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Outstanding European Placemaking Project recommended by Gregory Fonseca, Director of Architecture BDP, and Member of the ACROSS Advisory Board. /// credit: ACROSS
Outstanding European Placemaking Project recommended by Gregory Fonseca, Director of Architecture BDP, and Member of the ACROSS Advisory Board. /// credit: ACROSS

Outstanding European Placemaking Projects: IKEA @ London’s Oxford Circus — High Street Brands That Become More Than Just Shops Selling Goods

Our industry is strong and can achieve a lot. To emphasize this optimistic spirit, we want to showcase what our industry offers. Recommended by Gregory Fonseca, Director of Architecture BDP, and Member of the ACROSS Advisory Board, the IKEA at London´s Oxford Circus is one of the many outstanding placemaking projects that drive the industry forward.

“Few homes in the world can claim they don’t own a thing from IKEA, so pervasive is the brand and global reach of the company. Yet, to make sure no home is left out, IKEA has radically departed from its historic retail business model to something that I call an ‘evolution revolution.’ By moving away from their ‘blue box’ suburban showrooms to investing in prime real estate in major city centers, IKEA retail is evolving and revolutionizing the shopping experience. The Swedish furniture giant is known for its out-of-town warehouses where driving is required to visit them.


IKEA made the decision to shift their expansion investment into offering urban communities an alternative environment that is something more than shopping. /// credit: IKEA/BDP

A few years ago, IKEA made the decision to shift their expansion investment into offering urban communities an alternative environment that is something more than shopping. With its increased digital online purchasing and delivery capabilities, coupled with a physical urban presence, they are creating a more cost-conscious and sustainable expansion approach. There is an ‘evolution revolution’ taking place within the retail industry where high street brands are evolving to become more than just shops selling goods. IKEA is a prime example of this experiential retail model.



In the last few years, IKEA’s, Ingka Investments, has acquired two prime, mixed-use properties in Europe; one in Paris at Rue de Rivoli and another on London’s Oxford Circus, the latter being my choice of a Lighthouse Project. This Lighthouse Project finds BDP in collaboration with Ingka Investments, to reimagine one of the most prominent retail spots on London’s most famous shopping street, thereby creating a new, central city home for the international furniture brand. What makes this project special for me is the radical departure from Ikea’s circa 70 year held business model; the shift of their expansion philosophy based on building in suburbia to relocating to the heart of a major city! BDP has had the pleasure to be a part of their transformation by delivering IKEA’s Hammersmith Livat store in west London and now, partnering on developing this iconic building on Oxford Circus.

Peter van der Poel, Managing Director at Ingka Investments, said: ‘When refurbishing this over 100-year-old historic landmark, it’s important for us as an investor to treat the building with care and to preserve its characteristics and atmosphere.’ What gives me pleasure is the combination of the meticulous restoration of the building’s historic features with the modernisation of the building systems to today’s technical standards, utilising the best possiblesustainability measures. With a few stores in the heart of a major city centres developed globally to date, IKEA is preparing itself for the next 70 years!”