IKEA Greenwich flung open its doors this morning.
Well, the moment you’ve all been waiting for is here, so let’s delay no longer. IKEA opened up in Greenwich this morning, marking London’s first full-size store in fourteen years, and the arrival of the UK’s most sustainable IKEA branch. Reportedly, people queued from 6am to be the first indoors – but if you weren’t one of them, here’s a look around IKEA Greenwich.
At first glimpse, it looks like a fairly standard IKEA store, filled with the usual suspects: Billys, Vindkåres, and Majalottas. But look a little closer and you’ll see this ain’t the usual Swedish rodeo.
They’re keen to highlight the green credentials of this store; with solar panels, rainwater harvesting, geothermal heating, and all-LED lighting, IKEA Greenwich is aiming for the holy grail of being powered by 100% renewable energy.
This sustainable ethos is witnessed in new spaces like the Learning Lab. Whilst those handy paper booklets tell you how to put the furniture together, the Learning Lab focuses on how you can take it apart, in order to prolong the life of the product. This is also the spot to learn about practices such as upcycling, reducing waste, and even growing your own food.
For those who visit IKEA simply for the food, you’ll be thrilled to know that the in-house restaurant is the biggest in south London – and meatballs are on the menu. I’ve also seen bicycle-powered smoothie making happening on social media, but it’s unclear whether this is a permanent addition or a launch day gimmick.
Speaking of bikes, IKEA Greenwich have worked to significantly cut down on car use. Bike couriers will be delivering some of the products to homes in the area for the next twelve weeks, employees are being strongly encouraged to take public transport to work, and there are roughly 50 buses passing by the store every hour. The store also displays public transport information at the exits, so the message is very clear: leave the car at home.
Away from the hustle and bustle of the shop floor, you’ll find tranquillity on the upper levels. There’s a sensory wildlife garden and pavilion on the roof, which offer views back over central London, and we expect this to be a popular spot come summer.
Reaction has been pretty positive (if our announcement piece and news of the Tottenham Court Road IKEA prove anything, it’s that you lot are wild for Swedish discount furniture), but concerns remain over the accessibility of the store for pedestrians, and the future prospects of sustainability when plans like the bike scheme end. Still, it’s another feather in Greenwich’s cap – and we loved it before it had an IKEA – and most importantly, a golden opportunity to fill up on meatballs and cheap candles.
You’ll find IKEA Greenwich at Millennium Way Retail Park, Greenwich, SE10 0XA. Opening hours are 10am-10pm (Mon to Fri), 9am-10pm (Sat), and 11am-5pm (Sun). Nearest stations are North Greenwich and Westcombe Park (National Rail).