LeapHome unveils sustainable, super-efficient Frame prefab

June 12, 2017 by  
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LEAPfactory , the Italy -based company known for building gorgeous prefabricated structures in extreme locations , just unveiled their very first LeapHome . Frame is a two-story, 1,400 square foot house built with minimal impact on the environment . The home’s design is super energy efficient , so it can easily go off-grid . LEAPfactory was inspired by the idea of living in harmony with nature to create Frame. The home can be customized and configured according to a buyer’s desires and budget, and includes two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a study area, a kitchen, dining area, an outdoor terrace, and a double height living room. Forest Stewardship Council certified wood , metal sheet cladding, and finishes made with ecological materials comprise the home that includes prefabricated components. Related: LEAPfactory unveils prefab snowboard school at the foot of Mont Blanc The outdoor shell of the home was designed with energy efficiency in mind, so the home doesn’t consume as much power as others do. Solar energy powers the home, which heats water with a solar thermal system. LED lighting and radiant technology electric systems recycle heat in Frame. According to the company’s website , “The structure is designed to maximize air circulation and distribute heat and humidity.” LEAPfactory says the home could potentially be set up in off-grid configurations – sewage can be independently managed thanks to a biological liquid waste treatment system and other sanitation systems. Panoramic openings in the home also serve to connect an inhabitant with nature. Large sliding glass doors, a bay window , a skylight, and a vertical ribbon window can all be part of the design . LEAPfactory co-founders Stefano Testa and Luca Gentilcore said in a statement, “Living immersed in nature represents one of the most important choices to embrace a new style of life. We like to think that we can combine the comforts of a modern home with the profound freedom and the pioneering spirit of a life in perfect harmony with the environment that surrounds us.” LEAPfactory’s process allows them to go from a design to a fully furnished and functioning house “within weeks” according to their website . + LEAPfactory + LeapHome Images courtesy of LEAPfactory

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LeapHome unveils sustainable, super-efficient Frame prefab

8 fabulous and creative Father’s Day gifts from $0 to $27,500

June 9, 2017 by  
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Finding the right gift for Dad can be elusive; ties, golf clubs, and a good set of knives feel kind of tired by now. So we rounded up 8 gifts that transcend the standard gift box and fit a variety of budgets and personalities. Whether you pick a tiny timber cabin for your backyard or a palm-sized solar lamp for nighttime adventures, Dad will love that you went the extra mile for a sustainable, stylish present. 1. Sustainable wood “blocks” Building block love is enduring, and Kengo Kuma’s Japanese spin on the all-age, favorite toy will be a hit with every member of the family. Using FSC Japanese cedar and a triangular shape, Kuma collaborated with conservation group More Trees  to create the Tsumiki (which is the Japanese word for building blocks ). Dads (and their kiddos) will love to arrange the Tsumiki into architectural configurations as well as whimsical animals and myriad creative designs. + Tsumiki blocks 2. Shoes partially made with recycled plastic bottles Perhaps Papa needs a new set of kicks. Gift him a pair of these versatile canvas shoes created as a collaboration between Timberland and Thread , a responsible fabric company. The outsoles comprise 15 percent recycled rubber and the uppers are crafted from 50 percent recycled PET bottles found in the streets and landfills of Haiti . The venture not only yields lightweight, stylish shoes , but also job opportunities and a cleaner environment in Haiti. + Timberland x Thread Collection 3. Electric bike The Propella 2.0 rides and feels like a traditional bike , but it’s got plenty of tricks hidden in its design. What looks like a water bottle is actually a battery that will help power Dad on a commute or joy ride around town. The bike’s lightweight design and pedal-assisted electric power means that riders can top out at 20 mph, a boon when it’s time to pick up the kiddos from childcare. Electric blue rims add a playful element to the otherwise minimalist design. Preorder the Propella 2.0   here for a September delivery. Related: 8 Last minute Father’s Day gifts for the procrastinator’s Papa 4. Portable solar lamp The Little Sun Original , designed by Olafur Eliasson , resembles a flower , and it is powered by the sun. Ideal for camping trips, taking midnight walks on a beach, or reading after the kids go to bed, this dimmable lamp comes with an affordable price tag ($25) and can stay charged for up to 50 hours. This gift for Dad also pays it forward: for every Little Sun sold, another goes to rural Africa to be sold at a locally affordable price by trusted partners. + Little Sun Original 5. Mini aquarium ecosystem Aqua Design Innovations’ EcoQube C was the most popular aquarium ever on Kickstarter, and the allure is understandable. This portable ecosystem uses an integrated aquaponics filter to turn fish waste into plant fertilizer. The fertilizer fuels the growth of the plant, which then cleans the water, reducing the need for filter changes and also reducing energy and water usage. The same company recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign for the EcoQube Frame , a vertical veggie and sprout garden. It’s available in December, so we now also know what Dad is getting for the holidays… + EcoQube C 6. A jacket and a backpack in one It’s a jacket, it’s a backpack , it’s a RuckJack , and it goes from one to the other with a zip, flip, and clip. Dad can start off an adventure wearing the RuckJack as a backpack; if the weather gets cool or rainy he can quickly convert it into a jacket and use the extra cargo bag on the back panel and extra pockets to distribute the rest of his load. RuckJack has partnered with WeForest to plant 10 trees in deforested areas around the world with every RuckJack purchase. + RuckJack Image via Agenzia Del Demanio 7. A free Italian building An Italian castle, farmhouse, inn, or monastery for FREE ? Sounds like the best, gratis Father’s Day present for an entrepreneurial DIY dad. 103 historic buildings are up for grabs with the caveat that new owners have to restore the sites and transform them into a tourist-friendly destination, such as a restaurant or hotel . If the family has ever dreamed of moving to Italy and setting up a picturesque B & B or trattoria, now is your chance. Our only suggestion: run this one by Dad before committing to this exciting and challenging effort designed to promote slow tourism. Apply (in Italian) here . 8. A MUJI mini house If you’ve got a tiny backyard and a spare 27 grand and change (and live in Japan), you can gift Dad with the ultimate tiny escape . Courtesy of cult minimalist company MUJI , these tiny timber cabins are sleek and simple…especially if it’s a kid-free zone and the floor isn’t littered with toys and clothes. One side is comprised almost completely of a sliding glass door; it’s almost as if they designed it so Dad can lay in a comfy position inside while watching the kids play just outside the door. + MUJI hut

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8 fabulous and creative Father’s Day gifts from $0 to $27,500

Australia’s amazing Upcycle House is made from the ruins of an old home

June 9, 2017 by  
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Australian architecture firm Alexander Symes has given an old building a new lease on life by repurposing its materials into a beautiful new home. Although the old structure was completely demolished, the architect – inspired by a “closed-loop zero-waste” ethos – decided to rescue the materials and implement them in the a house. Located in Blackheath, Australia, the 1,100-square-foot Upcycle House is a three-bedroom, two-bath family home with a large living area. The design team worked on the philosophy of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it and if it is broke, fix it” to sustainably build out the home’s exterior and interior with upcycled materials . Related: Lendager Arkitekter Unveils Incredible House Made Entirely From Recycled Materials The home is reinforced with insulated brick, and a solar pergola installed over the entrance pulls double duty as a sun shade and energy generator. Repurposed railway sleepers were used to create a walkway to the home’s sculptural entrance, where unique tile work gives the impression of an open, broken gap in the wall. The home’s interior is heavily influenced by Scandinavian design with clean simple spaces with a touch of whimsy throughout. The layout was strategically optimized to take advantage of the building’s East-West orientation, which gives the home optimal daylight, and reduces energy consumption . The living space floors feature colorful recycled tile mosaics that contrast nicely with the all-white walls. Ample bookshelves and hidden storage areas help residents avoid clutter. + Alexander Symes Architect Photography by Barton Taylor

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Australia’s amazing Upcycle House is made from the ruins of an old home

The simple way big brands can evangelize recycling

June 8, 2017 by  
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Why consumer packaged goods giants General Mills, Kellogg’s, P&G and Unilever are using How2Recycle label.

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Worlds most active volcano harbors a tiny off-grid homeand you can stay overnight

June 8, 2017 by  
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The Phoenix House is a tiny off-grid home that truly befits its name. Rising from the ashes of the world’s most active volcano, this solar-powered abode built of recycled materials boasts spectacular views of the Hawaiian landscape. Available for rent on AirBnB , the Phoenix House promises an unforgettable, off-the-beaten track experience and is just a bike ride away from a 100-foot lava waterfall. The eco-friendly Phoenix House is the newest creation by ArtisTree , a green design studio with an impressive portfolio of beautiful, low-impact treehouses and vacation homes. Located at the base of Mauna Loa volcano next to Kilauea, the tiny 450-square-foot Phoenix House is a shining beacon of sustainability and is part of a regenerative, off-grid community compound. Created to symbolize the temporal nature of life, the Phoenix House merges visual elements from a modern beach farmhouse with the stark volcanic landscape. The building is clad in charred Shou Sugi Ban timber to blend into the surroundings as well as recycled rusted corrugated metal that represents hot lava. “We built this house with deep respect for Mother Earth. For that reason, you will find the design minimalist, the development footprint light, and the result is one with its surroundings,” said Will Beilharz, the designer of Phoenix House, who also spoke of the difficulties of building on a lava field with 30-mile-per-hour winds. Related: Solar-powered cylindrical treehouse in Mexico is made with sustainable bamboo Sustainability is a major focus of the tiny house design. In addition to its use of solar power and recycled materials, the Phoenix House also collects and reuses rainwater . The modern home is equipped with all the comforts of home, including electricity, high-speed wifi and hot showers. The home, which accommodates two on a queen bed, is available for rent on Airbnb for $111 a night . Guests also have access to a fully equipped kitchenette with a propane stove top, living area with a couch and desk, and a small dinette table. + ArtisTree

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Worlds most active volcano harbors a tiny off-grid homeand you can stay overnight

World’s Smallest Garden lets you recycle old bottles into adorable hydroponic gardens

June 7, 2017 by  
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You can always recycle an old wine bottle , but what if you could transform it into a tiny garden instead? Urban Leaf empowers people to grow food at home through the World’s Smallest Garden, and upcycle used bottles into planters. It takes minutes to put together one of the mini gardens, which can grow greens and herbs year-round – and you can snag one on the cheap right now on Kickstarter . The World’s Smallest Garden is comprised of a 3D-printed cylindrical device, or plug, that fits right into the neck of an old bottle. The plastic used in the product is biodegradable . Users fill the bottle with water, insert the device filled with soil and seeds, and sit back and let the plants grow. Plants can draw on that initial water source for a month, and then users can add water as needed. Related: Build your own indoor garden with modular LEGO-like blocks Dill, lettuce, bok choy, and basil are just a few of the plants that can be grown with the World’s Smallest Garden. Users will be able to start harvesting the plants after around four to six weeks. The team designed the garden with the idea that plants would grow just in the bottle, although co-founder Robert Elliott told Inhabitat it should work to move a plant into a planter since hydroponically grown plants typically transplant well. They’ve been able to grow herbs like mint and parsley for five months in bottles, and even grew dwarf tomatoes to fruit in a World’s Smallest Garden. Elliott and Nathan Littlewood started Urban Leaf to work towards a better food system. On their website they say they believe growing food in urban areas solves many of the issues with the modern food industry , allowing for less waste, less packaging, and shorter supply chains. But many people living in cities don’t have a lot of space to grow gardens, an obstacle Urban Leaf overcomes with the World’s Smallest Garden. Elliott told Inhabitat, “The design process for the World’s Smallest Garden was an effort to create the most minimal product that still effectively grew plants. We started with a ‘bells and whistles’ prototype and removed lights, pumps, multiple substrates, nutrient packets, and even the reservoir. Brown or green glass bottles are a natural fit for a reservoir (they block harmful red/blue light while allowing you to see in) and most people just throw them away! By selling just the essential component to turn existing waste into a hydroponic reservoir we save customers money and reduce our manufacturing and shipping environmental impact.” Urban Leaf is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter . You can get a single pack that comes with three plugs and seeds for $15. Check out the Kickstarter here . + Urban Leaf Images courtesy of Urban Leaf

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13 groundbreaking lighting innovations from NY Design Week

June 6, 2017 by  
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Of all the fields of industrial design, lighting seems to evolve the quickest as designers harness innovations in materials, manufacturing, and technology. We recently hit the shows of NYCxDesign to bring you a first look at some of the world’s freshest lighting designs – including lamps that sustain life, wild experiments with new materials, and interactive lamps that respond to touch, movement, and music. Check out 13 of our favorite lighting innovations from Sight Unseen Offsite , Wanted Design , and ICFF after the break. Reflected Sequence LED Lamp by Frederike Top Dutch designer Frederike Top has developed an amazing collection of lights and mobiles made from a new material that combines acrylate with iridescent foil. Her Reflected Sequence Table Lamp consists of a single LED bar slatted with sheets of acrylate that reflect the light and make it appear to branch off into complex geometric forms. The material’s foil backing makes the lamp appear to change color and shape depending on the angle from which it is viewed. Globe Terrarium Lights by Richard Clarkson We love terrariums , and we love LED lighting – put them together, and we’re in heaven. Richard Clarkson Studio ‘s hanging Globe lamps are self-sufficient worlds complete with LED lights that sustain the plants within. They’re great for adding a touch of green to any room, and they’re made to last – Clarkson says that some of their terrariums have been thriving for several years now. Janus Lamp by Trueing Studio Trueing Studio ’s elegant Janus Lamp is named after the two-faced Roman god and Saturn’s outermost ring. A band of LED light reflects off a slice of dichroic glass, casting colorful reflections reminiscent of the Aurora Borealis. A post shared by Inhabitat (@inhabitatdesign) on May 19, 2017 at 3:01pm PDT Holon Spheres by Martens-Visser Martens & Visser ‘s amazing Holon orbs look like gigantic spinning soap bubbles! Each Holon is made from long strips of transparent foil connected to a spinning electric motor that causes the bubble-like forms to bounce and shimmer. Double Boom Chandelier by Stickbulb Stickbulb recently debuted a gorgeous new line of LED lighting made of wood salvaged from New York water towers. Their Double Boom fixture is made of reclaimed redwood that has been carbon dated to be three centuries old. Mobius Bench by Louis Lim X 3form At first glance, the Mobius Bench appears to be a simple seat – but when you touch it, a wave of color and light washes over the bench’s serpentine form. Louis Lim teamed up with 3form to create the interactive installation, which stole the show at Wanted Design . Voronoi LED Edison Bulb by Tala These might look like classic Edison bulbs – but they’re actually low-energy LEDs! Tala ‘s Voronoi Bulbs are modeled after forms found in nature – and the company plants ten trees for every 200 products sold. A post shared by Inhabitat (@inhabitatdesign) on May 21, 2017 at 11:45am PDT Aurora Rhythm LED Visualizer by Nanoleaf We’ve featured Nanoleaf ‘s beautiful Aurora LED panels in the past – but we’ve never seen them light up quite like this! The company has developed a new Aurora Rhythm module that listens to nearby sounds to transform your wall into a giant music visualizer. Nanoleaf plans to launch the new device this coming September. Module Lamps by Dear Human Dear Human ‘s stackable Module Lamps consist of individual pieces that can be combined in an endless number of ways. The modules are made from an innovative material called “Paper Rock” that consists of 100% recycled paper and cement. Bottle Cap Lamp by Mutan Argentina-based Mutan collects thousands of discarded plastic bottle tops and transforms them into captivating lamps! Each light is made from 600 bottle caps saved from the landfill. Aural Planes by The Principals X Calico Wallpaper The Principals teamed up with Calico Wallpaper to create a mesmerizing chandelier that reacts to human touch. The lamp’s long tendrils are fitted with capacitive sensors that read your body’s electric charge and then interpret it with flashing lights and sounds from nature. Urchin Softlight by Molo Molo has redesigned their Urchin Softlight to incorporate an LED lighting element within its flexible honeycomb form. The lamps can be opened, closed, flattened, and expanded to suit a wide variety of lighting needs. Echo Felt Lighting by LightArt LightArt ‘s Echo lamps provide both illumination and sound absorption – and they’re made from 50% recycled PET felt. The lights can be hung alone or installed in sets to create multifunctional ceiling landscapes. + NYCxDesign

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13 groundbreaking lighting innovations from NY Design Week

World’s first ‘cranehouse’ hoisted over Bristol harbor is completely carbon neutral

June 5, 2017 by  
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Could a new urban vacation trend take the trees out of treehouses ? The world’s first “cranehouse” has opened in Bristol and it’s every bit as spectacular as their conventional trunk-supported counterparts. Designed by vacation specialists Canopy & Stars , the tiny structure is hoisted by a cargo crane 26 feet over Bristol Harbor. What’s more, the low-impact wooden structure is completely carbon neutral, and it was built using sustainable materials . The “hanging basket” is a collaboration between Canopy & Stars and DIY company, B&Q, who decorated the space with a chic collection of sustainable furnishings. Touches of nature are found throughout the space, including walls inlaid with tree branches, a watering can shower, and a bed made out of a reclaimed tree trunk . Industrial hints such as copper finials, polished concrete, and natural vegetable-fiber mats complete the rustic, yet sophisticated interior design. Related: 9 treehouses you can actually rent for an off-the-ground getaway Along with a “living painting” by local artist Anthony Garrett, the design focused on creating a similar “multi-sensory experience” one might experience in a true treehouse. Scents of woodlands such as lavender, sage, and bark waft through the interior. Wild flowers are planted in recycled wooden crates on the exterior of the house and various pollinators were planted on the roof to attract bees and butterflies. Guests at Crane 29 will be able to enjoy the beautiful off-grid retreat by spending their time swinging in the indoor hammock and taking in the spectacular panoramic views of the harbor. Reservations, which run £185 a night, include a gourmet breakfast basket delivered to the house in the morning. Tom Dixon, managing director of Canopy & Stars, explains that the project was a labor of love for the company, “It’s taken three years of planning and design, and only three weeks of building, but we got there. What started as a dream has now become a reality,” said “We hope people enjoy their stays in this amazing building and wake up to the great outdoors feeling they are truly part of this pocket of nature in the city – a real natural high.” Crane 29 will only be opened to guests for just 100 days, but all of the profits from the rental space will be donated to the environmental organization, Friends of the Earth . + Canopy & Stars Via Telegraph Images via Canopy & Stars

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World’s first ‘cranehouse’ hoisted over Bristol harbor is completely carbon neutral

Glowing circle made from thousands of recycled notebooks celebrate Bilbaos book festival

June 1, 2017 by  
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Don’t be fooled by the perfect circular shape of this glowing installation in Bilbao. A closer look reveals that the seemingly solid plane is actually made from thousands of illuminated notebooks. Created by anonymous artist collective Luzinterruptus , this curious installation, called Denboran Zehar, uses community interaction to rethink recycled materials . Commissioned by Azkuna Zentroa, Luzinterruptus crafted Denboran Zehar for the 10th anniversary of Gutun Zuria (Bilbao Internacional Literature Festival) in April 2017. In light of the anniversary, the designers wanted to pay homage to the themes of creation and time. “To this end, we looked for a way to make the traces left by time visible over a material associated with creation,” wrote the designers. We thought of those basic white paper notebooks so feared by artists when they are blank, and so beloved when they have been satisfactorily used, even becoming true objects of devotion despite their modest appearance. Within the alarming “anti-aging” context where we are currently immersed, we thought it would be interesting to give life to this idea.” As with most of Luzinterruptus’ projects , recycled materials were primarily used. The artists collected 5,000 recycled paper notebooks and asked the Bilbao community to leave anonymous writings and drawings on the pages. The thousands of notebooks were then individually equipped with lights and arranged in a large perfect circle on Azkuna Zentroa’s outdoor terrace. Related: Luminous floating rings in London are made from 13,000 recycled plastic bottles Luzinterruptus exposed the ephemeral installation to the elements for 25 days, allowing time and weather to deteriorate the notebooks. “These interventions surely suffered severe mutations and both, the colors and the materials, eventually blended, blurring the messages so, to our surprise, everything ended up acquiring a strange homogeneity within the purest eclecticism.” On the last day of the installation, Luzinterruptus moved the artwork indoors and gifted the illuminated notebooks to visitors. + Luzinterruptus

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Glowing circle made from thousands of recycled notebooks celebrate Bilbaos book festival

Bangladesh raises storm danger to highest level as Cyclone Mora batters coastline

May 30, 2017 by  
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Bangladesh was still picking up the pieces after flash floods in April affected millions of people when a cyclone hit. Cyclone Mora just struck the country’s southeastern coast with rain and winds hours ago, and the BBC reports five people have died. Hundreds of homes have been devastated. As Cyclone Mora approached yesterday, the country increased its storm danger signal up to 10, the highest level, with warnings some coastal areas were “likely to inundated by a storm surge of four to five feet” higher than normal. The country’s Disaster Ministry told authorities to evacuate people along the coast. Hours ago the cyclone finally struck and is already damaging a country that grapples with cyclones every year. Related: Aussie surfer designs prefab recycled cyclone-resistant homes Bangladesh is home to around 160 million people, and around 10 million reside in coastal areas. The BBC and Reuters report that one of the areas that’s already been hit the hardest in Bangladesh is Cox’s Bazaar, where hundreds of thousands of refugees reside. Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar came to Bangladesh fleeing violence, but now many of their temporary homes have been destroyed. Community leader Shamsul Alam told Reuters in the Balukhali and Kutupalong camps nearly all the 10,000 thatched huts were flattened. Cyclone Mora started to form after recent monsoon rains which led to landslides and flooding in nearby Sri Lanka . According to authorities around 180 perished as a result. In Sri Lanka, around 75,000 people have had to leave their homes. Reuters described the Sri Lankan floods as the most widespread disaster the country has seen since the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004. Bangladeshi weather officials still said the cyclone wasn’t as bad as they anticipated. It’s supposed to weaken and become a tropical storm as it moves towards India, where officials have already warned of heavy rains in five northern states. Via the BBC and Reuters ( 1 , 2 ) Images via SSEC/CIMSS, University of Wisconsin – Madison and screenshot

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Bangladesh raises storm danger to highest level as Cyclone Mora batters coastline

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