Norwegian furniture manufacturer Vestre and BIG celebrate the opening of THE PLUS – a new furniture factory, experience center, and 300-acre public park. The colorful manufacturing village is dedicated to the cleanest, carbon-neutral fabrication of urban furniture, leading the way for manufacturing facilities and high-efficiency production of the future.
Norway’s single largest investment in furniture industry in decades, the 7,000 m2 production facility doubles as a public park for hiking and camping and aligns with the region’s mission to establish a green manufacturing hub outside of Oslo. Constructed in just 18 months, the building is made of local mass timber, low-carbon concrete, and recycled steel, and is set to become the first industrial building to achieve the highest environmental BREEAM Outstanding rating.
“The Plus will be the world’s most environmentally friendly furniture factory. Building The Plus is 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.” Stefan Tjust, CEO of Vestre.
The Plus is conceived as a radial array of four main production halls – a warehouse, color factory, wood factory, and the assembly – that connect at the center and generate the ‘plus’ shape at its intersection. The layout enables an efficient, flexible, and transparent workflow between the manufacturing units and the intuitive visitor experience. Like a flowchart, the entire interior is organized with the color of each machine overflowing to the floors. Exploring The Plus feels like moving through an archipelago of colorful islands where the experience and overview of the factory’s activities are unified.
“Constructed from locally-sourced timber and running on local hydropower, the beauty of The Plus is in the clarity of its organization. Conceived as the intersection of a road and a production line, it forms a big plus shape that connects all aspects of manufacturing,” says Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner and Creative Director, BIG. “To us, The Plus is a crystal-clear example of Hedonistic Sustainability – showing us how our sustainable future will not only be better for the environment, but also more beautiful to work in and more fun to visit.”
The heart of The Plus draws visitors into the exhibition centers Vestre Energy and Clean Water Center where the public can learn about energy, water and circular design. A logistics office with direct connections to all four production halls allows Vestre’s team to process logistical traffic with maximum efficiency. The central hub wraps around a public, circular courtyard where the latest outdoor furniture collections are displayed and changed according to the changing seasons.
The courtyard doubles as a panopticon for visitors and staff to fully experience the factory’s production processes. Inside the factories, each wing has one alternating ceiling corner lifted to create inclined roofs that allow views into the production halls as well as the forest outside. Along the color and wood factory, the sloping roofs are extended to form a pathway for visitors and staff to hike up and down the building while observing the production processes inside.
All four production units are built with 21 meter free-spanning, cross-laminated timber, creating flexible column free-spaces. From all four sides of the buildings, visitors and staff will be invited to hike around the facility and end their walk on the green roof terrace.
On the rooftop, 900 photovoltaic panels are placed and angled according to optimal solar efficiency.
While effective construction and materials methods, rainwater collection systems, heat and cooling systems, green roofs, electric vehicles and much else contribute to ca 90% lower energy demand than that of a conventional factory. An ADA-accessible ramp will allow wheelchairs and strollers to enjoy the serpentine path and the experience of being surrounded by pine trees on all sides.
Proving that production can be sustainable and profitable even in a high-cost country like Norway, The Plus – a hybrid of a transparent and open production facility, a public park, and a literal green landmark for the manufacturing industry – exemplifies how advancements in fabrication and manufacturing can help shape both the factories of the future, and the way we experience them. Source by BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group.
- Location: Gaustadvegen, Magnor, Norway
- Architect: BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group
- Partners-in-Charge: Bjarke Ingels, David Zahle, Ole Elkjaer-Larsen
- Project Leader: Viktoria Millentrup
- Project Manager: Eva Seo-Andersen, Tommy Bjørnstrup
- Team: Agnieszka Wardzinska, Ákos Márk Horváth, Ariana Szmedra, Cheng-Huang Lin, Claudia Bertolotti, Eduardo Javier Sosa Trevino, Eva Seo-Andersen, Ewa Zapiec, Filip Fot, Frederik Skou Jensen, Jenna Kaisa Hukkinen, Jonas Høgh Rask, Julia Novaes Tabet, Julien Bernard Jacques Picard, Julius Victor Schneevoigt, Ksenia Zhitomirskaya, Luca Pileri, Magni Waltersson, Nanna Gyldholm Møller, Neringa Jurkonyte, Ningnan Ye, Palita Tungjaroen, Rron Bexheti, Steen Kortbæk Svendsen, Thor Larsen-Lechuga, Tobias Hjortdal, Xingyue Huang, Zuzanna Eugenia Montwill
- BIG Engineering: Andrea Hektor, Andrew Robert Coward, Duncan Horswill, Andreas Bak, Edward Durie, Bjarke Koch-Ørvad, Cecilie Søs Brandt-Olsen, Jesper Kanstrup Petersen, Sui King Yu, Tristan Robert Harvey, Miles Treacy, Kaoan Hengles De Lima
- BIG Landscape: Giulia Frittoli , Ulla Hornsyld, Ariana Ribas, Marcel Götz, Anne Katrine Sandstrøm, Camille Inès Sophie Breuil
- BIG Sustainability: Tore Banke, Alexander Matthias Jacobson, Frederic Lucien Engasser, Katrine Juul
- Collaborators: Bollinger+Grohmann (Local engineer), Gade & Mortensen (Acoustic consultant), Nordic Architects AS (BREEAM Certification), Asplan Viak (Ecologist), Erichsen og Horgen AS (Energy calculations), Norconsult (Building Physics consultant), Erichsen og Horgen AS (Mechanical engineer), Foyn Rådgivning (Electrical engineer), Fokus Rådgivning (Fire consultant), Multiconsult (Geotechnical consultant), Fokus Rådgivning (Project management and site administration), ØM Fjeld (Main contractor), Woodcon AS (CLT contractor), Reflex (Façade contractor), Hallås AS, Loe VVS Prosjekt AS, Norconsult AS, COWI AS, Fokus Råd AS, Melby Maskin AS, EMV Construction AS, YC RØR AS, Energima Prosjekt AS, Minel Elinstallasjon AS, Solcellespesialisten AS, TKS Heiser AS, Bygganalyse AS, Evotek AS.
- Client: Vestre AS
- Size: 7,000 M2
- Opening date: June 3rd, 2022
- Photographs: Einar Aslaksen, Courtesy of BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group