Like a walk in the woods. That’s what it feels like in Metsä Group’s Pro Nemus visitor centre, which opened its doors in a corner of the Äänekoski bioproduct mill in June. Built next to the mill’s enormous pulp storage towers, Pro Nemus offers an entirely new kind of forest experience: By combining virtual reality, genuine nature and experiences, Pro Nemus tells visitors about the opportunities the forest industry has to offer and how Finnish wood is transformes into various kinds of products.
“The world needs responsibly produced renewable materials. Metsä Group wants to be increasingly active in the development of forest-related operations and forest use. The visitor centre allows us to demonstrate how this happens,” says Ilkka Hämälä, President and CEO of Metsä Group.
Pro Nemus is Latin and means “for forests”. With its exhibitions, the centre offers memorable experiences by taking visitors on virtual journeys to Metsä Group’s mills or forest sites, with the help of a harvester simulator. Real trees, living green walls and modern wooden surfaces line the exhibition spaces, which introduce visitors to the bioproduct mill’s ecosystem, as well as forest industry products and their journeys to the world. One of the most impressive installations is the dark interactive space that describes the sustainable use of forests.
In the lobby, visitors’ attention is drawn to the striking installation designed by the students of Aalto University, Uusi kulottuvuus (“Controlled Fire”). In addition, the modern wooden building itself offers plenty to explore. Built from Kerto® LVL elements, the visitor centre is an architectural reference to Metsä Group’s engineered wood products. The Kerto LVL pillars and beams, as well as the beautifully treated plywood surfaces, have been left visible as part of the overall exhibition. The structures of the centre can also be viewed through peepholes. The thousand-square-metre wooden building was constructed very rapidly – in just 214 days – thanks to the Kerto LVL elements prefabricated by our partner.
Pro Nemus is open to visitors invited by Metsä Group. The town of Äänekoski organises two-hour visits to the centre for the public on the first Thursday of every month, starting from 5 p.m. Individual visitors and groups of less than ten people can sign up for the visits. For further information, go to Pro Nemus website.