Named The Plus, the factory development, which will include a visitor centre and a 300-acre park, is set to be built within a forest near the village of Magnor in the east of Norway.
Designed by BIG, the 6,501-square-metre factory takes its name from its cross shape. It will consist of four green-roof-covered wings, containing the furniture manufacturer’s warehouse, colour factory, wood factory and the assembly area, extending from a central atrium.
Two of these wings will be publicly accessible with walking tracks running up them, giving visitors access to the roof and a view of the central atrium from above. Large glass windows will allow visitors to look inside the buildings that are closed off to the public to see the inner workings of the factory.
“With Vestre we have imagined a factory that is simultaneously front of house and back of house,” said BIG founder Bjarke Ingels.
“The beauty of the factory is the clarity of its organisation. Conceived as the intersection of a road and a production line it forms a large plus connecting everything to everything,” he explained.
“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.”
BIG designed the factory to be an exemplar of sustainable architecture, and according to the furniture brand it will generate 50 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions than a conventional factory of the same size.
When complete, the architecture studio expects the building to be the first industrial projects in the Nordic region to gain a BREEAM outstanding environmental rating.
The building is constructed from local timber and low-carbon concrete with recycled reinforcement steel. It will be powered by an energy supply system that combines 1,200 solar panel and geothermal wells, while surplus heat created during the production process will be used to heat the building.
According to the architecture studio, this means that the building’s energy requirement is 90 percent lower than an equivalent factory.
“Vestre will be the world’s most sustainable furniture manufacturer,” said Jan Christian Vestre, CEO of 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,” he continued.
“In that way we will ensure global competitiveness through our leadership in environmentally-conscious production.”
The factory will be located around half way between Vestre’s headquarters in Oslo and its existing manufacturing plant in Torsby, Sweden, which was designed by architecture studio Snøhetta.
Materials will be moved between the facilities by a fleet of all-electric Tesla trucks.
Vestre is a Norwegian furniture manufacturer that was established in Haugesund in 1947. Earlier this year the company won the best stand award at Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair for an installation designed by Note Design Studio.
The stand was made from re-usable materials and had information displayed about the carbon footprint of every product.
At the time, Jan Christian Vestre said he believes the company was the first furniture brand in the world to publish carbon information on its product range.
“We’re doing it because we want to be really open and transparent,” he said. “I would like to say that clients are actually demanding it, but they aren’t yet.”
Client: Jan Christian Vestre / VESTRE AS
Collaborators: Fokus Rådgivning, Gade & Mortensen, Erichsen og Horgen AS, ØM Fjeld AS, Foyn Consult AS, Nordic Architects AS, Norconsult AS, Multiconsult AS, Splitkon AS
Partners-in-charge: Bjarke Ingels, David Zahle, Ole Elkjær-Larsen
Project manager: Viktoria Millentrup, Eva Seo-Andersen
Team: Julia Tabet, Ariana Szmedra, Ningnan Ye, Ron Bexheti, Ksenia Zhitomirskaya, Jens Majdal Kaarsholm, Ulla Hornsyld, Eduardo Javier Sosa Treviño, Steen Kortbæk Svendsen, Kristoffer Negendahl, Pin Tungjaroen, Neringa Jurkonyte, Magni Waltersson, Cheng-Huang Lin, Tommy Bjørnstrup, Tristan Harvey, Duncan Horswill, Katrine Juul, Alexander Jacobsen, Tore Banke, Frederic Lucien Engasser, Thor Larsen-Lechuga, Katrine Sandstrøm, Jesper Petersen, Kaoan Hengles, Ewa Zapiec, Ariana Ribas, Andy Coward, Andreas Bak, Nanna Gyldholm Møller
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