Finding furniture that’s built to last - Lifestyle NZ
Finding furniture that’s built to last

Finding furniture that’s built to last

It’s the age-old saying of ‘quality over quantity’ – choosing the right furniture will mean that it lasts longer, is value for money, and won’t contribute to the estimated 12.59 million tonnes of waste that is sent to landfill in New Zealand each year. So what should you look for when purchasing a new chair or sofa?

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

Choosing quality furniture

“It’s about making sure the furniture is fit for purpose,” says forma’s creative director, Matt Smidt. And with over 30 years’ experience in the industry, Matt knows a thing or two about constructing quality furniture.

He explains that many of the materials that go into making a sofa, for example, are the same cost across the world: “If you look at foam, the chemicals that go into that are set worldwide – they’re purchased from the commodities market.”

This means that if a piece of furniture is remarkably cheaper than another, something is amiss – poor quality foam may have been used, for example, or the frame might not be built correctly or with quality timber.

“There should be alarm bells ringing straight away,” says Matt. “A lot of the design is not what you can see, it’s what’s on the inside that makes the difference.

“This is where you need to pick up the sofa at one end and feel how heavy it is. That’s going to tell you whether or not it’s been made well because good foam weighs a lot more. You’ll also be able to tell how much timber has been used for the frame – all of those things make a big difference, that’s where the quality is.”

It’s about making sure the furniture is fit for purpose.
Quality made furniture such as the phalken sofa from forma will last longer, be value for money, and won’t contribute to Aotearoa's landfills.

Give your furniture a second life

By selecting the right furniture, you’ll be able to enjoy the same product for years to come. And when the time comes for a style update, forma is able to revive it.

“We offer a service where we will take back any furniture that we’ve made, and we will recover it,” says Matt.

This was the case for furniture at the University of Auckland’s Grafton campus, where forma had made the furniture around 20 years ago. The fabric was able to be replaced to give it a refresh.

However, this can only be done with furniture that was well-constructed to begin with.

“The biggest thing that goes to the tips is all of the furniture that hasn’t been correctly manufactured. If you look at New Zealand manufacturers, I would say that very little of their furniture would ever end up in a tip because it’s been made well enough to be recovered,” says Matt, explaining that cheap imports, for instance, often aren’t made well enough structurally to be given a second life. “This furniture doesn't have enough springs, there’s not enough timber inside of the whole thing. If it comes to be recovered, it can’t be.”

forma's furniture is designed and made in New Zealand. Pictured: henry sofa, londyn coffee table and wilbur swivel chair from forma.
People are realising that with a simple change of fabric colour, it’s still right there with fashion because fashion is so varied at the moment. If it’s been made well enough it can be used continually.
The wilbur chair has a foam seat cushion that is tetron wrapped and a luxurious back cushion that has a foam core with feather duvet wrap. Also available as a swivel.

Nothing left to waste

Matt likens this scenario to fast fashion, where products are mass produced at low cost and don’t last the test of time – in turn, contributing to Aotearoa’s landfills. While New Zealand companies such as forma do unavoidably accrue off-cuts, it is all able to be effectively and responsibly managed.

“We recycle all of our off-cuts,” says Matt. “Our frames are made predominantly from New Zealand pine and produce minimal waste – with any pieces of timber not used in the furniture often repurposed by staff as firewood.”

When it comes to foam off-cuts these are bagged and sent to Dunlop Flooring to be repurposed into carpet underlay.

“This is the same with the polyester fibre – any off-cuts go back to the same people that make it for us and they recycle it back into more polyester fire, so it carries on in the same circle. It’s the same thing with off-cuts of fabric, we use those within the furniture making process.”

The company is also trying to remove plastic from its operations, and Matt is excited to see Kiwi shoppers also making conscious choices.

“People are realising that with a simple change of fabric colour, it’s still right there with fashion because fashion is so varied at the moment. If it’s been made well enough it can be used continually.”

If you’re looking for stylish, quality furniture that will last the test of time, explore forma’s range of products or get in touch with the team to craft a unique piece for your home.

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