Bjarke Ingels Group has unveiled the design for The Plus, a furniture factory for Norwegian urban furniture manufacturer Vestre. The project is expected to become the most sustainable of its kind in the world. Designed to be the first industrial building in the Nordic region to achieve BREEAM Outstanding, the 6,500-square-meter production facility will feature 1,200 rooftop solar panels, heat exchangers, smart robots, self-driving trucks and other energy-efficient technologies to ensure a minimum of 50% less greenhouse gas emissions than comparable factories. Set within the heart of a Norwegian forest, the green-roofed furniture factory will also double as a 300-acre public park for hiking and camping.
The Plus will be located in the village of Magnor, the geographical midpoint between the Vestre headquarters in Oslo and the company’s existing steel factory in Torsby, Sweden. As its name implies, the building will be shaped like a giant plus sign with four wings housing the main production halls — the warehouse, the color factory, the wood factory and the assembly — branching out of the centrally located logistics office and exhibition center. The central hub also surrounds a public circular courtyard for showcasing Vestre’s seasonal outdoor furniture collections.
To meet BREEAM Outstanding standards and become “Paris Agreement-proof”, the architects have selected eco-friendly materials, such as the local timber, low-carbon concrete and recycled reinforcement steel that will make up the facade. The interiors will be built with 21-meter, free-spanning, cross-laminated timber to create flexible, column-free spaces. The Plus’ solar panels will be engineered to direct excess heat to the ice-water system for cooling, heat and cold storage tanks, heat pumps and energy wells. The energy-saving system is estimated to contribute to at least 90% less energy demand than a conventional factory of a comparable size.
“Envisioned as a village for a community dedicated to the cleanest, carbon neutral fabrication of urban and social furniture, The Plus aims to be a global destination for sustainable architecture and high-efficiency production,” BIG explained. “From all four sides of the buildings, visitors and staff are invited to hike around the facility and conclude on the green roof terrace, transforming the furniture factory museum into a campus in the woods.”
Images by Lucian R via BIG