The Ikea Warehouse; From dream to reality

What happens when the intent of architectural gestures extends only to its ability and architectural trickery to make you buy as much as possible? And how, if at all, does the result relate to the notion of “Norwegian architecture”.

Ikea Slependen in Asker is a masterpiece for what it is. Not more so than other Ikea stores around the world, but a masterpiece still. It is hard to walk through the store without at some pointy being intrigued by the possibilities offered to you. Be it to remake your entire living room to look exactly like one of the endless types/sets presented to you in full scale in the exhibition booths, or just the ridiculously low price of something you didn’t know that you needed before. The feeling is almost that of a voyeuristic one when you walk from one bedroom to another, like in a hallway with transparent walls, and you can only dream that changing your life was as easy as stepping from one exhibition booth to another.

Living room

The “false” interior walls divides the display-rooms and acts as background for different types of homes.


The system of symbols is a strong contrast to the displayed goods. Finding the exit is easy as long as you go through the whole warehouse.

A question that occurs when trying to look critically at the architecture of this building is; what is actually the architecture? Is it the purely utilitarian construction of steel, concrete, sheet metal and symbols that encapsulates everything and acts as a sort of tabula rasa for displaying what Ikea hopes are your dreams? The only glimpse you will get of this, is outside from the parking lot or if you at any moment look up at the ceiling from you perfectly arranged living room, to gaze at the vast space of ventilation pipes and lamp rails that is ever present right above your head.
Or is the architecture here actually the rows of doll house like bathrooms, living rooms and bedrooms with fake windows and one wall missing, always shifted and swapped with newer versions to meet the hopes of your new dreams?


Like many large modern buildings the Ikea warehouse contains false walls. However the false ceiling is missing, exposing structure and breaking the illusion of a domestic home(from dream to reality if you will).

An Ikea warehouse is somehow the antithesis of Norwegian architecture. The only relation to the site you will find here is a perfect connection to the highway. All other traces of a naturally created landscape has been leveled to facilitate big parking spaces and simple construction. Still the use of material is very much related to low price and pure functionality like most Norwegian vernacular architecture.

In a world where it’s now possible to sell the same dreams with the same names to people across the globe, you can wonder if putting buildings in categories of nationality is becoming obsolete.


“From dream to reality.”