s figured out how to create genius marketing to render it iconic. IKEA, the Swedish ready-to-assemble furniture company that revolutionized the idea of DIY, is perhaps as famous for its wordless instruction manuals as it is for its gargantuan blue and yellow storefronts. The brand’s most recent store opening, though, is totally changing up IKEA furniture stores’ typical look. The new boutique, in Vienna, Austria, was designed to resemble the brand’s minimalist shelving units. And the architects behind the project, Querkraft Architekten, have designed a stunning building.

The new IKEA store in central Vienna, was designed with sustainability in mind. Aesthetically different from the typical stores, with its shelf-inspired design, this one features a garden on the roof, a café, and even a two-story hostel.

Photo: Christina Haeusler

From afar—at least, from the other side of the street—the building looks like a massive DIY shelf. This one, however, isn’t meant for books and collected knickknacks; it’s intended for the company’s collection of over 3,000 pieces of furniture and decor, all of which are neatly organized across the stacked 32-by-32-foot glass-walled pods. Plus, the seven-story structure is also home to a rooftop terrace that’s open to the public, a café, a hostel on the upper two floors, and a collection of behemoth-sized potted plants on each floor. The green life isn’t just for show, though. 

The designers at Querkraft Architekten installed the lush jungle to offset climate change in Vienna. The towering trees—160, to be exact—offer sources of both cooling and moisture. They’re like nature’s air conditioning, according to the firm, which claims it can even cool the street level of the store.

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