Eco-friendly furniture factory built in a Norwegian forest

Danish architecture studio BIG has designed a factory for furniture maker Vestre in a Norwegian forest, which the brand says will be “the greenest furniture factory in the world”.

Named The Plus, the massive timber Passivhaus, aka passive house, factory development, will include a visitor center and 300-acre park, is set to be built in a forest near the village of Magnor in eastern Norway . Factory Plus has a green roof and solar panels as well as an outdoor slide.

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In collaboration with Vestre, a manufacturer of street furniture, BIG unveils The Plus, the world’s most sustainable furniture factory nestled in the heart of the Norwegian forest. Designed as a village for a community dedicated to making the cleanest, most carbon-neutral street and social furnishings, The Plus aims to be a global destination for sustainable architecture and high-efficiency production.

According to BIG, the Plus is Norway’s biggest investment in furniture in decades, the 6,500m2 open production facility will also serve as a 300-acre public park for hiking and camping while serving as a landmark aligned with the region’s mission to establish green manufacturing. industry. Le Plus will be the first industrial building in the Nordic region to obtain BREAM Outstanding, the highest environmental certification.

All materials are carefully chosen based on their impact on the environment, with the facade being constructed from local timber, low carbon concrete and recycled reinforcing steel. Designed to be a “Paris Agreement proof” building, every aspect of the design is based on renewable and clean energy principles to match Vestre’s environmentally friendly production, such as ensuring a minimum of 50% less greenhouse gas emissions than comparable plants.

The Plus is located in the village of Magnor, geographically midway between Vestre’s headquarters in Oslo and the company’s existing steelworks in Torsby, Sweden. The building is designed as a radial network of four main production halls – the warehouse, the color factory, the wood factory and the assembly – which connect at the center.

The layout allows for an efficient, flexible and transparent workflow between manufacturing units, thus generating the “plus” shape at its intersection. At the center of The Plus is the logistics office and exhibition center with direct connections to the four production halls, allowing Vestre employees to handle logistics traffic with maximum efficiency.

The central core wraps around a circular public courtyard where the latest outdoor furniture collections are prominently displayed throughout the seasons. The outdoor square also serves as a panopticon allowing visitors and staff to discover the factory’s production processes in complete transparency.

The Plus will use several Industry 4.0 solutions, such as smart robots, self-driving trucks and a tablet to manage the entire factory. Each machine is assigned one of the 200 colors of Vestre, which spread across the floors and back into the central roundabout. This colorful machine mapping gives strong visual cues that help guide and explain the workflow of the Vestre production facility, allowing visitors to easily follow the production process as if they were visiting a museum. Inside the factories, each wing has an alternating ceiling corner raised to create sloping roofs that allow views inside the production halls and outside the forest canopies. With the color and wood factory, the sloping roofs are extended to form a path allowing visitors and staff to walk up and down the building while following the production processes inside. The four production units will be constructed with 21m clear span cross-laminated timber, creating flexible postless spaces. A 3 m wide service corridor provides the technical infrastructure and the structural stability of each wing.

From all four sides of the buildings, visitors and staff are invited to stroll around the facility and conclude on the green roof terrace, transforming the furniture factory museum into a campus in the woods. An ADA-accessible ramp allows wheelchairs and strollers to meander down the winding path and enjoy the immersive experience of being among the pines. The Plus reinforces Vestre’s vision of combining social and democratic spaces with a future enriched by technology but grounded in history and nature.

On the roof, 1,200 photovoltaic panels are placed and oriented according to optimal solar efficiency. Excess heat from the panels is connected to a chilled water system for cooling, heat and cold storage tanks, heat pumps and energy sinks as a storage support system. Overall, the system contributes to at least 90% lower energy demand than a similar conventional plant.

About Gertrude H. Kerr

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