It’s not 1980 anymore, and our furniture choices are reflecting how our lives have changed.
Instead of a formal sitting room, we spend the most time in a dining room, kitchen or living room, and we need more flexibility from our furniture — especially chairs. A dining chair is no longer just a dining chair, it's a place to do homework, take Zoom calls, watch TV, catch up with friends and more.
One brand that's stepping up to change our relationship with furniture is noho, makers of the Noho move, a versatile chair that's designed to function with your body’s movements.
From my experience with the move, it's safe to say it's one of the most comfortable chairs I've used, encouraging dinner guests to linger for just a few more glasses of wine. And that same chair works just as well for kids doing homework or making a project, and many other daily use cases. As I write this in my living room, my 6-year-old has dragged the light and movable chair right in front of the television, watching a baseball movie after practice. Later it might find a home in a corner of my office to welcome visitors for a cup of coffee and a chat about the day’s news.
Versatility matters in modern living, an no brand appears to understand this as well as Noho.
Sustainability is a key part of noho's brand. And the unboxing experience is where their sustainability focus starts — not a piece of single use plastic in sight, and the chair is predominately made from recycled materials, including ECONYL® Regenerated Nylon which is made from recycled plastic waste stream materials such as reclaimed fishing nets.
When the chair was delivered, it arrived in an L-shaped cardboard box arrived, but it wasn’t just any box — its accordion-like style made for minimal packaging and made it easy to remove the chair. And instead of extensive directions, a simple tutorial on assembling the chair legs was printed on another piece of cardboard inside.
When it came to assembly, various sticker shapes help you to match each leg to its appropriate spot on the seat (if you can match up two triangles or two squares, for example, you are in luck). The entire assembly process took less than ten minutes, but did take a bit of elbow grease to assemble without tools.
In addition to sustainability, the company’s designers at Formway thought it was important to integrate the design principles they’d been using for decades on ergonomic office furniture into residential furniture to deliver a seat that put our spine health first. “Essentially we were born to move but typical home furniture doesn’t permit us to,” noho Co-CEO Richard Shirtcliffe told Living Cozy recently.
noho’s focus on my spine’s happiness is my favorite aspect of the move chair. The chair cocoons your back, especially the lower back where many people have a variety of painful conditions, including myself. After multiple back surgeries, I never pictured such a streamlined and minimalistic chair would offer the support I’d need to sit through a dinner, let alone beyond.
After multiple back surgeries, I never pictured such a streamlined and minimalistic chair would offer the support I’d need to sit through a dinner, let alone beyond.
As someone who chooses chairs based on the angle of the chair back, this product got it right. Instead of stiff, wooden dining room chairs with no movement and purpose, the move chair conforms to and supports the spine, increasing the time I could spend sitting in it. The brand says the award-winning design responds intuitively to your posture, eliminates pressure points, and even improves circulation. All this was more than accurate.
As our work and home lives intertwine more and more, this chair accommodates our need to lean forward to eat messy spaghetti or to turn on a Zoom call (not at the same time hopefully) but also lets us sit back and relax to unwind with friends. It’s made from repurposed fishing nets and carpet materials that are nearing the end of their usability, helping users rest assured that they are saving the oceans and their backs at the same time.
As our work and home lives intertwine more and more, this chair accommodates our need to lean forward to eat messy spaghetti or to turn on a Zoom call (not at the same time hopefully) but also lets us sit back and relax to unwind with friends.
The move chair makes us want to, well, move. No more achy backs, legs falling asleep, and overstuffed sitting chairs without support.
When I first learned the topper was a separate purchase and piece, I had my doubts. It initially made me think of my grandma’s rocking chair and an ill-fitting pad meant to give enough cushioning to make the seat tolerable for a while. But this topper is different. First, it’s super soft, made from New Zealand wool, but doesn’t look like a pillow sitting on a chair. Instead, it conforms to the base and back, snapping in with a brilliant click design.
But this topper is different. First, it’s super soft, made from New Zealand wool, but doesn’t look like a pillow sitting on a chair. Instead, it conforms to the base and back, snapping in with a brilliant click design.
The topper contributes to the chair’s versatility, making it the ultimate investment piece as it can change with you from room to room and home to future home. It also prevents having to replace an entire fabric covered dining chair when it gets ruined by well-intentioned users, or toddlers (usually one and the same).
One chocolate milk spill could ruin some other products, but the removable and washable topper changes all that (or you can remove it ahead of time completely for messy projects like painting). This means you need fewer chairs in the home, rather than one for each purpose, moving us closer to a minimalist lifestyle.
To increase the comfort of the base of the chair, I’d like to see future editions of the topper have a bit more padding at the base of the seat, though the current design focuses on relieving back of the thigh pressure. I also am curious to see how the chair topper holds up to use over months and years, especially to see if it will end up with piling or discoloration.
The toppers are available in a wide variety of color combinations, all of which complement the black and white chair color options. Customers can choose from white, black, brown, blue or red, but a company as Earth-friendly as noho wouldn’t dare name them such simplistic hues. Instead, they are “cloud,” “sunset,” and similar terms, as each color is inspired by one found in nature.
The heart of noho lies in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and the brand’s values align with the beauty and culture found there. According to its website: “From the language of our indigenous Māori, noho means to sit, stay, dwell, live. It embodies a fundamental belief in kinship and connection between humans and the natural world (kaitiakitanga).”
And Shirtcliffe says he was inspired to combine profit and sustainability when he was surfing with his family in Bali, and encountered a troubling amount of ocean plastic (8 million tons of plastic make its way into the oceans annually, National Geographic reports).
Shirtcliffe calls it their responsibility to ensure noho's products are sustainable, given these facts and their mission to honor the Earth. “So we did the hard, hard work of figuring out how to create a ‘life’ chair from recycled materials, and ship it in plastic-less packaging,” he says. Building products that last through multiple decor changes and moves to different homes means less product waste as well.
Brands often choose one mission, or bottom line, and focus all of their energy on that goal. But at noho, they have three, and are winning at them all.
noho has recognized that you can’t just succeed with a singular focus in 2021. We value mental health and people. We value saving our one and only planet. But we also value profit and progress, knowing that for a company to stick around they actually have to make money.
Shirtcliffe calls noho a “triple bottom line brand,” refusing to sacrifice profit, sustainability, or people. “Clearly, to have maximum positive impact as a business we need to be profitable over the long term. But we don’t believe that that should be at the expense of the well-being of our team, nor the planet,” he says. To this end, they are pursuing a pending accredited B corporation certification, which means they have to meet high social and environmental standards.
Typically I’d conclude by predicting where an item will live in my home, but the beauty of the noho move chair is it won’t be in just one place, or for one type of activity. In the time I’ve worked on this review, my sons have moved it to the kitchen table, where they are fighting over who will get to sit in it for dinner time. Even their young spines recognize its capabilities. Guess it’s about time to invest in a pair, or four.
Get 10% off at noho with code WELCOMEP.