The height of modern in a symbol of history

I recently participated in the Atlanta Arts & Design Center’s “Discover ADAC”, a 3-day event exploring all aspects of interior design trends today. Terry Furuta Designs created all the botanical arrangements for the Ernest Gaspard & Associates showroom, plus a pop-up shop on Day Two of the event. Seeing before me the breadth of approaches to modern interior design made me start to think about what drives design trends and how preserved moss so well meets contemporary societal and environmental needs. Please read on.

Mention the word moss and it conjures images of antiquated sites, unchanged by time. Moss connotes history. And stability. That is why it seems an unlikely partner for today’s interior design trends. But preserved moss is thoroughly modern.

When considering the House Beautiful Whole Home Project, described by ADAC presenter and House Beautiful Editor in Chief Sophie Donelson as a research initiative intended to design homes which feed happiness and drive well-being, preserved moss really delivers. Here’s how.

For starters, science.

As an interior design material, moss is preserved in a natural glycerin solution that retains its lifelike appearance as well as its springy texture. In this state, preserved moss provides similar benefits as live plants with none of the maintenance concerns.

Preserved moss’s lifelike texture and appearance.

Preserved moss’s lifelike texture and appearance.

Seeking sanctuary.

According to WGSN Lifestyles and Interiors editor Allyson Rees, the concept of “sanctuary” is more important than ever to consumers today. “I imagine everyone around the world is looking for extra comfort and reassurance. The home is a safe haven in a world that is so politically and ecologically turbulent.” Therefore aesthetic drivers seem to be giving way to experience drivers when it comes to interior design (a likely explanation why finger-friendly fabrics are on the rise today).

Seeing a familiar thing used in an unfamiliar way creates a novel experience, one you’ll remember. But beyond matters of the hippocampus, preserved moss also comforts us in that it helps restore equilibrium. With the frenetic, often toxic energy that swirls around us each day out there, interior materials that evoke a sense of stability and constancy bring us back into balance in here. The presence of moss beautifully suggests an undisturbed environment.

Biophilic response.

Botanicals have a natural but unusual effect on humans. Biophilia is the human affinity for other forms of life. Communing with plants, animals and mammals is comforting to us because of the Biophilic response. Through our connections to nature our own existence makes more sense and we feel more calm and uplifted. Biophilia is perhaps the largest driver of indoor plant and pet ownership and these connections serve as a biophysical buffer to life’s everyday stresses on our minds and bodies.

Regions Plaza, Atlanta GA

Regions Plaza, Atlanta GA

More than a feeling.

Moss adds a much needed textural contrast to all the trendy hard surfaces showing up in commercial and residential interiors – stone, ceramic, porcelain, hardwood, bamboo, granite, stainless, glass and lacquer. These hard surfaces are rigid and in some ways harsh. The lifelike springy-ness of preserved moss and its low reflective qualities offset the unyielding, often mirror-like finishes throughout our interiors. The cushioning effect – visual and tactile – of preserved moss’s texture makes us feel more welcome and at home in our spaces.

Sound check.

Wood, stone, metal and ceramic have very poor sound absorption qualities due to their rigidity. Moss’s substance and texture absorb sound rather than ricocheting it back into the room.

This improves optimism, morale, productivity and general well-being in work environments. Sound baffling helps to create zones of intimacy in today’s residential open floor plans. For a more pleasing auditory experience, moss contributes sound insulation to public and private spaces.

Preserved moss office cubicle buffers sound.

Preserved moss office cubicle buffers sound.

Statement of purpose.

The pursuit of sustainable design will persist perhaps forever. Now, the emphasis seems to be on a more sophisticated approach in which aesthetics are not compromised for the sake of sustainability.

Sustainable design thought leader Seetal Solanki forecasts increased adoption of sustainable materials as well as rejection of the Reclaimed 1.0 look. “2017 saw a rise in materials being designed with purpose,” Solanki states. “We are clearly seeing a shift towards an approach within design that considers our environment and society in a much more positive way, without compromising on its aesthetics.”

Preserved moss embodies this trend completely. Plant life is aesthetically pleasing. It soothes our souls. And delivers sustainability with its low carbon load driven by its impressive low maintenance profile.

Moss wall art, YANMAR Evo//Center, Acworth GA.

Moss wall art, YANMAR Evo//Center, Acworth GA.

Preserved moss affixes easily to flat, curved and three-dimensional surfaces without the need for armatures or heavy substrates. It has zero irrigation, fertilization, pruning or pesticide maintenance requirements and infrequent need for cleaning. In most interiors, preserved moss has a life of up to 10 years and rarely needs replacing or repair.

A wise choice not only for its good looks and fashion forward sense, preserved moss delivers on comfort, practicality and sustainability.

Terry Furuta