Snøhetta has designed Vestre’s new headquarters and showroom in Drammensveien 44 in Oslo. The headquarters are situated in a 1930’s functionalistic brick building, designed by architects Thorvald and Henning Astrup, which once housed the Norwegian doctor’s association, Det norske medicinske Selskab.
Acknowledged for its high-quality, long-lasting furniture in a wide-range of colors, Vestre is a family driven company developing and manufacturing original designs for urban environments. Snøhetta’s mission was to create a space that would truly reflect Vestre’s brand and the company’s attention to values such as functionality, quality and longevity.
Even though the new headquarters accommodate just under ten people, the office space is designed to welcome larger groups during social events, meetings and workshops. The space is built around the concept of a common meeting space, the kitchen, which is at the center of the office. Here, a large standing table with accompanying bar stools, inspired by the geometrical wood and metal of Vestre’s own furniture, functions both as reception, lunch table and a place of discussion.
Surrounding the kitchen table, you will find two showrooms, two large offices, a meeting room and a simple workshop. Adjustable walls and lighting solutions in both rooms helps enlarge the space during workshops and events. The same applies for the workshop, which can be incorporated into the kitchen area when more space is required.
As in all Snøhetta’s projects for Vestre, sustainability has been an important part of the design and creation process. Matching Snøhetta and Vestre’s ambitions of creating low impact design, the project balances finely between preservation and innovation.
Color plays and important narrative role in the office space. All furniture placed close to the building’s entries match the 1930’s color palette of the building. Indoor, the colors are more vivid, reflecting a modern office space which is in line with Vestre’s spirit.
The office space's transition from brightness to a quieter atmosphere reflects the usage patterns of the different rooms. Rooms which are the most widely used are also the most subdued. Rooms in which guests, visitors and employees use only for short amounts of time, such as the staircase area, are painted in bright colors.
The most subdued area of the office space is the kitchen, which is painted in green. The large windows ensure that all the rooms keep a light atmosphere even though painted in more subtle colors.
Surrounding the 1930's building you will find a planted garden with selected pieces of Vestre furniture.
Snøhetta has redesigned steel frames from Vestre’s outdoor table production into lamps hanging above the large kitchen table.
The main entrance stands out thanks to the brightly colored signage bearing the recognizable, yellow Vestre logo color. From the main entry, you are ushered up a narrow staircase adding a narrative touch to the office space.
The walls are bright yellow, accentuated by large windows. From the roof hangs metal human-shaped and human-sized figurines in motion-like postures, casting shadows imitating human motion. These shapes represent Vestre’s philosophy of creating furniture for people in movement in the public space.
A wide-range of historic furniture pieces from Vestre's collection are presented on each facing vertical wall, contributing to a continuous storytelling as you move up the stairs.
Vestre’s mission of creating long lasting furniture is reflected by material and esthetic choices. Metallic floor tiles, which are a bi-product of the laser-cut steel plates from production, cover the bathroom floors.
A pierced steel plate, which is also made from surplus material, acts both as paneling, bathroom fitting and storage.