Architecture and inspiration
Ingvar Kamprad asked Claes Knutsson, the town architect in Alvesta, to design the new IKEA store. Claes was already known to Ingvar and IKEA, as he designed the store in Älmhult in the late 1950s. But what Claes Knutsson had really created in Älmhult was not so much a store as an elegant showroom, where visitors could stroll around, see and feel the furniture before buying it and having it delivered. You might say that Knutsson designed a showroom in Älmhult, which eventually became a store. But now it was Stockholm’s turn, and the mission was to design Europe’s biggest furniture store – 45,800 square metres in total. The Guggenheim Museum in New York is often given as the inspiration for the architecture, but some sources say this may not be the full truth. The same year that architect Claes Knutsson went to New York and visited the Guggenheim, Ingvar also went on a journey. However, Ingvar didn’t go to any art museums, but was inspired by a Dutch builder’s merchants that had an exciting round shape. So when Mr. Knutsson and Mr. Kamprad then met up and discussed the design for the new furniture store in Stockholm, the inspiration may have come from two places: both Frank Lloyd Wright’s spectacular architecture, and a builder’s merchants in the Netherlands.