Store manager Helen Aylett tells us all about this exciting new venture – and why it's so important for the local community
This a major event for Ikea fans everywhere: the Swedish brand's first sustainable store has opened its doors in London's Greenwich. Full of gorgeous eco-friendly ideas to make a real impact to your home, such as hydroponic devices so you can grow your own food indoors, kitting your rooms out with products made from recycled materials and filling every corner with the healing power of plants, there's actually a far bigger message at play here – enriching the surrounding area and creating a real sense of community.
There are incredible shared, free spaces open for all to use, including an enviable roof terrace where you can wile away the hours in a spacious cafe, which will be used to gather the locals together for wellness-focused activities, such as yoga. A community garden boasts far-reaching views over Canary Wharf and has large raised beds, full of grasses (which are tiny at the moment, but will grow!) to create a green, calming space that is worlds away from the stresses of everyday life. Plus, encouraging and supporting wildlife is a key theme here – even the bike racks at the front of the store have living roofs and are embedded with bug hotels.
Inside, there's a seismic shift in this Ikea store's design. Cast your mind back to the last time you visited your local Ikea – as you meandered around its iconic one-way system, you would have been blissfully unaware if was raining, sleeting or if a sudden solar eclipse had struck your town. This Ikea is different. Floor-to-ceiling glazing bathes the shopping floors in sunshine and gives a whole new feel to the thoroughly Swedish shopping experience – and, crucially, for Ikea's employees too.
This uplifting, community-focused twist for Ikea's new UK offering is one that we can definitely get on board with. To get more insight into its launch, we spoke to to Ikea's Helen Aylett about the direction for her shiny new store and how she thinks the local Greenwich community will benefit.
"We’re thrilled to open the doors to our new store in Greenwich. Ikea Greenwich aims to take sustainability to the next level, not just in its design and architecture, but by inspiring and enabling Londoners to live a more sustainable life at home through our products, workshops and activities. The store has been built with the local community in mind and provides a number of flexible spaces and facilities which people can use for free, such as a roof pavilion and community garden."
"In addition to the rooftop garden and pavilion, the new store features a Learning Lab – a dedicated space for customers, partners and the local community to explore prolonging the life of products, upcycling, reducing waste and growing their own food. The store also incorporates a number of renewable construction materials and green technologies including solar panels, rainwater harvesting, geothermal heating and 100% LED lighting. IKEA Greenwich is aiming to achieve 100% renewable energy and is targeting BREEAM* ‘Outstanding’ accreditation."
"We know that choice, convenience, value and speed are key, and most people like to go shopping without the hassle of having to get everything back home. Instead of bringing their cars, we’re encouraging our customers to simply bring their keys, phone and wallet and we’ll sort out the rest.”