Chefs could be the missing ingredient to circular food systems

June 22, 2020 by  
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Chefs could be the missing ingredient to circular food systems Lauren Phipps Mon, 06/22/2020 – 01:00 It’s often said that the way to a person’s heart is through the stomach. The same principle could apply to fixing the broken food system.  Food loss and waste, the carbon-intensive production and distribution of food, hunger and food deserts: These are just a few inefficient and unequal outcomes of today’s global food system. The principles of a circular economy offer a helpful framework to envision a more resilient and regenerative alternative — and chefs might be the missing ingredient to successfully realizing a new model.  “When you talk about biodiversity and conservation, there is no value,” said prominent Brazilian chef Alex Atala, who runs the world-renowned restaurant D.O.M. in São Paulo. “When you taste biodiversity, there’s a new meaning and new value.”  Atala was one of four chefs tuning in from around the world who spoke about cultivating a circular economy for food during the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Big Food Workshop last week. According to these culinary leaders, we have to start with the food itself: the ingredients; the preparation; and the flavor.  Biodiversity, conservation and a shift towards regenerative agriculture is just one piece of a holistic vision for a better food system. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation breaks down circular food systems into three, bite-sized pieces in the report ” Cities and Circular Economy for Food “: Food production that improves rather than degrades the environment; ingredients kept at their highest value and cycled through the biological system; and people that have access to healthy and nutritious food.  It’s not enough to ask people to put something on the plate because it’s the right thing to do. We want people to enjoy it. The report’s analysis suggests that a successful shift not only would benefit the climate and communities, it also would generate $2.7 trillion in annual benefits by 2050. And chefs will play a vital role in driving this transformation.  Chef Kim Wejendorp knows a thing or two about food waste — or in his case, the inventive use of every ounce of an ingredient. Head of R&D at Amass Restaurant in Copenhagen, known for its fine dining and zero-waste kitchen, Wejendorp believes “it’s a matter of deriving flavor from otherwise byproducts or what would be considered waste in commercial kitchens. It’s not enough to ask people to put something on the plate because it’s the right thing to do. We want people to enjoy it. We want people to come back to these ingredients as things with their own intrinsic value.”  Wejendorp recognizes the impact of each ingredient, and the responsibility of the chef — in commercial and home kitchens — to actively avoid waste where possible. “Anybody looking down at a cutting board that’s about to sweep whatever they’ve got leftover in the bin, stop and ask yourself, ‘Have you done enough with what you have there to pay respect to the amount of work and effort and resources it took to get those ingredients in front of you in the first place?’” South African chef and writer Mokgadi Itsweng champions indigenous foods in future food systems. “We’re suffering from malnutrition … social diseases like diabetes, all these things that our great-grandparents never suffered from. The reason being, they ate a lot of the indigenous ingredients.” An unintended impact of urbanization in South Africa is shifting relationships with food. “When people move to cities, indigenous food knowledge is destroyed,” Itsweng said. Itsweng described the indigenous foods that she grew up eating such as sorghum, millet and amaranth. “I’m bringing them back into people’s kitchens. … With climate change, COVID and food insecurity, we need those nutrient-dense foods back on our plates.”  To revive indigenous food systems and cultures, Itsweng has one simple piece of advice: “Speak to your grandmother.” The foods and cooking methods used for generations can inform today’s efforts to improve the food system, and elders are an unparalleled resource to help communities relearn how to eat sustainably.  A well-known figure in the U.S. farm-to-table movement, Dan Barber has long advocated to support local farms and farmers. Author of “The Third Plate” and chef and co-owner of restaurants Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Barber reflected on the shifting trajectory of food culture in the United States. “When I opened Blue Hill in very progressive New York City, I had to have foie gras, caviar, lobster — I had to have those ingredients on my menu. Fast-forward 20 years, those ingredients on my menu make me look old and outdated and anachronistic.” The plates have shifted. I love the Toni Cade Bambara quote, “The role of the artist is to make the revolution irresistible.” When it comes to the art of flavor and sustenance, this responsibility is no different. The role of the chef is to make a regenerative, circular food system tempting and delicious. To drive systems change through the allure of a perfectly prepared carrot rather than the threat of a stick.  “We as chefs are the strongest voice in the food chain in this moment,” Atala concluded. “We have a power, a power to transform a forgotten, an unknown, an undervalued ingredient into a sexy ingredient. Let’s use this power. Let’s feed people with love and maybe food can be a way to express it.” Pull Quote It’s not enough to ask people to put something on the plate because it’s the right thing to do. We want people to enjoy it. Topics Circular Economy Food Systems Food Waste Featured Column In the Loop Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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Chefs could be the missing ingredient to circular food systems

"Wither" artistically represents deforestation in the Amazon

May 27, 2020 by  
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While all eyes are on the national and international headlines regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, it appears no one is watching and protecting the rainforest, which is experiencing a “newly deforested area” that is “71% larger” than previous records, according to The Wall Street Journal . When the data regarding this rapid increase in deforestation came to light, Dutch artist Thijs Biersteker created a digital art installation titled, “Wither,” to visually represent the disappearing landscape in Brazilian rainforests. Related: Humans can’t count on rainforests to offset their carbon Taking the form of a plant  with a variety of leaf styles, the electrically-powered piece brings to light, quite literally, the roughly three football fields-worth of rainforest that is lost each second . Well, technically Biersteker brings it to dark, as the lights of each petal fade and become transparent to represent “the loss of 250m2 of rainforest,” according to the artist. Each light that is snuffed out matches real-time data coming in from a variety of rainforest watch groups who monitor the deforestation progression.  Biersteker and his team from Woven Studio planned to reveal the artwork later on, but the recent acceleration of deforestation during this pandemic added a sense of urgency to the message, so they decided to launch now to drive awareness around the topic. The art was commissioned by Daily Paper, a popular Amsterdam-based fashion and lifestyle brand. As Biersteker said, “It is interesting that while we dream, talk, videocall, and post about a new post-Covid-19 world, an old system is destroying our future more fiercefull than ever. This artwork turns deforestation facts into something you can feel. Hopefully it will provoke people to spend their time inside, to think about the world they want to go back to outside. I often wonder when we are allowed back into the world, what will we find, and what will we have lost?” Biersteker is the founder of Woven Studio, a sustainable art studio focused on helping research groups, universities, museums and architects present data through visual art. + Woven Studio Images via Thijs Biersteker

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"Wither" artistically represents deforestation in the Amazon

Glowing rabbit made of 3D-printed polycarbonate pops up in a Dutch pond

February 21, 2020 by  
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Early last year, Dutch artist Titia Ex presented the North Holland town of Heemskerk with an unusual gift — a massive glowing rabbit sculpture set inside a pond. Dubbed “Bunny Lights,” the site-specific artwork was a light installation built from recycled 3D-printed polycarbonate tubes, a series of stainless steel discs and multicolored LED lights that flicker on at night. Created to symbolize “the continuity of existence,” the artwork was designed in the likeness of the dune rabbit, an animal that has long been native to the region. As a master of experiential art, Titia Ex is known for her installations that often change depending on how they’re viewed. Her unusual art pieces are typically placed in everyday environments, such as in plazas or outside of houses and office buildings. Following this pattern, Bunny Lights was placed at a busy corner intersection in a pond near a residential development. Related: Recycled plastic art installation asserts that water is a human right in D.C. Weighing 1,100 kilograms (2,425 pounds) with a head that measures 5 meters (about 16 feet) in height, the gigantic sculpture added whimsy to an otherwise unremarkable site. The rabbit shape was made from stainless steel discs supported by a 3D-printed “vertebrae” of recycled polycarbonate with embedded LED lights. The lights automatically switch on at nightfall and change the color of the tubes from a dull gray to a rich rainbow of colors, from blue and green to yellow and red. The artwork also plays back recordings of waves taken at various locations, including the sea nearby. “With its mystery, history, nature and symbolism, the native rabbit is the perfect bearer for the centuries-long intertwining of man and beast in Heemskerk in the Netherlands,” the artist explained. “She symbolizes the continuity of existence. It is a landmark in the scenery and a beacon of the existence of man and animal in its wetlands .” + Titia Ex Images via Titia Ex

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Glowing rabbit made of 3D-printed polycarbonate pops up in a Dutch pond

A fairytale-like school lab for math and sciences takes over a tiny London "turret"

November 25, 2019 by  
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Proving that inspiring design can be achieved in small spaces and on a budget, British architecture firm Hayhurst & Co recently transformed an existing two-story “turret” on top of a Queen Anne-style primary school in London into an award-winning learning space for children. Awarded with a RIBA Regional Award, the new Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) Activity Lab is a welcome addition to the Torriano Primary School that provides flexible, hands-on learning opportunities for its 420 students. The new, dynamic lab emphasizes creativity and playfulness from its shiny, whimsical, shingled roof to its cathedral-like interior framed with curved laminated plywood portals. Created in collaboration with the teachers, students and Artist in Residence Jack Cornell, the Torriano Primary School STEAM Activity Lab was made possible thanks to Section 106 funding by Camden Council. To make the most of a limited budget, the architects turned their eyes to reuse and low-technology solutions, such as the stack effect to promote natural ventilation and a large skylight that also lets in plenty of natural light. A new thermal envelope was also created for the extension to meet Camden Council’s sustainability criteria. Related: BIG’s LEED Gold-seeking school in Arlington features a cascade of green terraces The adaptable interior is designed for flexible use and carrying out practical experiments. The framework of laminated plywood portals doubles as a learning apparatus; students can drape over, attach to or project onto the portals using floor projection IT equipment. The space also includes fold-down demonstration desks, a black-out area for light-based experiments and a mezzanine level. In the rear of the lab, a large, timber-framed, glazed door opens up to a small, south-facing roof terrace with an external living wall and cactus planter. There, students can also get a glimpse of the extension’s eye-catching roof dressed in mirror-polished, stainless steel shingle tiles that reference the clay tiles and lead-clad dormers of the existing building. + Hayhurst & Co Photography by Kilian O’Sullivan via Hayhurst & Co

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A fairytale-like school lab for math and sciences takes over a tiny London "turret"

These adaptive reuse hotel suites in Amsterdam are built inside old bridge houses

November 25, 2019 by  
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What were once 28 unused canal-side bridge houses are now a series of hotel suites reused by Dutch architecture firm Space&Matter for the SWEETS hotel. The hotel concept is that of adaptive reuse , essentially reusing an old building for something that it originally was not used for. More importantly, this approach gives new life to existing structures rather than deploying the extensive resources needed for new construction. Originally built spanning a time frame between 1673 and 2009, the old structures were used for the city’s bridge keepers, those who were responsible for the opening and closing of the bridges as boats and water traffic came through. In modern times, where the bridges are now controlled electronically, the houses eventually became vacant and unused. Related: Studio Puisto transforms an old bank into a modern hostel in Finland To avoid the structures falling into dangerous disrepair, the architects gave new life to the buildings. Even better, the hotel suites continue to respect the early architecture by each representing the history of the specific building through different architectural styles. Interiors of each house distinctly match the exterior in terms of style and architectural period. The suites became, in essence, tiny homes, marked by a distinctive minimal footprint with some floors originally as small as 21 square feet in size. The designers were forced into unique creativity, accomplishing tasks such as transforming small structures with just a few square feet of floor space into two-person, multilevel suites with a bathroom, a double bed, a seating area and a pantry. As of 2018, 11 of the homes were available to book, with the 17 remaining structures set to be remodeled in the coming years. Because the suites are connected through the canals, as the original bridge houses were, the concept is new to both visitors and locals alike. The project is an ode to the industrial and cultural heritage of Amsterdam and brings to light the importance of water to the area. The suites, spread all throughout the city, are a love letter to Amsterdam architecture, from Amsterdam School to Modernism. + SWEETS hotel + Space&Matter Via Dezeen Photography by Mirjam Bleeker and Lotte Holterman via SWEETS hotel

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These adaptive reuse hotel suites in Amsterdam are built inside old bridge houses

Artist converts old city bus into public swimming pool

September 12, 2019 by  
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As the the last vestiges of summer are upon us, the residents of one French region can still squeeze out a little summer fun thanks to French artist Benedetto Bufalino . The artist, who is known for converting old automobiles into fun and functional objects, has recently presented the northern French region of Artois with a new public swimming pool , converted out of an old bus. Accommodating up to ten swimmers at a time, The Bus Pool offers locals a respite from late summer heat. The installation is part of a local program, “operation odyssey”, which hosts various events throughout the summer to attract visitors to the area of the Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin, an UNESCO World Heritage site . The pool was unveiled in late August and will be installed in three local towns until it finds a permanent home. Related: This 18th-century London townhouse hides a swimming pool under a glass floor Adding to his portfolio of transforming discarded vehicles into something fun and useful, the artist salvaged an old Tadeo model bus from the local transport graveyard. Once he completely gutted the interior seats and flooring, the next step was removing an entire side panel. Tipping it over onto its side, he then retrofitted the interior body of the bus with a custom shell so that it would be able to hold water. The finished product is a colorful swimming pool that measures almost 30 feet long and almost 8 feet wide. The pool holds up to 10 swimmers at a time and even boats a lifeguard station at one end. Water temps are kept at around 82 degrees at the swimming pool . The Bus Pool is the latest addition to Bufalino’s long portfolio of public art installations. In 2016, the French artist turned an old cement truck into a giant disco ball . + Benedetto Bufalino Via Designboom Drone photography by Romain Hayem

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Artist installs nature-inspired tiny house made out of recycled glass and plastic in Times Square

May 21, 2019 by  
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Brooklyn-based artist Fernando Mastrangelo has combined his passion for art and sustainability into one gorgeously green tiny home . The artist, who is known for using unique materials in his work, has just unveiled Tiny Home, a “recycled tiny house sculpture” made out of recycled plastic and glass. The 175-square foot home, which comes complete with a garden-filled courtyard, is currently open to the public in New York’s Times Square. According to Mastrangelo, the design for the 175-square-foot home was inspired by nature and climate change. Part of the ongoing NYCxDESIGN event, the tiny home is an interactive space that the artist hopes will demonstrate to visitors how eco-minded architecture is fundamental in creating a better world with less waste. Related: 8 tiny homes built tough for off-grid living The unique tiny home is made out of a variety of reclaimed materials. The ombre effect on the exterior, which gives off the illusion of a mountain range, was made out of recycled plastic . On the interior, reclaimed glass fragments were used on the walls and ceiling using the artist’s signature cement casting technique. Further into the space, a blue wall with large circular cutout leads to a soothing courtyard with a lush garden (designed by  Brook Landscape ) that wraps around the exterior, highlighting the strong connection between architecture and mother nature. Mastrangelo explains that as an artist, he feels the need to not only use eco-friendly materials to expand his own artwork, but as a way of embracing a new model of creation, “as spaces begin to be experienced more and more virtually, the boundaries of our imaginations — as architects and designers — are no longer limited to what we can physically build,” he explains “that’s where tiny house comes in; a space where the future of design can be experienced in real life.” The Tiny Home will be on display and open to the public at Time Square until May 22. + Fernando Mastrangelo Via Designboom Images via Fernando Mastrangelo Studio

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Artist installs nature-inspired tiny house made out of recycled glass and plastic in Times Square

Meet ‘Blade’, the world’s first 3D-printed hypercar

May 21, 2019 by  
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At first glance, any motorhead would be head over heels for Blade — a sleek sportscar with shimmery deep magenta facade. The aerodynamicity of the car is obvious from its low, curved volume. Yet, this isn’t just any supercar that has just hit the market. Created by San Francisco-based startup  Divergent Microfactories,  Blade’s chassis was entirely 3-D printed. 3D printing is already revolutionizing the manufacturing process around the world. Printing in 3D makes products such as furniture, jewelry, machinery and even cars, more lightweight, but without sacrificing durability. Not only does 3D printing offer a new, faster and more reliable way of manufacturing, but it is also more affordable and sustainable. Related: World’s first mass-producible 3D-printed electric car will cost under $10K Within the automotive industry, sustainability is an aspect that, according to Divergent founder and CEO, Kevin Czinger, can no longer be ignored. “We have got to rethink how we manufacture, because — when we go from 2 billion cars today to 6 billion cars in a couple of decades — if we don’t do that, we’re going to destroy the planet,” Czinger expains. The startup has been working on the Blade design for years. The car’s chassis is a 3D printed aluminum “node” joint, which is made up of carbon fiber tubes that plug into the nodes to form a strong and lightweight frame for the car, weighs just 1,400 pounds. According to the company, the 3D manufacturing process reduces the weight of the chassis by as much as 90 percent when compared to conventional vehicles. The Blade features a 700HP engine capable of running on both compressed natural gas (CNG) and gas. As for performance, its light weight enables the supercar to accelerate to 0-60 m.p.h in 2.2 seconds. But, in case you’re itchin’ to get the metal to the pedal in this sweet ride, you’ll have to wait. The company has only manufactured a few models, but hopes to start working with boutique manufacturers soon to start producing more. + Divergent 3D Images via Divergent 3D

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Meet ‘Blade’, the world’s first 3D-printed hypercar

Derelict building is wrapped in tin foil to protest lack of affordable housing in Warsaw

February 6, 2019 by  
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Polish-born artist Piotr Janowski has become well-known for turning buildings and even entire locomotives into shimmery  art installations by covering them in thin layers of tin foil. Now, the artist is back with Zabkowska 9, Take off —  a building in the heart of Warsaw that has been sitting empty and in decay for years. By wrapping the large townhouse in tin foil, the artist hopes to call attention to Warsaw’s lack of affordable housing, despite the city’s high number of empty buildings. Janowski’s latest canvas this time around is a derelict 1870 tenement building, which has survived two wold wars, located in Warsaw’s Praga-Pó?noc district. Over the years, the area has become known for its crime and drug scene, but is being rediscovered as of late. Comparing it to Brooklyn before gentrification, Janowski said he is seeking to bring attention to the building and its potential to help the city with its lack of affordable housing . Related: Artist wraps vintage steam locomotive in 39,000 square feet of aluminum foil The artist explained that he hopes this particular work will help the city prepare a future urban design that will benefit those in need while retaining the architectural history of the neighborhoods. “I believe that my aluminum installation will, for a moment, turn into a symbolic silver bridge, which will combine the dreams of the pre-war past and then the dramatic years of the city’s inhabitants during the occupation with the contemporary positive changes that are taking place so definitely in this fascinating Warsaw district,” Janowski said. “I think that this is an ideal and unique time to adapt one of the abandoned buildings for this project and symbolically make its destroyed beauty reborn.” Working with a local homeless man, Wies?aw Go??b, who lives in the building, the artist began the art installation by covering the facade in more than 600 square meters of tin foil. Using a lift, he often spent days on end painstakingly covering the building’s wooden, wood, metal and stone facade. With help from Wies?aw, his wife and about 15 young volunteers, he was able to finish the incredible art piece in about 10 days. + Piotr Janowski Images via Piotr Janowski

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Derelict building is wrapped in tin foil to protest lack of affordable housing in Warsaw

Ryuji Kajino converts an 80-year-old barn into a gorgeous atelier

June 12, 2018 by  
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Architect Ryuji Kajino from Malubishi Architects has just unveiled the Tiny Atelier — a one-room work studio crafted with the remnants of an 80-year-old timber barn that previously stood on the same site. The minimalist work space, which was created for a designer who makes accessories from dried flowers, was built with timber, old beams and roof tiles repurposed from the existing barn. Located in Kurashiki, Japan, the work space was built for a designer who lives on a hilltop lot that overlooks the Seto Inland Sea in the distance. A covered porch leads from her home to the new studio, which is surrounded by greenery. In fact, the artist grows the flowers for her accessories in the onsite garden. Related: The Cornelia tiny house is a peaceful writer’s studio built with reclaimed wood The architect wanted to retain as many of the materials from the old barn as possible. The structure includes a new pitched roof topped with tiles from the existing barn. Inside, exposed log beams on the timber-lined ceiling pay homage to the former building. Vertical wooden boards  clad the petite studio, except for the front door, which has a diagonal pattern and custom-made chestnut handle. Large windows provide an abundance of natural light as well as beautiful views of the valley below. The room’s biggest window sits in a timber frame constructed with both old and new wooden pillars, again marking the transition from past to present. The office design embraces minimalism with sparse furniture and a wraparound white shelf built high up on the wall to provide space for drying flowers. According to the architect, re-using the barn’s old materials enabled him to create the atelier space as a nod to the local history. “Utilizing the materials that can be used by existing barns, we inherited the history that this site had been walking on,” explained Kajino, “but also aimed at a new architecture mixed old and new materials as a future architectural building.” + Ryuji Kajino Via Dezeen Images via Ryuji Kajino

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Ryuji Kajino converts an 80-year-old barn into a gorgeous atelier

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