Lidl’s new-age concept store in Sigtuna

Co-operation between Sweco, LINK arkitektur and Lidl on designing wood-structured stores began in 2017 in Sigtuna, Sweden. The structures of the sustainably implemented concept store were developed in co-operation within Sweco’s international designer team.

Opening in 2020, the Lidl store in Sigtuna, Sweden, was designed with sustainability and responsibility in mind from start to finish. The store was awarded the highest BREEAM environmental classification thanks to several carefully thought-out choices from solar panels to a green roof.

“Concept design for a wood-structured store has previously been carried out in Germany, but the Sigtuna store is the first of its kind in the Nordic countries,” says Project Manager Susanna Friman from Sweco’s Finnish team with enthusiasm. One of Lidl’s prerequisites was that the new-age store must not negatively impact biodiversity in the area. “Various ecological zones were designed around the building, and there are charging stations for electric cars and bikes in the yard.” 

The designer of the location, the Stockholm-based architectural firm LINK arkitektur, wanted the entirety of the store to evoke images of a traditional market hall. Consequently, the building also houses a café, a deli and a pharmacy. “The architecture brilliantly supports the environmentally friendly look of the store, while the division of the interior into several smaller parts creates a cosy atmosphere,” Friman describes. 

Co-operation by an international network of experts 

The most interesting challenge in the project was implementing the novel concept in co-operation within Sweco’s international network of experts. People of Sweco from Sweden and Finland worked as a team. 

“We had a great team spirit and a real hands-on approach, making the project a joy to take forward!” Friman says. Fluent co-operation across borders required active communication and good design management. “My job was to make sure that every designer knew what the others were doing. All of the experts were willing to push themselves in order to reach the shared goal.” 

Project Director Federico Pinna from Sweco’s Stockholm office also appreciates Sweco’s ability to carry out international co-operation. “I believe that interaction was a definite cornerstone in the success of the project. It was great to get to lead this unique group, whose ideas and know-how gave birth to brand-new design innovations.” 

The Lidl store in Sigtuna was implemented primarily through hybrid design, meaning that the designers selected materials and a structure system that would best suit the location. All wood and steel structures, such as the beam columns and solid wood CLT elements, were designed in Finland. 

“Hybrid design involves finding the most cost-efficient solutions, making it absolutely necessary to have the right people for the right jobs,” Friman emphasises. 

Responsible wood construction with Lidl continues 

Thanks to the successful project, Lidl, LINK arkitektur and Sweco have continued their co-operation by designing another Lidl store in Visby, Sweden. Now the bar has been set even higher. 

“Lidl’s new concept store will be implemented almost entirely with wood, and it will also be Sweden’s first carbon-neutral store building,” Friman says. Next, the concept development work will continue on the other side of the Baltic Sea. “There is demand for our wood construction know-how in Finland as well, and we have gotten to take part in concept design with Lidl Finland also.”