Shop sustainably

“The Building of the Year 2022” is built entirely in wood with the feel of an old-time covered market. The climate-smart ICA grocery store in Sjöbo, southern Sweden, is the start of a whole new district with a focus on human interaction.

As one of Sweden’s most sustainable ICA stores, ICA Solvik offers a customer experience that goes beyond the ordinary. In an age where online shopping is more time-efficient, the appeal of physical retail space lies in more personal values.

The ICA store is the starting point for a long-term investment in the development of the district, with a future residential area steeped in ecological thinking and welcoming comfort. Carl-Henrik Lagnefors, lead developer and project manager at Melica Invest, says that the ICA store is the beating heart around which the rest of the new Westerport district will revolve.

“The idea is to attract people from Lund and Malmö. People of all ages will be able to live here, with easy access to both urban and rural areas, and commuting options close at hand. We’ll be building connections, homes and schools, and most importantly, everything will be as sustainable as possible. The new store is leading the way, as the community hub,” says Carl-Henrik.

The development has featured a clear focus on ecological materials with a low carbon footprint. Having had good past experiences with wood construction, there was no doubt in Carl-Henrik’s mind – Sjöbo’s ICA store should be built in wood. With this ambition, contact was made with architectural practice Semrén & Månsson in Gothenburg, and Isak Heedman, lead architect for ICA Solvik, was immediately on board.

Together, Carl-Henrik and Isak took the wood concept further, with a view to proving how well wood works for commercial properties. ICA Solvik is a prime example of this, says Isak.

“The whole building is special. We wanted to recreate the feeling of an authentic covered market – with daylight falling from the ceiling, large windows and plenty of space. In a project like this, you want to be able to see, touch and smell the wood. We chose to have large expanses of exposed wood rather than covering it all up with plastic or plaster. We’ve used glulam for the posts and beams, CLT in the walls and roof and cedar wood on the facade and canopy. These are materials that will age beautifully and require no maintenance,” says Isak.

"Glulam is crucial for the shapeof the frame and the building"

Isak Heedman, archtect Semrén & Månsson

The excellent level of cooperation from everyone involved, including Setra as supplier of all the glulam, is often highlighted as one of the reasons for the project’s success. Another key factor is that the store was designed from the outset with wood, and glulam in particular, in the starring role, explains Isak.

“One advantage of glulam is that it can clear long spans; you want to have as few columns as possible in a store. Glulam is crucial for the shape of the frame and the building. Overall, the project has a high level of integration between appearance and structure, in a design that is beautiful, smart and functional. Being able to think and design with wood in mind right from the start has been incredibly beneficial,” says Isak.

Text: Marie Karlsson
Image: Fredric Sehéler

Published: 2023-02-02

About the project

Location: Sjöbo, southern Sweden
Year: 2021
Gross Area: 1,800 m²
Developer: Melica Invest & Sjöson
Architect: Semrén & Månsson
Structural Engineer: Timratec
Building Contractor: Thage i Skåne
Building Materials: CLT, glulam, cedar shingles and cedar cladding.

Award Winning Design
Named Building of the Year 2022 in the category Industry, Logistics and Retail by Swedish industry magazine Byggindustrin.

More to come
The new ICA supermarket in Östhammar will open in 2023, another store built entirely in wood, also with Setra supplying the glulam.

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