As seen on Design Milk: The Better Together Collection Creates Beautiful, Sustainable Learning Spaces
The story begins with a Canadian brand – Natural Pod – a company that believes in creating beautifully designed, durable, sustainable products for students and educators to use in learning spaces. Natural Pod’s new Better Together partnership collection has led them to partner with other Canadian brands, ChopValue, Halfmoon, and Unbuilders, who all share the values mentioned above with the hope of creating an impact. Natural Pods’ Better Together partnership collection aims to create learning environments that feel warm and welcoming, and that support students in ways they may not otherwise have access to. Spaces like these can be brought to life through intentional conversations about holistic learning environments, and draw inspiration directly from nature.
Founder and CEO Bridgitte Alomes created Natural Pod after her child experienced an adverse reaction to a toxic chemical found in a toy. The family’s experience led to a search for the healthiest, quality materials that would be safe for use in children’s learning spaces. But they didn’t exist. “There were no non-toxic materials that offered connection to the outdoors (when we know we must often be indoors), and there were no elements that spoke to the open-ended play that our children need to thrive and learn about the world around them,” she explained. It was a call-to-action that got the wheels turning on the path to Natural Pod.
Natural Pod’s Better Together partnership believes it’s invaluable to create learning environments that encourage active learning, choice, and personal well-being. Also included in their beliefs is an innate responsibility to find and use materials that are of high quality and responsibly sourced, so that they may continue to act as stewards of the planet. This mixed material collection of foundational elements includes the use of recycled chopsticks, reclaimed lumber, and linen textiles.
The newly created collection is being offered through learning solutions brand Natural Pod. The brand’s focus and their belief that every student has the right to learn and play in healthy, beautiful, inspiring learning environments provide a foundation for the work. Their high-quality, non-toxic wood furniture has an emphasis on beauty, durability, and environmental awareness. The spaces being created can then provide optimal learning outcomes and experiences for both students and educators.
These are timeless pieces. They create a neutral canvas for all the future activities and trends that will come and go, shift and evolve while providing a place where one can learn, create, and be comfortable. Natural Pod’s pieces also reflect the personalities of the people in the space, shifting with the needs of those within, it’s meant to be rearranged and customized. Learning spaces should offer a continuity of care and the opportunities to craft a space to be what we need, when we need it.
ChopValue ran the numbers and figured out that 1.5 billion disposable chopsticks are used per week. One use and into the landfill they go in most cases. But founder Felix Böck, a wood engineer with a PhD in bamboo composites, saw untapped potential and urban harvesting was born. To date, ChopValue has recycled more than 53 million chopsticks and diverted them from the garbage heap. Through Better Together, they’ve been able to partner with Natural Pod to create various pieces of modern furniture with utensils that otherwise would have been used only once.
Vancouver-based Halfmoon works to make beautiful yoga and meditation products that add a layer of comfort on your journey to mindfulness, no matter where you are in the process. In partnership with Natural Pod and Better Together, the brand is creating multi-purpose, quality textiles for learning environments. Whether those using the space are trying to center their thoughts or looking for a place to curl up and read, these pieces offer plenty of warmth and comfort.
Companies continue to throw away valuable waste, particularly the demolition industry. In Canada alone, 37% is valuable lumber that can be reused. Unbuilders takes a different approach to breaking down older buildings – they unbuild them. Not only is this method better for the environment, it also diverts roughly 4 million tons of waste yearly. Together with Natural Pod, Unbuilders has designed one-of-a-kind furniture pieces that give salvaged wood new life as educational furniture. They also provide an opportunity to learn the history of where their table came from and a lesson in upcycling.
The partnership created through Better Together is a testament to the power of like-minded individuals banding together for a purpose. Led by Natural Pod, these four brands are challenging the fast furniture and goods industries that we’ve become accustomed to and are instead committing themselves to conscious creation and purchasing power.
Natural Pod is elevating learning environments that have a meaningful story and can actively contribute to the learning experience of children. Their learning environments showcase an innate ability to create something with intention from local companies, the ability to work with others to accomplish a common goal, the ability to think critically, and to demonstrate that it often takes a village to create something meaningful. All while building community along the way. These products are the outcome of a learning experience each founder and team had, demonstrating that if we stay curious, wonder, and experiment, we can create something remarkable, together. Because we’re all better together. To learn more about Better Together, visit naturalpod.com.