The Plus: an architectural project that will change the history of factories


The Plus project
© Einar Aslaksen


The Plus is the project for which BIG architects have been acclaimed in specialized media, and now is beginning to be called “the world’s greenest furniture factory.” Why? Simple, because the 7,000 m2 building will generate 55% less greenhouse gas emissions than a conventional factory.


Green architecture experts say that the building located in Magnor, Norway, and belonging to the Vestre brand, will become the first project in the world to achieve an “Outstanding” BREEAM environmental rating. That is, the highest of its kind.


But how did the BIG team achieve all this? Keep reading, and we’ll tell you all about it.


Nothing is taken for granted

The first thing that stands out about Vestre’s new factory is its cross-shaped structure, which is no coincidence. Designed to congregate the brand’s four production areas (Color Factory, Wood Factory, Assembly, and Warehouse) around a circular courtyard, the factory is made in the image of its company.


In this regard, BIG partner David Zahle said that the joy, democracy, and sustainability that are at the core of the Vestre brand in everything they do were the elements that inspired them to produce this colorful wooden factory in the middle of the Norwegian forests. “Also, the building is surrounded by a 300,000 m2 public forest park, where the local community can come to experience the giant Vestre furniture scattered throughout, and live and breathe the brand’s philosophy,” added Zahle.


The Plus project
© Einar Aslaksen


Sustainability as motto

As in all its projects, BIG placed sustainability, environmental considerations, and transparency at the core of its creative vision for “The Plus.” That is why, in the particular case of the Vestre factory, the Danish architectural firm included 900 solar panels that will generate approximately 250,000 kWh of energy per year in the design of the roof, allowing the recycling of between 90 and 95% of the water used during production.


Viktoria Millentrup, project leader said that “the task of creating a sustainable, accessible, and colorful production facility with a public park felt like designing a completely new typology.” Millentrup, who is part of the BIG team, explained that with The Plus, the studio created a prototype for the ecological transition that demonstrates that manufacturing can be sustainable, social, local, and profitable at the same time.


On the other hand, Vestre hopes that The Plus will become a global inspiration, showing that industrial projects can also be global innovators in the environmental field. It is also the Norwegian company’s intention to help Magnor and the region continue to attract more companies that not only want to work for the success of the global Scandinavian market, but also to change the mindset of the industrial park.


The project, which was completed in just 18 months, opened its doors on June 3 under the slogan: The Plus, a factory for the people.  The rationale behind this slogan is that the Vestre building is not only sustainable but also the most open and transparent factory in the world.


The Plus has no protective fences or borders, so visitors will be able to see inside the factory from its large windows in all four wings. They can also climb the exterior ramps and access the green roof for a better view of the factory and the surrounding pine forest.


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