Architects' Client of the Year – Vestre, The Plus

Company description:

In just 18 months, Norwegian furniture manufacturer Vestre completed its new factory in the dense forests near the municipality of Magnor, Norway, it opened in 2022. As the largest investment in the Norwegian furniture industry for decades, the factory is a globally acclaimed showcase for sustainable and efficient production. Together with Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Vestre has developed a completely new typology for factories in which people, production, technology, architecture and nature are closely linked. Four production areas were accommodated on around 6,500 sqm of floor space. The special geometry of the building supports an open and efficient workflow. The heart of The Plus is the open Courtyard with a maple tree in the centre of the building. It not only connects the production areas with the offices and the visitor centre, but also provides visitors and employees with insights into the production process. In order to keep the impact on nature as low as possible, mainly recycled materials and renewable domestic raw materials were used for its construction. With 50% less greenhouse gas emissions in manufacturing, for waste heat recovery technology and the additional generation of around 250,000 kWh of renewable energy per year through more than 1,200 solar panels, The Plus is designed to be the first furniture factory in the world to receive the highest BREEAM environmental certification, Outstanding.

Statement of the jury

In The Plus, Vestre is paving the way for what is possible: economic growth, not despite, but thanks to a commitment to a green, climate-friendly future. Building in and with nature – that was the wish of the Norwegian manufacturer of street furniture for the new factory. It was created by the renowned architectural firm Bjarke Ingels Group, which also clearly expressed the added value of the new building for the environment and for people in its shape. From the air, the factory looks like a huge plus symbol in the landscape, surrounded by forest landscape. In fact, the structure is made up of five sections, whose functions converge at the central point of contact: the four production wings rises to 21 m above a free-standing glued laminate frame construction, in the centre there is a visitor centre and offices with a circular atrium. The result is a unique typology resulting from the logistical requirements, which is always in contact with the forest thanks to wraparound window strips and facades. A real plus for nature, employees and the brand, which deserves the honorary »Architects Client of the Year« award.

Statement Vestre:

“We are very grateful for this honour and recognition. No factory building like The Plus has ever been built before. Vestre had a clear vision for creating the cleanest and greenest furniture factory in the world. For a family-owned Norwegian furniture maker, a new flagship facility in the middle of a Norwegian forest is a tool to change the world: The green shift is possible! Together with Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) we developed a new typology for factories. When realising The Plus, we never wavered from the original goal or made any quality compromises. Our hope is there will be a green industry boom and more companies choose to over-achieve our collective climate goals.”

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