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Meatballs and Modern Furniture: IKEA Opens 3,000sqm Dream Location Across from Jing'an Temple

Jul 21, 2020 | 17:00 Tue
IKEA has finally addressed the worst thing about IKEA; the fact that it's not five minutes from my house. No more! The Swedish church of modern living has occupied the building that used to be the Old Navy directly across Huashan Lu from the Jing'an Temple, and turned into a 3,000sqm temple of soothing, Scanditastic home furnishings, with a cafe. It's opening to what will almost certainly be hordes of shoppers and their grandkids on Thursday, July 23, but we (and two hundred KOLs) got a little sneak peek. Hot dogs? Check. Meatballs? Check. Nap corner? Check.

They're calling it IKEA City (implying the others are IKEA Middle-of-Nowhere); a smaller, sleeker, urban-friendly location providing, and I'm quoting them directly here, "home furnishing solutions that have never been seen before." This closet is also a bath tub! The sink flips over to reveal a TV, and the bed goes on the wall! Maximizing — no, innovatizing — the 45sqm you've managed to carve out of the concrete jungle for 7,000rmb per month!

I kid, it's mostly a lot of online-offline integration and QR codes.

IKEA City is spread over three floors. The third floor holds the "Design Center," where people with the budget (and property) for redecoration can use little AR-activated building blocks and touch screens to draft their home layout. Of more immediate interest, however, is the large array of cheap, good-quality kitchen stuff. A pack of five 4.5 liter ziplock bags costs 20rmb and this teflon pan that's perfectly sized and angled for pancake flipping costs like 29.9rmb.

There's a small Food Market; plenty of jam and KEX biscuits but only two freezers (the kind you get ice cream in at Family Mart) with meatballs, hot dogs and sirloin. There's also a canteen, doing 15 meatballs with lingonberry jam for 20.5rmb, which you can eat with a pretty amazing view of Jing'an Temple.

The second floor is mostly the usual array of furnishings laid out in thematic, aspirational setpieces, like a beige living room or a decidedly sexy black and red bedroom with floor to ceiling mirrors overlooking Shanghai Brewhouse. You won't be walking out with full furniture here. It's not a warehouse. Instead, you scan the QR codes with your WeChat and order the furniture for delivery.

The ground floor has a bunch more furniture and stuff but the highlight is the "Swedish On the Go" counter where you can get your 6rmb hot dogs (Update: it appears that a couple of days after opening, they're only selling 15rmb Cheese Steak Dogs and 9rmb Meatball and Spaghetti Dogs

Hell yeah, IKEA! It's downtown now! Great news, except...

No mix-and-match candy anywhere to be seen. They'd best fix that right quick.


IKEA City is located at 1730 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Huashan Lu / 南京西路1730号, 近华山路. It opens to the public on Thursday, July 23.


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