BIG designs ‘world’s most sustainable furniture factory’ in Norway
BIG and Vestre reveal the new design for The Plus, an urban furniture manufacturer company’s highly sustainable factory in the Norwegian forest
You wouldn’t expect to find industrial architecture in a forest, yet this is exactly where the new factory for urban furniture manufacturer Vestre will be located, when it completes in a few years’ time. Worry not; the manufacturing facility will not be at odds with its natural surroundings. As its architects, the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) explain, this is set to be ‘the world’s most sustainable furniture factory.’
Titled The Plus, the building is conceived as a village, guided by principles such as sustainable architecture and high-efficiency production. The Vestre community will operate within, creating its product using carbon neutral fabrication methods. Meanwhile, the project will double as a public 300-acre park for hiking and camping.
‘Vestre will be the world’s most sustainable furniture manufacturer,’ says the company’s CEO Jan Christian Vestre. ‘Building The Plus will be an important step in reaching this goal. By using cutting-edge technology and Scandinavian collaboration, we can produce faster and greener than ever. In that way we will ensure global competitiveness through our leadership in environmentally-conscious production.’
Materials were carefully chosen to fit the concept and include local timber, low-carbon concrete and recycled reinforcement steel. Here, automation will meet nature, as accessible green roofs (where employees and public are invited to stroll and hike) blend with smart robots and digital technologies inside.
The building’s layout is designed to facilitate workflow. There are four branches - the warehouse, the colour factory, the wood factory and the assembly – all of which connect at a central hub. In this are the logistics office and an exhibition centre.
‘With Vestre we have imagined a factory that is simultaneously front of house and back of house,’ says Bjarke Ingels. ‘The beauty of the factory is the clarity of its organization. Conceived as the intersection of a road and a production line it forms a large plus connecting everything to everything. The radical transparency invites visitors and hikers to enjoy the whole process of manufacturing while providing the workers the thrill of working in the middle of the forest.’
The Plus is set to become the first industrial building in the whole Nordic region to achieve BREAM Outstanding, which is the highest environmental certification of its kind. §