In September 2016, Bolon was certified by the Norwegian Asthma and Allergy Association (NAAF). It is a stamp of approval that accords with the principles of universal design, ensuring that interiors are accessible and welcoming to all.
“Allergies and asthma are increasing enormously,” says Kai Gustavsen, a specialist in indoor climate at NAAF. Today, approximately 25 per cent of Norwegian children will have asthma before they leave school. “Compare that figure to 1985, when it was only 3.5 per cent. That’s a dramatic growth.” NAAF addresses this by consulting on good indoor climate, providing expert certifications for interior products and materials.
“What sets Bolon apart,” says Gustavsen, “is that you get a carpet function visually, while the products are easy to keep clean because chemicals, skin cells and pollen do not enter the carpet backing. It means a lot for the quality of the air and the health of those who use the space.”
Good design is not limited to technical performance alone, however, as recognised by Anett Kleven from the Norwegian Association of Disabled (NAD). In December 2016, NAD moved into newly refurbished offices in Oslo, where Bolon’s Create, Botanic, and Artisan collections have been used. NAD advocates universally designed workspaces – spaces that are accessible and welcoming to everyone, regardless of means or disability. “Sometimes people think that a universally designed environment will inevitably have an institutional look,” says Kleven. “But it doesn’t have to be that way. Bolon’s products provide a beautiful design element in our interiors while according to the criteria of universal design.”
At a time when asthma is the most frequent cause of emergency hospitalisations in Norwegian paediatric wards, and around 1.5 million people in Norway suffer from chronic asthma- and allergy-related conditions, universal design-thinking is more urgent than ever. “An improved interior climate means improved well-being of the people who live or work in a space,” says Gustavsen by way of summary. “That’s good economics.”