Re-inventing the meeting place idea

As our shopping centres become living, breathing hubs in some of the world’s largest cities, Ingka Centres is finding new ways to engage with our communities.

Ingka Centres is on a journey to create new kinds of meeting places, where people can gather, socialise and have unique experiences. We plan to do this by changing the perception of what a shopping centre has the potential to be. Whether through building parks, hosting festivals or providing workspace for start-ups, we want our meeting places to have a positive impact on their local communities.

One of the main drivers in our strategy at Ingka Centres is also to make IKEA more accessible for the many. So we work closely with IKEA Retail to identify the best opportunities for making this happen. We will increase our presence in cities, for example, and one way to do this is to build meeting places in city centres and near transport hubs.

As our plans to open a new LIVAT meeting place in Shanghai, China, in 2022 become more concrete, a good example emerges of how these strategies are coming together to create a modern, multi-functional meeting place.

The LIVAT Linkong project

“In the hub of West Shanghai, Linkong is the perfect location for the development of a new shopping centre,” says Elise Clinet, Project Manager, LIVAT Linkong. “Thanks to a vast transportation network that includes a metro situated just 200 metres from the plot, it has really good accessibility. And, in 2020, there will be about 100,000 office workers within walking distance, representing a huge number of people who can visit easily.”

This shopping centre is set to be home to around 300 shops, five office towers and, of course, a new IKEA store. We estimate that around 15,000 jobs will be created in the surroundings as a result of the project, too. We also want to make sure we’re providing more than just functionality. Amy Yu, Country Communication Manager, Ingka Centres China explains: “We talk a lot about community strategy, so that’s why public spaces, public access and communication are so important for this project. We’re going to have a variety of places to meet, including a public plaza, a roof garden and a Scandinavian-styled street.”

Elise adds: “We’re also looking to implement some exciting tech solutions, which will include automatic bike parking for our visitors. We know this will be popular, as Shanghai is such a big cycling city.”

Green space

Sustainability is a core part of this project. Using available green technology, we’ll provide people visiting or working in LIVAT Linkong with improved air quality, water quality, lighting and noise reduction.

“We’re working to achieve two major certifications: WELL  and LEED1,” explains Angel Liu, Country Sustainability Manager, Ingka Centres China. “LEED provides the framework to encourage a cost- saving and sustainable building, and it’s something we’re very proud to work towards. WELL is more about peoples’ health and wellbeing, and the certification guarantees that all offices will have higher air quality, which is really important in a major city like Shanghai.”

This is the first project of its kind for Ingka Centres, and its mix of meeting places, accessibility and thriving city location will stand as a strong statement of our plans for the future. Urban concepts like this will, after all, keep us relevant in times where more people are moving into cities.

As Ding Hui, Country Manager, Ingka Centres China, says: “This project is exciting, and it’s also a big sign of commitment. Because we’ll deliver more on two fronts: more than an IKEA store, and more than a shopping centre. We’ll deliver a meeting place for the people of Shanghai.”

1) LEED: The LEED green building system, launched in 2003, is used world-wide to rate buildings performance on energy, water and resource saving, waste generation and human health support.
WELL: The WELL Building Standard, launched in 2014, is the premier standard for buildings, interior spaces and communities seeking to implement, validate and measure features that support and advance human health and wellness.