ECONYL® x noho: Partners in Innovation and Sustainability
Eco-design, or the process of designing with the end in mind and reducing environmental impact, requires designers, manufacturers and others along the value chain to collaborate on innovative practices and materials. Designing for a circular economy requires a mindset shift and innovation, research and development and collaboration are key to achieving that.
The ECONYL® brand thrives at the intersection of innovation and sustainability. When creative designers for noho, a sustainable furniture brand based in New Zealand, sought a recycled, earth-friendly raw material for their innovative chair design, a partnership was developed to create the noho move™ chair.
“As a small business with ambitious goals about the environmental performance of our products, we have to partner with organizations that have the capability and the systems to deliver on those goals,” said Kent Parker, one of the lead designers at Formway. “Finding suppliers and partners that are willing to work with you to make it happen is crucial, and we’re so happy to have found that in Bonazzi and ECONYL® nylon.”
A Brief History of ECONYL® Nylon
Aquafil, a global leader in textile production based in Italy, invested in extensive research into reducing nylon waste and developing a product that did not require resource extraction. ECONYL® nylon production started in 2011. Made of 100% Nylon 6 waste that has undergone a chemical recycling process, ECONYL® nylon is regenerated nylon with the same quality and performance as standard nylon. ECONYL® nylon has been largely used to create carpets, swimwear, athletic clothing and accessories.
Formway + noho
Based in New Zealand, noho, which means to sit or dwell in the indigenous Māori language, is a brand that strives to design healthy, comfortable furniture that doesn’t cost our earth. Sustainability is a core aspect of their business model, from the raw materials they use and the durability of their products to their packaging, supply chain and how they power production. All noho furniture is designed by Formway, a research-led studio that designs innovative furniture with a shared passion for doing right by the environment.
noho wanted to design an ergonomic chair that moved with natural human dynamics, flexing as a person leaned forward or backward and adjusting to different postures. The goal was to create a chair with multi-functional use in the home or office that exceeded durability standards and had the lowest possible impact on the planet.
Collaborating to Design the noho Move™ Chair
When designing the noho move™ chair, Formway sought a material that met the chair’s requirements for flexibility, strength and durability, and they were determined to find a raw material that was upcycled and did fundamental good for the planet.
“We were looking for a recycled nylon that could deliver the demanding engineering requirements of our design, and many that we had researched fell short on that front,” shared Kent Parker. “We had read about Aquafil’s process of re-polymerizing nylon for textile fiber and were interested in learning more about it, then ended up meeting Bonazzi at NeoCon one year. He was really supportive of our project from the start.
Giulio Bonazzi, Chairman and CEO of Aquafil Group, said that “noho found meaningful alignment with Aquafil as both our companies are on a mission to produce products that reduce harm to our planet through thoughtful design and the implementation of sustainable materials.”
The ECONYL® brand and noho took a true partnership approach in their work together. Designers from Formway collaborated closely with ECONYL® nylon scientists and technicians to develop a polymer that met the specifications and requirements of the chair.
“A lot of polymer companies have you work with the salespeople, but with Aquafil we were working directly with the scientists and getting incredible technical support,” said Paul Wilkinson, a lead designer for Formway. “We were doing trials at different places around the world and Aquafil came and supported us for those.”
After years of research, design and production, the noho move™ chair was launched in 2020. It is the perfect marriage of innovation and sustainability: built with an incredibly dynamic flexibility and designed with ECONYL® regenerated polymers. The chair moves constantly with you, subtly activating muscles, encouraging blood and oxygen flow and reducing the effects of static loading on the body. The perforated pattern allows the chair to breathe, preventing sweat, and the sleek design will stand the test of time as a beautiful addition to any home.
“We love seeing ECONYL® nylon being used in innovative ways,” said Bonazzi. “Especially now being sourced by an inventive company like noho, the first furniture brand in the world to see waste plastic as a long-term furniture solution. Between the sleek nature and quality performance of the noho move™ chair, we’re thrilled to see such a high design product come to life with our sustainable material. It is a concrete example of how beauty and sustainability can coexist inside the same product.”
In 2021, the noho move™ chair won the Best of NeoCon Guest Seating Gold and Sustainability Awards. The chair is currently available for purchase on the ECONYL® E-shop.
Setting the Stage for Future Innovation
The collaboration between noho and ECONYL® nylon is proof of the beautiful, sustainable designs that can be created when designers think about a new product with the end in mind. This partnership shows the infinite possibilities of ECONYL® nylon in interior design and opens the industry to greater sustainability through innovative materials.
“The noho move™ chair is revolutionizing residential seating design while also pushing the boundaries and performance capabilities of the material,” said Bonazzi. “This is part of noho DNA and I firmly believe they will amaze us with other beautiful pieces of sustainable design.”
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