SELVEDGE RUN : EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
With the founders of NOODLES NOODLES & NOODLES
Back in the early 90s, a group of friends came together in the area around Dusseldorf, Germany.
They would search through the abandoned factories, hunting for furniture and goods to outfit their own studio space. Over time, they would recognise the inherent quality found in furniture made for a purpose – it was the concept of form following function brought to life. Noodles Noodles & Noodles Corp. was born in a time when mass manufacturing in furniture was about to sweep the world. But, these pieces – discovered some 25 years earlier – struck a chord, and the group developed a commitment to the principles they had uncovered. Over the next two decades, they crafted an instantly recognisable aesthetic, were among the founders of Bread and Butter, and have maintained their dedication to quality and ethics throughout. Today, this dedication to craft and quality within manufacturing is as relevant as ever and, indeed, more essential than it was 25 years ago. We sat down with the founders of the Noodles Noodles & Noodles Corp, Wolfgang Ahlers André Reitemeyer and Christian Geyr to find out why.
How was Noodles Noodles and Noodles founded?
We started as friends.This was the main point: we wanted to do something together. Back in the early 90s, we started dealing in furniture and collecting old vintage furniture pieces from abandoned factories. Some we kept and some we sold on.
At this time, we were doing shoots and styling for magazines and catalogues. People recognised that we had a workshop and would ask, “could you do our stand for a fair?”. It then grew to, “can you do our showroom?” and continued from there.It then grew to, “can you do our showroom?” and continued from there.
When a friend turned up with some beds from Spain, we ended up inventing our first furniture piece. At the time, we were working on an entry way for a Disco with jailhouse style, cage bars. We combined this with the bed design. Although this was just produced for fun, we quickly had to take it seriously. Shops were asking for them, along with other items: a side table, or a shelf, in the same style.
Do you see a return to craft and quality after the avalanche of cheap and disposable furniture in the last 20 years?
Vintage is becoming the new antique and we create vintage designed furniture. Vintage for us is a term which describes a certain type of product which preserves the original style in the original condition. It is not the second or third edition of the design: it is the first edition.
We are creating this furniture by following the principles of traditional manufacturing, using the same materials and the same style. It‘s not old: It’s brand new. This is increasingly appreciated as more and more people are after this kind of quality.
When it comes to the furniture, craftsmanship is disappearing. With this loss, an appreciation of quality design and manufacturing is ushered in. There is a desire to depart from mass production. It is always wonderful to see the reactions as people come into contact with our products for the first time. They not only love the visual but the surface texture, the feeling. Providing people with something they can value and cherish for years to come is an important aspect of sustainability, something which, in the last 10 years, has grown in significance.
This movement will only become stronger as people increasingly look for things that could last them forever. People don‘t mind investing in this quality and longevity. We are not cheap, but, we are also not expensive. People come to us saying, “now it is time to invest in a sideboard or a shelf.”
You also co-founded Bread and Butter. How did this come about?
We co-founded Bread and Butter with Karl-Heinz (Müller). At this time, Noodles did a special presentation of Authentic Furniture parallel to the IMM (International Möbel Messe). It was a sparkling event which took place in a scenic old factory building. We created a great atmosphere — it was this feeling that inspired Karl-Heinz who was just shaking up the retailer scene with his newly opened 14oz. Store in Cologne. He wanted to emulate this in the form of a fashion tradeshow — which we then started together.
We created something that was totally different from the established fairs of that time. We provided fantastic catering, central music management by cutting edge DJs, an open feeling in the hall, great service; and, most importantly, a curated collection of brands, plus a strong brand communication. We started with 50-60 brands, but it was the right answer at the right time. From the outset, it was a huge success. The visitor recognised that this is how a fair should be: it was about atmosphere, community, sustainability. Even then, it was what people were burning for. It may seem like the norm now, but the principals we introduced at that time set the standard for the shows of today.
That is why we like Selvedge Run so much: all the brands are moving in the same direction, it is about quality, it is about value. No mass manufacture, smaller brands, quality, individualism and that fits, it really is our world. The furniture fits perfectly with the brands, like they were always together.
As much as it is about the story, it is about presentation; and, therefore, we are delighted to add our name to the show.
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