Adding natural elements to your living space has a long list of benefits: They provide a calming feel, inject some greenery into your decor, help indoor air quality and generally improve your space.
For many people, however, living plants can pose many challenges: Inadequate light, improper growing temperatures and the potential mess of dirt and water turn many people off from houseplants. And not only that, but also you might have a brown thumb…
The polarmoss wall
Enter Polarmoss, a fantastic no-maintenance, sustainable product that brings the outdoors in. This moss lets you add a touch of nature to any room of your home. Homedit first saw Polarmoss at a major design show and is very excited about all of its qualities and how easy it is to install.
We asked Janne A. Alatalo, Managing Director of the Finnish company, all about Polarmoss.
What sparked the idea for Polarmoss?
The idea of Polarmoss is related to a long history and heritage of using Reindeer moss for different purposes on the remote island of Hailuoto. The island is in the Bay of Bothnia, the most northern part of the Baltic Sea, near the arctic circle in Finland. Company founder, Markku Sipola — who still is the major shareholder — his family are original islanders and have harvested the Reindeer Moss for decades.
Markku worked with the moss for a long time, but founded the company with his family 1985. The initial business was exporting the natural dried Reindeer Moss to German-speaking areas in Central Europe. They use it for floral purposes, especially cemetery floral needs.
Moving Toward Indoor Decor
Over time, reindeer moss usage evolved and now there is clear demand for indoor decorations made reindeer moss. The unique structure and natural beauty of this wild material is deal for the indoors. For this reason, the company developed a number of ways to bring Nordic nature close to people in everyday life. The natural color of lichen, in this case reindeer moss, is whitish-grayish. We came up with the idea of having multiple different colors available. The aim was to reflect the different customer preferences in various global markets. Cuatomers always aappreciate easy assembly and mounting, so this was a key driver.
What makes Polarmoss different from other types?
Polarmoss is clearly an authentic decorative reindeer moss product. We control the whole supply and manufacturing chain. Above all, every step requires skillful handwork, all the way from picking the crop to dye coloring the raw material, and manufacturing the end products.
Focus on Sustainability
Polarmoss has long heritage of using this type of raw material. It follws that we do see the importance of living together with nature. We respect sustainability in all our activities to enable the balanced and long term usage of forests, and especially reindeer moss. We aim to bring the soft connection of Nordic forests to people through beautiful reindeer moss products.
One key benfit of Polarmoss products is that they are easy to use over time. They are maintenance free compared to some other types of green walls or green design objects. Additionally, they provide some sound-absorbing properties: The natural structure of reindeer moss is multidimensional and inherently round shaped.
How do you harvest the moss and how long does it take to regenerate?
We harvest moss with utmost care due to the vulnerability of reindeer moss growth in boreal and arctic forest areas. In all the areas where we operate, we only pick by hand and leaave the forest in well-cared for condition. The amount of moss we picked is only around 10-15 percent from the land area. Consequently, we harvested selectively — a piece from here and there without causing too much harm to the monolithic growth area.
A Focus on Sustanability
We do ensure that the moss, in those areas where we pick it, has enough time to grow and rest between the subsequent harvests. We only re-use the same harvesting areas after some five to ten years. I want to emphasize that we have educated handpickers, many of whom do the work season after season. INn addition, and all new pickers get proper training to ensure the harvest is sustainable and respectful of nature.
Your spheres and islands seem a bit more accessible for consumers to use in their homes. Are you planning on developing additional items for residential use?
Absolutely we are developing new items over time. Within our R&D we have ongoing projects to find new, innovative options to provide pleasant consumer experiences. We have not focused on consumers that much so far. As you said, however, interior design items like spheres and islands are certainly a bit more accessible for residential customers. Indeed, we want to make some delightful new forms available during the coming year to enable more options for customers to experience a soft connection to nature.
Which are your best-selling items for both commercial and residential uses?
This question is a little tricky. In truth, preferences and tastes regarding colors and shapes are different from country to country or one market area to another. Moreover, the design environment in the surrounding space and area often drives commercial use. But, the existing space might dictate residential uses when it comes to shapes and colors. On the other hand there are some clear winners on colors especially, for example the greenish colors. May Green in our color chart, for example, is one of the most popular options particularly among commercial customers.