Together, Vestre and BIG have created an entirely new typology, where people, production, technology, architecture, and nature are completely integrated with each other.
The Plus is conceived as the direct translation of logistics into architecture. The four production areas – the colour factory, the wood factory, the assembly department, and the warehouse – are arrayed around a central courtyard that forms the very heart of the building. The geometry provides an open and efficient workflow, while allowing all four wings of the factory to be in direct contact with the forest. At the centre of the building lies the experience centre, which provides 360-degree views of the whole production process.
Direct contact with the forest
Because the junction between the factory’s four wings needs to accommodate all production-related traffic smoothly and efficiently, it has been designed in the shape of an indoor roundabout. This leaves space for an open-air central courtyard where Vestre can showcase our latest furniture collections through every season of the year. A colourful staircase leads visitors and employees up to the experience centre and office.
By cleverly raising one corner of each wing of the factory, the architects have created a view from the roof that alternates between the forest canopy and the production halls.
The view from the roof shows how the factory's propeller-like wings form a reciprocal system that creates not only a logistical hub, but a structural nexus. The four wings will have a 21-metre, free-spanning gluelam frame construction. A 3-metre-wide braced service corridor will house the technical infrastructure and provide structural stability for each wing. Ducts in the factory floor will allow power, compressed air, and ventilation to be routed to the relevant machinery, ensuring that as much of thise infrastructure as possible is hidden away.
To add a sense of playfulness to the factory, each machine is coated in one of Vestre's RAL colours, which spill out over the floor to create an archipelago of colours that links back to the central roundabout. Since each factory wing has its own colour code, this mapping of the machinery provides an orientation system in an otherwise completely symmetrical space. With this visual reference, it is easy to identify, trace and explain the workflow. Vestre wants to create a new perception of what manufacturing looks like and, as part of that, the colours are intended to be particularly appealing to children.
The Plus is truly a factory in the forest. Great efforts will be made to keep the trees as close to the building as possible. The building’s façade material is charred larch timber cladding. The method is to make the tree almost maintenance-free and is also fire and fungal retardant. This is also a subtle reference to local history. The first immigrants who came to Magnor from Finland in the 17th century were known for their productive slash-and-burn agriculture. Portions of the forest were burned down, and grain sown in the ashes.
The area surrounding the factory will be kept completely open to the general public. There will be no fences or closed-off areas. We hope that hikers will make active use of the park and even pitch their tents close to the factory. In this way, The Plus represents a tribute to Norway's traditional ‘right to roam’.
& Wood Factory
Floor space:7 000 square meters
Workforce:30-70 full-time equivalents
Budget:300 000 000 NOK
Construction owner:The Plus AS (Vestre-konsernet)
Architect / landscape architect / structural engineer:BIG Bjarke Ingels Group ApS
Project manager:Fokus Rådgivning AS
Cost analysis:Bygganalyse AS
Main contractor:Ø.M. Fjeld AS
Groundwork:Melby Maskin AS
CLT and glulam:Woodcon AS, Moelven Limtre AS, Stora Enso AB
RIE:Foyn Consult AS
Rør og sprinkler:Yc Rør AS
Electro:Energima Prosjekt AS
RIV:Erichsen & Horgen AS
BREEAM-AP:Nordic Office of Architecture AS
Ecology:Asplan Viak AS
Building physics:Norconsult AS
Wood FactoryWeinig Vertrieb Und Service Gmbh & Co. Kg, A Falkenberg Eftf AS og Dagsland Miljø AS
Color FactoryGreiff Industrimiljö AB, Lakteknik ApS, Nordson Deutschland GmbH
Supported by:Innovasjon Norge, Eidskog kommune, Enova, Klosser Innovasjon og Siva
Financing partner:Danske Bank, GIEK
Over the next years, we are developing an experience park, Forest Camp, around the factory that will include exciting activities for the whole family. Enlarged Vestre furniture will create playgrounds, forest auditoriums, swings, viewpoints, and dining areas. Additionally, we will build a bridge over the Vrangselva River that will connect Vestre Forest Camp to the center of Magnor. Here, you will also find a poetry path featuring works by Hans Børli, one of Norway's most beloved poets, who lived in this municipality throughout his entire life.
BIG Bjarke Ingels Group
BIG Bjarke Ingels Group is a Danish architectural firm established in 2005. The company currently employs over 500 architects in Copenhagen, New York, London, and Barcelona. Aftenposten has referred to Bjarke Ingels as "one of the world's most successful architects," and Ingels has been listed in Time Magazine's "100 Most Influential People." BIG is responsible for projects such as Google's headquarters in California, Lego House in Billund, and Amager Bakke in Copenhagen, the world's cleanest waste-to-energy plant featuring an artificial ski slope on its roof. BIG's only project in Norway so far is The Twist, the spectacular bridge that twists ninety degrees over the Randselva River at the Kistefos Museum in Innlandet municipality.