Vestre awarded Export Award 2023 by the Federation of Norwegian Industries

Over the past six years, we have quadrupled our exports, reaching no less than 70% last year. On Wednesday 26 April, Vestre was awarded the Export Award at the 2023 Design Industry Conference.

According to the jury, Vestre is a role model for the use of good design to create value for people and society. In its award statement, the jury wrote:

“Vestre’s social meeting places, underpinned by good design, high quality and sustainability, have attracted the attention of a broad international market. Vestre creates added value and is a clear role model when it comes to showing what is possible. By building the world’s most environment-friendly furniture factory in Magnor, the company is demonstrating that it can compete globally from a high-cost country like Norway.”

“The combination of sustainably designed Scandinavian style, backed up by unbeatable guarantees, and our genuine desire to make the world a slightly better place has resonated far beyond Norway’s borders. This is one of the reasons why we have such a high export rate,” says Bjørn Fjellstad, CEO of Vestre.

Since Vestre’s early beginnings in 1947, design, quality and sustainability have taken centre stage. We aim to make the world a slightly better place, both for people and for the planet itself, one social meeting place at a time. The right to roam has also been our guiding principle for urban spaces—a mindset that is gaining increasing international attention. We have been steadfast in our values and turned down lucrative projects which we believe threaten the right to roam through hostile design, for example. We are uncompromising when it comes to quality and choose local raw materials of the highest quality, as we want to create something lasting that can bring joy to people for generations to come.

We are always working to become more sustainable, and in 2022, Vestre opened the world's most environmentally furniture factory, The Plus in Magnor. We want to have control over the value chain to ensure that our products are as sustainable as they can be. In 2017, one of our benches became the first urban bench anywhere in the world to be certified with the Nordic Swan ecolabel. In 2020, we published the world’s first product catalogue listing EPD values for the entire portfolio. In 2023, we also became the world's first furniture company to use SSAB’s fossil-free steel. The goal of being recognised as the world's most sustainable furniture manufacturer comes with a responsibility to spearhead innovative and environmentally friendly solutions. And to be open and transparent and show the world how we do things—so that we can inspire others.

“We are also uncompromising on design, and therefore work with Scandinavia's leading designers. Through this approach, we benefit from the fact that the qualities of Scandinavian design, such as accessibility and functionality, are becoming increasingly attractive around the world,” says Fjellstad.

We have always protected our designs and designers and we focus on long-term relationships. If we hadn’t done this, we wouldn't have anything to export.

Here at Vestre, we are keen to increase our exports, and we believe that Norway has every opportunity to achieve this. We have the designs, the materials and the solutions that allow us to operate profitably. We are investing heavily in foreign sales and are proud to have shown that it is possible to have an export rate of more than 70%, as we had in 2022.

“This award is a major recognition of Norwegian design exports,” Fjellstad concludes.