Foliair is set on working towards a world where clean air is considered a human right, rather than a luxury. The first step? Their first product, the Moss Module.
Words by Eleanor Scott
Aaron Watts-Jones and William Holtam were out having a casual drink at a bar in London when they first started discussing the idea that eventually became the Moss Module. They spoke about how great it would be if “you could have a strip of something as naturally majestic as moss across the wall in your home” and the more they delved into it, the more they realised “the holistic benefits it could potentially bring by improving local air quality too”.
With that in mind, Foliair’s goal is to create natural solutions that improve air quality. Their first product is a low-maintenance, high-impact air purifier that, when you first set your eyes on it, might seem like a rather interesting cross between a houseplant and an artwork. But there’s much more to the Moss Module than that.
“We realised that the well-being aspect of having something from the woodland in your home could be amazing – particularly for those in cities that don’t have readily available access to green space,” says Aaron. “However, whatever assertions we made in respect to improving local air quality, we knew it had to be backed up by primary scientific research. That was when we searched for a university to collaborate with us.”
With the help of the University of Essex’s Lawson Laboratory, Foliair has established that their Moss Modules can generate up to five times more carbon dioxide absorption, and generate up to three-and-a-half times more clean oxygen, than other air-purifying houseplants.
They also stress that having plants in your home can offer benefits beyond simple aesthetics. According to them, aside from improving air quality and respiratory health, having plenty of house plants in both your home and your workspace is also known to “increase your productivity, reduce stress and anxiety, and drive higher levels of creativity”.
“Having one of nature’s most primitive plants hung on your wall or stood proudly on your work desk really connects you with green space that so many of us crave.”
“The moss module is a patch of living moss that is fixed inside a pinewood frame. It has a sliding acrylic cover over the face of it to hold in enough moisture that enables you to only mist it twice a week,” the co-founder pair explain. “Having one of nature’s most primitive plants hung on your wall or stood proudly on your work desk really connects you with green space that so many of us crave in our modern lives.”
Yet even with the research implying that Moss Modules offer greater air-purifying prospects than that of normal house plants, Aaron and William are firm in their assertion that they do not see either as separate or binary options. “We actually call ourselves a type of house plant and one that can complement your existing foliage to bring more greenery and fresh air to your home or workspace,” says Aaron.
“We want to use our platform to educate and inspire people to take care of our natural world.”
While in the process of creating the Moss Module, Aaron and William both wanted to ensure that their entire operation would be as sustainable as possible. The moss itself is grown in a commercial nursery to ensure that none of it is sourced from natural woodland, the pinewood frames are FSC certified, and all of their packaging is plastic-free.
Aaron and William are also set on making certain that Foliair is a purpose-driven business. To achieve this, they contribute a part of Foliair’s business earnings to the regeneration of British peatlands, some of the world’s most effective natural carbon sinks. “Given that we work with moss, we want to use our platform to educate and inspire people to take care of our natural world,” explains Aaron.