Vestre has a Vision Zero. According to this vision, we will not produce a single product which cannot last forever. This is also how we are fighting the throwaway society, one piece of furniture at a time. Through good design, critical material selection, advanced surface treatment and a little maintenance every now and again, ever-lasting furniture is in fact very much an achievable aim. We also supply spare parts for all the furniture we have ever manufactured. If we don’t have them in stock, we will make them for you. Kulturskoleparken in Porsgrunn took advantage of this opportunity when they decided to breathe new life into a run-down meeting place.
Made for the meeting places of the future
Good, functional, and beautiful design is vital if a product is to survive generations, varied use, ever-changing weather and new styles and fashions. However, even after a product has been delivered to a project, the process of realizing the vision of ever-lasting life carries on. Meeting places in public spaces have to withstand a great deal- they are almost constantly in use. That is why we have set up a scheme for worn furniture to be restored many years later and given a new life, to the benefit of generations to come.
A classic that lasts forever in Kulturskoleparken
Kulturskoleparken was originally the school playground of the old Østsiden School dating from 1883. It is now a school of culture and a center for adult education in Porsgrunn municipality. The park is the district’s only play and activity area and is adjacent to one of the main streets in the city center. By 2019, the area had become run down and was threatened with closure. On the initiative of the Velforeningen neighborhood association, work was begun on developing Kulturskoleparken into a social meeting place for the local community, to encourage play and improve the park’s function as a green breathing space in the city.
The aim of this project was to create a place where people of all ages could come together and meet, both on an everyday basis and for specific events. The furniture had to be durable, maintenance-free, movable and help give the park content and color. New furniture was the biggest investment.
The solution proved to be the reuse of two 30-year-old Hvilan benches which were already in the park. Four new Berg picnic tables, a Stripes circular bench and two Stripes semi-circles were also purchased. The two old Hvilan benches were given new wooden slats and bolts, and powder-coated in the same color as the new furniture. This ensured a harmonious look between the old and new furniture.
“Porsgrunn municipality offers tables and benches which no longer have a life in the center to neighborhood associations and anyone else with a need for such furniture who can give the furniture a well-deserved facelift. The Hvilan benches in Kulturskoleparken are a fantastic example of this. This is an amazing initiative which both we and others can learn a great deal from. Vestre's benches often have a timeless look, which means that they appear modern and dynamic after they have been overhauled. "It was a lot of fun to focus on such an important issue,” says Anne Humborstad, urban operations manager at Porsgrunn municipality.
New life breathed into an old meeting place
The project has helped to ensure that more people now use Kulturskoleparken This includes students from the adult education center and the school of culture, visiting pre-schools, grandparents with their grandchildren, young people gathering around the tables, children playing, cycling, and playing ball, and young people playing basketball in the evenings. During the culture school festival (kulturskolefestivalen) in June 2022, many people got to experience the newly refurbished park and see just how important it is as a green area and meeting place in lower Bjørntvedt and Porsgrunn center.
The park is a collaborative project between Bjørntvedtjordet Vel, Porsgrunn municipality and Sparebankstiftelsen DNB.