Norway designs a futuristic furniture factory

Norwegian public opinion is highly sensitive to environmental issues, and there is a wide range of laws regulating various aspects of environmental policy and the use of natural resources, including specific laws on building regulations, pollution controls, environmental protection and more.

Awareness of environmental issues – such as climate change, protection of the ozone layer, bio-diversity and hazardous waste – is very high and the country’s environmental policies are deemed to be among the best worldwide.

As a consequence, Norway has initiated a series of measures and commitments to address environmental challenges, and it is now world-leading in sustainable energy. Norway’s electricity production is 97% renewable, and by 2020 the government aims to reduce the emission of green-house gases by 30%.

Highly sensitive to ecological concerns, the country has a well-developed environmental regulatory system with a strong focus on renewable energy production.

As part of this effort, several firms are attempting to reduce the impact of their operations with factories and offices using clever design, interesting materials and renewable sources of energy.

Eco-friendly factory

In July this year, designs for a new furniture factory in Norway were released that designers hope will be sustainable, aesthetically pleasing and technologically advanced.

Conceived by Norwegian furniture manufacturers Vestre, the proposed factory, known as The Plus, is a 6,500-square-metre building that will be located in Magnor and is surrounded by trees.  The project is located just over 100 km east of Oslo and is the largest single investment in the Norwegian furniture industry in decades.

With an investment of close to 300 million Norwegian Kroners (NOK), the state-of-the-art development project is being designed by renowned architects Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), a Copenhagen and New York-based group of architects, designers, builders and thinkers operating within the fields of architecture, urbanism, research and development.

Work on the project is said to start in August with a completion date of late early 2022.

Sustainability factor

Thanks to the 1,200 solar panels situated on its roof, Vestre’s new factory will produce 2,50,000 kW of renewable energy. It will reduce green-house gas emissions by 50% compared to a conventional factory and will set a new benchmark across the industry worldwide.

In addition to functioning as a factory, the site will also house a visitor’s centre and 300-acre park, making the location a popular destination for many.

More than 90% of the water used in production will be recycled and the factory will use driverless electric trucks and “self-learning industrial robots” that use artificial intelligence and “object recognition” technology.

Vestre, producers of urban furniture for over 70 years, has continued in its push to raise the bar and set new standards within the industry with its third-generation CEO, Mr Jan Christian Vestre, collaborating on projects across the globe and taking an uncompromising stance on sustainability.

“Vestre will be the world’s most sustainable furniture manufacturer,” says Jan, “and building The Plus will be an important step in reaching this goal. By using cutting-edge technology and Scandinavian collaboration, we can produce faster and greener than ever.”

Materials were carefully chosen to fit the concept and include local timber, low-carbon concrete and recycled reinforcement steel. Here, automation will meet nature, as accessible green roofs (where employees and the public are invited to stroll and hike) blend with smart robots and digital technologies inside.

The Plus is set to become the first industrial building in the whole Nordic region to achieve Bream Outstanding, which is the highest environmental certification of its kind.

The Plus could shift global mind-sets towards the urgent need for change and it is hoped that the project will act as a global and optimistic frontrunner, inspiring and encouraging many more to follow.

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