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|Gaustadvegen, Magnor, Norge
Norwegian furniture manufacturer Vestre and BIG reveal THE PLUS – a new furniture factory, visitor center, and 300-acre explorable forest. 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.
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.