When a new IKEA store is built, it’s a big deal—and a comprehensive building project with exacting specifications. As the world’s largest home furnishings retailer, with 361 stores in 45 countries, IKEA puts a great deal of research into the selection of its store sites and resulting construction plans.

In line with its Swedish heritage and its respect for the environment, IKEA believes it can “be a good business while doing good business,” and aims to minimize its impact. Globally, IKEA evaluates locations regularly for conservation opportunities, integrates innovative materials into product design, works to maintain sustainable resources, and flat-packs goods for efficient distribution.


That Signature Blue and Yellow Means IKEA in Any Language

So, when IKEA selected Miami as the new home to erect its largest store on the East Coast, and its second-largest nationwide, local building professionals and suppliers were tapped to provide the products and expertise necessary for construction. While all IKEA stores feature a universal design utilizing corporate plans from Sweden, architects, contractors, and specifiers must adhere to local building codes.

Additionally, construction materials and techniques can vary somewhat, based on location and climate. Generally, IKEA’s iconic blue and yellow exterior colors are painted on concrete tilt-up structures. Alternately, the steel panels used to create an IKEA store’s exterior are custom-manufactured in their corporate colors. Insulated Panels, U.S., a high volume provider of insulated metal panels (IMPs), played a pivotal role by providing the colorful metal panels to create the new building's exterior in the company’s signature blue and yellow shades.

In fact, the company’s ability to exactly color-match IKEA’s well-known corporate hues, and on a consistent basis, has made the panel manufacturer a go-to resource for IKEA projects internationally. Brian Pearce, LEED-GA, CSI-CDT, Southeast Regional sales manager for Insulated Roof & Wall Panels, stated, “the main challenge on all IKEA projects is the ability to consistently match the required corporate colors, that famous blue and yellow combination that makes their stores stand out.”

In fact, for their Miami project, Pearce revealed that IKEA “passed over two other IMP manufacturers who were unable to provide panels in an exact color match,” before partnering with the company.

While South Florida’s Notorious Weather Means Rigorous Building Codes

Another crucial factor in specifying products for the Miami IKEA project was the panel manufacturer’s ability to meet Miami-Dade County’s extremely strict building codes. These codes affect all buildings in what is known as the High Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ), a geographic area incorporating all of Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, along with Coastal Palm Beach County. The company’s ability to manufacture IMPs suitable for the treacherous HVHZ sets them apart from competitors who cannot. Both the horizontal and vertical IMPs provided met the area’s high velocity wind and hurricane codes—critical regulations for an extreme weather locale like south Florida.

A Colorful Panel Pairing: 300 Minor Rib and Designwall 2000 Embossed

Built on the platform of their insulated metal panels, the company manufactured 109,000 square feet of their 300 Minor Rib wall panels in IKEA’s famous bright blue. To provide the 15,000 square feet of panels required in IKEA’s accentuating shade of sunny yellow, the Designwall 2000 Embossed architectural wall panel system, part of the BENCHMARK was utilized.

Both of these insulated metal panel products are known for their design flexibility and custom color options. Plus, thanks to their single component design, these versatile IMPs can also increase build speed by up to 50 percent, while also providing a very modern look.

The IMPs provide superior levels of thermal (R-value) and airtightness performance over the service life of the building. The insulation is exterior of the building structure to provide the best thermal envelope by reducing thermal bridging typical of cavity wall systems, resulting in an energy-efficient building envelope ideal for IKEA’s needs.

The exterior skins also contain a substantial amount of recycled content, and the panels themselves are recyclable, helping IKEA in their commitment to promoting sustainability, both in its facilities and in the products it sells.

The company’s ability to provide all of these benefits in the context of a single component wall system is a driving factor in the increased frequency of IMPs being chosen as the cladding of choice for projects. As James Ruckman, AIA, CSI Southeast Regional sales manager for Insulated Roof & Wall Panels said, “Architects are realizing the true benefits of a total building envelope solution with single-component insulated metal panels. One building material can satisfy architects’ requirements for aesthetics, exterior skin, weather barrier, and insulation.”

Swedish Home Styling, Now Available in Sunny Miami

For the Swedish parent company, the Miami project’s end result is another brightly-colored retail building that upholds IKEA’s corporate ideals, meets the area’s notorious weather-based building codes and offers consumers 416,000 square feet of home furnishing shopping adventures. Tour the new store, which opened in August 2014, for yourself at 1801 NW 117th Ave., Miami, Fla. (which is in the greater Miami area.)