BIG’s first sofa is designed to be moved, flipped and repaired

Take a first look at Bjarke Ingels Group’s modular sofa system for Danish furniture company Common Seating named Voxel

For many of its projects, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) takes a building blocks approach – stacking modular elements to create a dynamic whole. LEGO House and the Serpentine Pavilion 2016 are just two examples, and now, the architecture studio is adopting this technique for its inaugural sofa design, realised for Danish company Common Seating.

Part of Voxel’s dynamic energy is flexiblity. The modular upholstered sofa puts half of its design in the hands of the user – ‘the grid-like system creates a family of units that can be configured into multiple seating scenarios, from single unit couch to a large configurations,' says Jakob Lange, partner at BIG.

Lange sees correlations between the furniture piece and the practice’s modular buildings, but the inspiration for the sofa reaches wider – ‘from sources as diverse as Minecraft, Q*Bert and Mies van der Rohe.’

Voxel's playful set-up comes in several different hues, and has a pixelated, lattice-style pattern. The aesthetic lends itself to its functionality – you can reassemble Voxel as a sofa, a footrest, a low stool, or double-up modules for extra cushioning.

Grey padded bench in a blue corridor

(Image credit: TBC)

Grey sofa pictured through large window

(Image credit: TBC)

The architectural configuration also lends itself to sustainability. Aside from reassembling Voxel in countless ways, you can repair it easily too – if one area has been damaged, replace it with another component, or even live without it. Voxel is also made-to-order, so no Voxel has been created without a delivery address.

BIG joins a roll call of designers who have realised modern sofas for Common Seating, a brand that follows the ethos ‘Seating for Life.’ Included in its roster is Studio David Thulstrup and Baum und Pferdgarten, plus an upcoming collaboration with Stockholm-based Afteroom.

With our rapid moving culture, Lange sees the usability of Voxel as organic and moulding to this. ‘We like the idea that a person can really grow and live with this sofa, and make it an integral part of their living ecosystem.’

Black & blue padded sofas

(Image credit: TBC)

Grey padded sofa in orange room

(Image credit: TBC)


Sujata Burman is a writer and editor based in London, specialising in design and culture. She was Digital Design Editor at Wallpaper* before moving to her current role of Head of Content at London Design Festival and London Design Biennale where she is expanding the content offering of the showcases. Over the past decade, Sujata has written for global design and culture publications, and has been a speaker, moderator and judge for institutions and brands including RIBA, D&AD, Design Museum and Design Miami/. In 2019, she co-authored her first book, An Opinionated Guide to London Architecture, published by Hoxton Mini Press, which was driven by her aim to make the fields of design and architecture accessible to wider audiences.