Furniture design

Sustainable furniture design brand Noah Living does better with less—starting with this modular sofa

Smart materials and a smarter construction make Noah Living’s modular sofa adaptable, durable and easy to recycle.

For design start-up Noah Living, launching at the start of a global pandemic was incredibly apt, despite its difficulties. Pushing the sustainability agenda forward and highlighting the importance of flexible design, it has created the perfect opportunity for the Berlin-based brand to introduce its ethos, marked by the launch of its innovative modular sofa.

Founded back in 2019 by design enthusiasts and siblings Hannah and Dario Schröder, Noah Living is a young and dynamic company from Berlin combining innovation with traditional manufacturing to create sustainable furniture. It focuses on three things: durability, flexibility and sustainability, conserving resources in the manufacturing process and striving to realize adaptable designs that last. 

The making of Noah Living’s modular sofa

One way they do this is by ensuring that what they create is easy to maintain and repair.  The studio’s debut product is a modular sofa, featuring a plug-in system, which means it can be expanded with ease and rearranged as required. We’re guessing this adaptable design makes it a lot easier to clean too, getting into every nook and cranny. Not to mention the dirt-repellent removable fabric, which can be washed when necessary. 

At the same time materials can be separated again for easier recycling. It comprises an FSC-certified wood frame, powder-coated steel frame and a core made of NATURALIS® foam according to Oeko-Tex Standard Class I. 

“With Noah Living we aim to design products for a conscious generation—we want to give a positive answer on how our future can look like,” says the Schröder siblings. “We see it as the task of our generation to design products that bring us as fast as possible into a fully circular economy.”

“The relationship with our customers should not end after we sell them a product, we’ll always be there to keep the product “alive” as long as possible.”

Minimalist in its aesthetic, Noah Living has designed a clear and concise collection of eleven essential elements, which can be pieced together easily without the need of any tools. The Noah sofa is based on only two module sizes, which together offer endless design options. Users can start with a 2-seater and later expand it to a three-seater, a corner couch or a meter-long living area.

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“It is also important to us to make a very reduced assortment, in which we have already thought through many decisions in the best possible way for the customer,” they add. “We simply don’t need more endless options and choices these days. Sustainable consumption must be made as simple as possible.”

“We have made it our goal to use resources in the best possible way. In accordance with the principle of recycling, the individual components of the Noah Sofa can be disposed of in a largely sorted manner. Worn parts, or a fabric color that is no longer to your liking, can be reordered and simply replaced so there is never any need to buy a completely new sofa.”

The individual modules are manufactured on-demand in Germany by a specialist company with over 125 years of experience. This local production enables customers of Noah Living to personalise their sofa while still guaranteeing short delivery times. 

The design team started by listing all the features they thought were necessary for a sofa, like comfort and flexibility. They also highlighted the importance of being able to clean it. Then, they tested countless different measurements to achieve a result as close to a universal system as possible. This involved a series of prototypes, 3D models and countless experiments with different connections.

“First of all we tried countless different measurements,” they explain. “The goal was to find module sizes which allowed as many different sofa setups as possible, offered a bed option by just putting modules together and still had perfect seating comfort.” 

The biggest challenge for all modular designs were the connections between parts. For the Noah Sofa it was the connection between the modules and how to fix the arm and backrest without any tools. This was our main focus and we basically worked with one module as a prototype and tried a lot of different options.”

The future of Noah Living

Following the success of their modular sofa, which has won several awards in 2021 including a Red Dot and a German Design Gold Award, Hannah and Dario Schröder plan to build their product family, firstly with the Noah Living bed, and soon after a shelf, both of which will also feature modular elements.

“The Noah product family will, of course, continue to grow. Our goal is to develop an object with the best possible design in each area that contributes to sustainable consumption. There should never be a broad assortment, but rather a few, well thought-out products. Currently, we are working on a Noah bed as well as a shelf.”

Intrigued by minimal furniture design? Check out German designer Johannes Budde and his strikingly sustainable one-piece coffee table CUT.