THE DEVELOPMENT IKEA has renovation works underway at 214 Oxford Street, a grade II listed building and former home to the flagship Topshop store in London.
The property was bought in a £378 million deal by Ingka Investments, the largest owner and operator of IKEA Retail. In total there is 239,000 square feet of retail and office space at the address, which is also home to tenants including NikeTown.
Peter Jelkeby, Chief Executive and Chief Sustainability Officer at IKEA UK, commented:
We’re incredibly excited to be bringing IKEA to the heart of London’s vibrant retail scene on Oxford Street.
The future 82,000 square feet IKEA store, which is adjacent to Oxford Circus underground station, will cover three floors and feature 6,000 products on display. Around 2,200 home furnishing items & accessories can be purchased from the market hall and taken home immediately, whilst the full range of furniture can be ordered from the showroom for home delivery. And of course, the famous Swedish meatballs will be available at the in-store Swedish restaurant.
THE BRIEF Unattractive scaffolding is in place on the building whilst refurbishment works take place on the façade. The Swedish retail giant recognised the huge opportunity to switch things up to raise awareness and buzz around the future opening of the store. By using printed scaffold banners, they would be able to wrap the building and create prime media space – a giant billboard in exactly the right location.
Ingka Investments Managing Director Peter van der Poel shared his vision:
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.
Along with promoting the store the use of a large-scale printed banner would make it possible to disguise the unsightly scaffolding and instead replace it with a visual representation of the property beneath in all of its former (and future) glory.
THE SOLUTION Embrace demonstrated all of the creative ambition, technical knowledge and sustainability credentials to be the perfect fit for IKEA and their partners.
Six offset frames comprising of 1,000 linear metres of scaffold tubes and uprights at 3.6 metre centres were installed to support the giant banner. Two print tests were conducted and installed on the scaffold temporarily to ensure the creative designs delivered the correct visual impact before progressing to the main installation.
The creative design really is something special. Five of the sections feature an illustrated replica of the listed building. The Embrace team created the line drawing artwork featuring exact details – right down to the instantly recognisable Westminster City Council street signs. This was the perfect way to support Peter’s goal of preserving the spirit of the property characteristics even during the renovation works.
The centrepiece of the design however is a 662 square metre enormous version of the blue IKEA Frakta bag measuring 127 feet wide and 62 feet high. The signature bag features giant three-dimensional handles showcasing the IKEA logo. The handles alone measure 32 and 15 metres long respectively and 1.8 metres wide. The handles were secured at the top and connected back in pre-identified locations through the Frakta Bag wrap to the main access scaffolding.
In total the design utilises 2,400 square metres of printed banner, which is equivalent to 44 double decker buses. The average size of each of the six seamlessly joined wraps is 400 m2. The printed scaffold wraps and handles were printed on a PVC-free Kavalan Sunlight Weldable substrate – this is a durable but far lighter material than alternatives, with a combined weight of 1400 kg, which is approximately the same weight as a single Mini.
Using the Department for Transport road traffic statistics data we can estimate that approximately 43,495 vehicles pass this area each and every day. That’s before you take into consideration the pedestrian footfall with shoppers arriving at Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road & Piccadilly Circus. Oxford Circus underground station is clearly the closest with a whopping 121,000 people entering the underground station on a typical weekday.
The ground-breaking project was delivered on time and to budget by the Embrace Building Wraps team, working harmoniously with the main contractor McLaren Construction, scaffolding contractor TRAD UK, creative agency Mother and experiential & activation agency HELO.
THE FUTURE 2,878 trees (matching the square meterage of the wrap and handles combined) will be added to Embrace’s existing global forest of 10,291 through our relationship with sustainability partner Ecologi. Additionally, at the end of life when the PVC-free banner comes down plans are in place to repurpose the base material.
The new IKEA store is due to open in autumn 2024.