In Paid Collaboration With: POC
Photo: Gustav Wiking

POC: Protected By Science

Published 21/02/2022
By: xxx Published: d/m/Y

POC is a Swedish company born from an ‘Eureka’ moment in a Swedish ski lift in the early 2000’s, in particular of the need for new innovation, design and products to protect skiers and ski racers who were just getting faster and faster. It was a moment that led to POC’s clear mission, to ‘protect lives and reduce the consequences of accidents for athletes and anyone inspired to be one.’ 

Asa contemporary and design-driven manufacturer of protection and apparel, POC’s vision is to develop products of unquestionable quality and groundbreaking innovation, which has resulted in more than 70 international safety, design, and innovation awards. 

Led by the guiding lights; performance, safety and design, as well as the input from some of the world’s great athletes, POC have introduced many firsts and new innovations, but what inspires them the most is being able to protect the passion that fuels skiers and cyclists around the world. Hobnob has been fans and friends of POC since the start and was happy to catch them in-between ski holidays and collections for a chat on protection, design and innovation.

Photo: Gustav Wiking
Photo: Gustav Wiking

Hobnob: POC was the first brand to take the most technical and ultra sporty ski gear (yes, I am talking all the blistering ice fire strikes everywhere) and design it by device less is more, and by that change an entire industry to go from firestorms to a bit more modest designs. Is that simplicity and unique way of looking the industry still effecting your way of working and creating?  

POC: It’s an interesting take on where we have come from, and it’s fair to say that many people think of us in terms of clean, Scandinavian lines. However, we never start a development process thinking about a particular design as an end point. First it always needs to satisfy our mission, and with it the performance and safety requirements. During the product design and development process its look emerges, almost naturally. We know that the safest helmet is the one you choose to wear, and as a consequence we pay attention to how the final product looks and we want a clear and unambiguous design language, but its only ever a refinement of the safety and performance which underpins the whole product. 

Hobnob: What inspires and drive POC to keep pushing both science, technique and design? 

POC: By pushing the boundaries of what is possible in terms of technology, science and design, we are able to pursue and deliver on our mission. Sometimes we will identify new problems that need to be solved, either with our scientific forum or athletes, and we always strive to push what is possible and look beyond the horizon. 

The end result should always be better and safer, but it’s also essential that it only ever gets easier and better for the user too. In many ways we want all users to be safer in the sports they perform, but not everyone will want to know all the details of material innovation, aerodynamics, or different types of testing. But they want something that they know will work well for them, that they enjoy using and most importantly, will do everything it’s designed too if it was called upon.

Photo: Gustav Wiking

Hobnob: What is the next great challenge within the ski protection and design industry? 

POC: There are numerous areas to consider, but the one that often stands out is the role of wearable technology. A few years ago we conducted some research with students at the New York FIT to study how to best to integrate wearable tech into our products. We know that we can do a lot already, but the future is about integrating technology in a way that is seamless to the user and will provide enhanced protection or comfort without a second thought.

Hobnob: How has the life of the ski helmet evolved over the years (from Stenmark to now), and the POC years? 

POC: It’s a great question and to many people looking at a helmet it will not have changed that much in fifty years. But much like a car from decades ago still resembles a modern-day car, how a new car is made, what it can do and how it drives are all completely different. And it’s the same with a helmet as you have more advanced technology, stricter certifications, weight, ventilation, comfort etc. So it’s the same but very different.

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Photo: Gustav Wiking
Published 21/02/2022

Fanny Ekstrand is a writer, creative consultant and founder of Hobnob. She says she is the master of vintage shopping and knows all the pasta dishes in the world.

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