New French brand Noma Editions aims to bring engineered waste to the high-end furniture market
It may not seem it from the noise that is made every time a new chair is designed using a new-fangled fibre that is masterfully engineered from waste, but sustainable materials have yet to truly impact the top end of the furniture market. “There is a big gap for furniture made from recycled materials in the high end market,” opines Guillaume Galloy of the new french brand Noma. ‘We are putting recycled materials at the centre of our brand.”
Production engineer Galloy has joined forces with his friend and former co-worker, architect Bruce Ribay, to launch Noma, short for ‘noble materials’. The pair met while on the architectural team developing retail concepts for Louis Vuitton alongside Peter Marino. Charged with sourcing materials, engaging contractors and controlling quality, the work alerted them to the enormous amount of waste currently in the architecture and design worlds, and got them thinking about what they might do to make a difference. They considered a rental platform as a sustainable alternative, but decided that what what was needed was an uncompromisingly circular offering, not the capsule or token recycled offering they see other manufacturers marketing. “We wanted to show that waste can be high end.”
Traceability is key and the pair have worked tirelessly to identify and communicate the sources of the materials used in each piece. Steel is recycled (one of the challenges was getting their sources to understand that its re-smelted nature was a quality to celebrate), wood is off-cuts from the french manufacture of architectural joists and reclaimed railway sleepers, stone is left-overs from quarries in Italy and Portugal. Part of their mission has been to identify entirely new sources of waste materials and create and help optimise new streams. The plastic components in their pieces are compressed recycled plastics. ‘You can make bespoke boards but we used off-the-peg. There are only four or five manufacturers in Europe – we selected those with the best eye,” says Galloy.
They chose their collaborators with equal care – seeking out designers they liked but also for whom they knew the core message would chime – like Martino Gamper, whose Plast 70,6 stool for Noma explores recycled plastic molding possibilities for the seat and is teamed with wooden legs, and the french architecture and design firm RDAI, whose stone console, Arca 91.6, was made from ‘unusable’ quarry off-cuts. Also on their launch roster are the young french talent, Charlotte Juillard who has designed Laime 79,6, an armchair made from recycled steel tubes and french wool, and Ghan 92, 8, coffee tables made from reclaimed sleepers and recycled plastic; Portugal-based Sam Baron who has design Pedra 99,6, a range of candle sticks made from local marble quarry leftovers; A+A Cooren who have designed Sen 93,3, a chair made from recycled steel and recycled plastic and Studio Jean-Marc Gady who have designed a low table made from recycled steel, plastic and ceramic. ’ We chose people who wouldn’t cannibalise the product with a different message, and most importantly, people who would communicate clearly that sustainable can be beautiful.’
The number in the product names is the percentage of recycled materials