Maluma, Modus’ flexible new seating system, has a playful design language but is deadly serious about minimising waste and resource use
Starting as an individual chair or ottoman, Maluma, Modus’ latest collaboration with Swedish design studio Claesson Koivisto Rune, can evolve into free form, bead like strings of seating, allowing complete flexibility to create organic waves, arches, snaking curves or more regimented lines. This is furniture at its most flexible. Seats link together but can be repositioned around their centre point, enabling a myriad of shape making possibilities. Table-tops, made from recycled refrigerators and single use cutlery, add to Maluma’s flexibility – any combination of chairs, ottomans or tables can be used to shape a space. ”Place, reposition – and even recompose! It’s child’s play with Maluma” – Claesson Koivisto Rune.
Maluma has a joyful simplicity, and its highly flexible form makes it ideal for a host of applications from agile office, to university library. As an individual chair or ottoman, Maluma has a distinct but compact form, as a collection of connected pieces, Maluma takes on a sculptural quality. Interior spaces can be defined by creating both social and antisocial configurations: chairs can face inwards or be configured on an outward curve, to create collaborative spaces for group tasks, or quieter, more individual zones. With as many as 1 in 7 of us likely to be neurodivergent, Maluma’s soft curves and diversity of configuration makes it perfect for creating inclusive spaces that work for everyone.
Embracing the shift from a linear model of ‘take, make, waste’, Maluma takes a circular approach that keeps products and materials in use over multiple life cycles. Designed for disassembly, every piece in the collection can be deconstructed into mono materials, within a matter of minutes. Minimal fixings, no glue or staples ensure no cross contamination of materials, making spares and repairs simple. Individual components have been expertly engineered to reduce waste and embodied impacts and to keep Maluma in use. The upholstery elements have been painstakingly developed around Maluma’s rounded form, fabric covers can be zipped off and replaced again and again, something for which Somerset based manufacturer, Modus, has become renowned.
In the world of furniture, moulded foam shells are typically reinforced with a steel frame, an armature that is set within the mould and becomes encased in foam, making material reclaim at end of life difficult and costly. What sets Maluma apart is the way its moulded foam components either slip over, or sit upon a wooden frame, making material reclaim easy at end of life. It’s not only the end-of-life impacts that have been reduced, by using plywood instead of steel for the frame, the design team at Modus have made significant carbon savings. Meticulous testing of frame components means each seat can be cut from just half a board, with cut pieces fitting together like a jigsaw puzzle and wooden dowels holding everything in place. In its design and construction Maluma becomes a material bank for the future.
It makes sense for Modus to make disassembly easy, since they offer a take back system at the end of a product’s life, assessing what can be refurbished, what can be salvaged and what needs to be recycled. Being able to strip a piece of furniture into mono materials makes the whole remanufacturing process much easier, especially when it has been designed right from the start with end of life in mind.
Using 100% renewable energy to power their factory, with solar panels on the roof providing around 40% of their electricity, Modus takes a holistic approach to sustainability. Maluma’s frame is made using FSC certified spruce plywood, a faster growing species than more commonly used beech, it is also 30% lighter, making Maluma less carbon hungry in all its transportation phases. Spruce plywood also contains 50% bio-based binder, reducing the use of petro-based adhesives by half.
Maluma’s impressive visual impact and considerably reduced environmental impact is testament to the expertise of design studio Claesson Koivisto Rune and the engineering capabilities of Modus. The ease with which it can be repositioned and reconfigured gives Maluma a flexibility that helps future proof it against workplace change, and in a world that desperately needs to embrace new patterns of consumption and production, Maluma is about as future proof as you can get.
Maluma will be in the Modus showroom throughout October, contact the Modus sales team at [email protected] to book an appointment to view the collection.
To find out more, visit modusfurniture.co.uk
Photography by Jakob Powell