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BIG, factory, sustainability

A colourful plus in the forest: sustainable furniture factory by BIG

The village of Magor lies halfway between Vestre’s headquarters in Oslo and the company’s steel plant in Torsby, Sweden. This is where the new facility for the outdoor furniture manufacturer will stand − in the middle of the forest.

The four main production halls, each of which will respectively house a paint factory, wood mill, assembly plant and warehouse, are arranged in the shape of a plus sign around a circular inner courtyard. Open and transparent in design, the factory will invite visitors and passing ramblers to follow the manufacturing process, as they would in a museum. The intersection of the plus sign is home to the logistics office and the furniture showroom. The four production halls are directly connected, meaning that traffic can move in the most logical, efficient way. Every machine is painted a different colour; this colour continues on the floor and, like a flowchart, leads to the centre of the plant via colourful “islands”. This colourful solution makes the work process practically self-explanatory to visitors.

In each wing, one corner of the roof is higher than the others. This creates sloping roofs that enable visitors to see into the production facility and gives employees views of the forest canopy. Visitors on foot can reach the planted rooftop terrace by following pathways or a wheelchair-accessible ramp along the façade.

Twelve hundred photovoltaic panels on the roof will supply energy to an icewater-based cooling system as well as storage for heat and cold, heat pumps and energy sources. Thanks to these systems, the factory will require 90% less energy than comparable conventional factories. By using environmentally friendly materials such as native wood, low-carbon concrete and recycled reinforcing steel, the Plus is planned as a factory building with a great degree of sustainability.

Intelligent robots, self-driving trucks and having the entire factory administration on tablet are further innovative factors that make the Plus a model for factories of the future. Vestre and BIG aim to start construction this autumn.

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