With California Design Den bedding your conscience can rest easy

January 27, 2022 by  
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In our ever-consuming world, sometimes we fail to pause and evaluate the impact of everyday necessities like linens. But textiles are a massive contributor to landfill  waste  and water pollution, so it’s important to consider the bedding you buy.  Proudly Californian brand California Design Den produces a line of bedding that will allow you (and your conscience) to sleep well at night. The lineup of sheets, duvets, towels, mattress covers, blankets and more is developed with sustainability in mind. Related: Modern Dane offers sustainable bedding for peace of mind while you sleep Sheet sets and individual flat or fitted sheets are made from non-toxic and chemical-free  natural materials  such as cotton and bamboo. To ensure a healthy and safe product, materials are independently tested to verify Standard 100 Oeko-Tex certification. This certification means they are free of over 300 commonly-found chemicals. The organic cotton is also GOTS certified. Since the bedding uses all-natural materials, they are even biodegradable at the end of their usable life. However, the goal is to keep them out of landfills as long as possible with a durable, quality design. Each product is crafted in a green-certified facility in India by experienced artisans.  The bedding is designed at the headquarters in California, a state widely known for its dedication to the  environment . The items are then produced in India and packaged in zero-plastic, paper-based boxes for shipment. The plant-based product and packaging materials mean California Design Den bedding doesn’t contribute to water pollution. “At California Design Den, ensuring our brand is sustainable and eco-friendly is our main priority,” said Deepak Mehrotra, Founder of California Design Den. “From production to packaging, we always want to ensure that what we’re putting out into the world is doing more good than harm. This is why we use natural fibers to produce our bedding, rather than microfiber which is known to cause  pollution . Our non-toxic and chemical-free biodegradable bedding is sourced from the highest-quality, earth-grown materials and crafted by skilled artisans in our certified green facility. Our packaging is also biodegradable and contains zero plastics to help prevent polluted waterways and oceans.” + California Design Den Images via California Design Den

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Energy efficient bamboo device in Vietnam is a cooling system

January 20, 2022 by  
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AREP, a multidisciplinary architecture agency, created a cooling system prototype based on the history, culture and original designs used by ancient civilizations. Called an adiabatic urban cooling system, the idea dates back centuries, yet is still perhaps the most natural solution for the challenges of cooling modern Vietnamese cities facing regular heat waves. The adiabatic urban cooling system relies on the copious amounts of water throughout Hanoi. At a local level, the system works to naturally cool the air through an evaporation process. It’s energy-efficient since there’s no energy required to implement the adiabatic principle.  Related: LEGO to build its first carbon neutral factory in Vietnam   It’s also a frugal solution to cool the cities and public areas without a need for energy production or the use of polluting refrigerants like those in air conditioning units. All that’s needed is fresh water and hot air — two things Vietnam has in natural abundance. The cultural relevance of the adiabatic technique goes beyond the system itself. It has a unique update that supports local artisans and incorporates another resource Vietnam has an abundance of — bamboo .  In addition to agriculture and fishing, Vietnam supports a bustling arts and crafts industry. Villages scattered throughout the region have developed specialization in bamboo, pottery, textile and even recycled beer glass techniques. For AREP’s prototype, the team met and worked with local families to develop a system that could be built by locals.  They initially experimented with glass, but found glass to be fragile and unsafe. In the end, they turned to bamboo for the main structure. The marriage of AREP’s modern take on an ancient process with traditional handicrafts in the region became a viable, low-tech and energy-efficient solution for cooling down the city’s outdoor spaces.  + AREP Images via AREP Vietnam

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Energy efficient bamboo device in Vietnam is a cooling system

Bamboo Pavilion brings people together with natural design

October 27, 2021 by  
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Lin Architecture has created a structure that puts humanity, social life and interaction at the core. Bamboo Pavilion is a beautiful outdoor structure that invites people to socialize. Located on the beautiful island of Chongming, the pavilion started as a social experiment. Through this project, the designers sought to prove that a beautiful structure can promote socialization. Bamboo Pavilion’s main goal was to activate rural field public spaces. The project attracted designers and students from far and wide in an attempt to build something that would attract people and look magnificent while remaining sustainable. Bamboo is one of the strongest construction materials, and the natural material doesn’t contaminate the local environment. Related: This Brazilian home is made of rammed earth and bamboo The pavilion stands out in both size and design. It is attractive both day and night. During the day, the white bamboo structure can be seen from a distance thanks to its reflective nature. At night, the structure shines with glowing lights to make it the center of attention for the entire island. The designers explained, “The activation of rural field public space has always been an important part of rural construction projects.” In other words, the project helps activate public space and allows people to meet and interact. “Interactions between family members or strangers are realized by the space enticing people to break boundaries. People spend their time resting, talking, and transiting around this installation,” LIN architecture said in a press statement. As a busy destination, Chongming sees hundreds of tourists each weekend. Visitors come from Shanghai and surrounding cities to enjoy the rural life. Bamboo Pavilion provides a common area where travelers can connect and share personal experiences. This project was carried out by a team of designers and students representing Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of London . Some of the participants’ previous works have been featured in the 2020 Beijing International Design Week, 2018 Milan Design Week Oriental Exhibition, 2018 Venice Biennale, and 2019 Barcelona Design Week. + LIN Images via Sunkai LIU and Lin Architecture

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Mexico City oasis features terrace gardens on every floor

August 25, 2021 by  
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In a city otherwise characterized by dense populations, high altitudes and metropolitan buildings, Chiapas 168 Building represents a refreshing respite from the hustle and bustle. Located in the Roma district of Mexico City,  Mexico’s  largest and most populous city, this home has an exceptionally tropical feel to it thanks to bamboo wood materials and a grouping of terrace gardens on each level. The Mexico City oasis comes from the minds at Vertebral, a local architecture and  landscaping  studio that highlights designs to bring forested ambiance into the city. Rather than concentrating on the buildings themselves with landscaping as an afterthought, the company says they design gardens and build around them. Related: Aztec-inspired eco home sits lightly on the land in Mexico Chiapas 168 is made up of four residential apartments positioned adjacent to an ancient jacaranda tree, a subtropical plant native to south-central South America and brought to Mexico at the beginning of the 20th century. The building features steel planters that run along the balconies, disappearing between purple and jasmine flowers. The architects considered native organisms while designing the layout of the roof and terrace gardens to increase  biodiversity  within the city environment. The exterior of the building uses unpolished concrete and dark stained wood that is translated into the interior, invoking the design’s overall theme of integrating nature into the urban landscape. A core system of vertical circulations helps divide the apartment building’s communal areas from the private residences, connected by a stairwell made of bright pine wood. Unlike other apartment buildings where the stairwells are associated with dark, musty environments, the stairwell here is bathed in bright  natural light . A curtain of  bamboo  to the south protects the back garden from view while also filtering light and wind. Inside, wooden floor-to-ceiling shelving and paneled walls help create privacy without jeopardizing the apartment’s open planned layout in the communal area, complete with a kitchen, dining room and living room.   + Vertebral Via ArchDaily Images courtesy of Onnis Luke

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A green roof makes Lazy House a sustainable beauty

August 9, 2021 by  
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Lazy House’s design emphasizes the relationship between house, garden and city. Each element flows together in this beautiful, harmonious home. Part of a new urban area in the Czech Republic , Lazy House is located above the Zlín valley on a slope that connects to the Lazy residential district. With its lower floor base sunk into the slope, the house has a square floor plan with a rotated layout. The house sits facing the north and the valley below to create gorgeous views. Related: 4 green-roofed volumes combine to form one eco-friendly home The floor plan is divided into two separate guest sections with separate access. There’s also room for a wine cellar and a swimming pool with a grotto. A “social zone” area houses the dining room, living room and kitchen. This is in the central part of the home. The master suite area has a walk-in closet and a “secret” bathroom door. Meanwhile, the two smaller bedrooms share a bathroom. The western part of the house has a guest apartment with a separate entrance, terrace and garden. The unique layout helps eliminate the need for hallways and corridors so that the space is used for living and not for connecting areas. Lazy House is constructed out of reinforced concrete with high-performance thermal insulation . Adapted from the original brick design, the wine cellar features interior steel waxed shelves and a roof covered with Irish moss. The green roof over the main portion of the home creates the look of an infinity meadow that blends into the landscape. The house showcases an open concept that creates stunning panoramic views of the surrounding city. Vegetation around the house creates privacy without destroying this beautiful view. Tall grasses and bamboo plants form a green “fence” of sorts around the property. The design aims to be seamless, streamlined and flowing, like nature itself. Even the garden is made to look like a smooth, natural green carpet. + Petr Janda Photography by BoysPlayNice

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Cloudy Courtyard is crystal clear in its historical inspiration

July 21, 2021 by  
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The best architecture tells a story. It honors tradition and culture. It speaks to history. Although it doesn’t require onlookers to understand the heritage behind the design, it does require the architect to have a deep understanding of the traditional elements that define the style. Such is the case with Cloudy Courtyard, a residence and hotel in Shiguan Xiang, Anqing Yuexi, Anhui. Architectural firm One Take Architects recently completed the project, which began with an idea and developed through the study and replication of “traditional houses in west Anhui.” The result is a series of spaces that are intertwined and connected by courtyards . Inside and out, these spaces connect to nature, not only with the use of varying colors and textures but with focused and generalized views of the surrounding area. Cloudy Courtyard is located at the meeting point between Anhui, Jiangxi and Hubei at the end of a rural road in a town called Yuexi, a place well-acclaimed for its architectural richness. Related: Solar Trees Marketplace honors nature, technology and Chinese culture “Yuexi has been on the main road of Hakka immigrants since ancient times. In the early Ming Dynasty, a large number of immigrants from the Poyang Lake Basin in northern Jiangxi moved from Waxieba to Anqing Mansion and elsewhere. And immigration factors made Anqing a subculture area of Jiangxi culture,” the architects explained of the significance and design influence of the location. The rural setting has a backdrop of mountains that further inspired the free-flowing but organized design elements, with an emphasis of framing the vast, countryside and mountainous views from inside the house and in the tranquil inner courtyard. The property sits at a high elevation, contributing to the use of natural ventilation as a result of carefully planned patios and shade-providing plants . The blueprint of the project consists of multiple residences with continuous patios and courtyards. The stepped gable roofline borrows elements from the Ma Tau Wall in Huizhou architecture. Using natural materials from the land around them, the owner and designers sourced pebbles from the mountain stream for use at the base of the wall. They also contracted the cutting down of bamboo from the mountain forest nearby to build the fence. Throughout the project, the architects relied on stone, sand, steel, cement and gravel to replicate the contrasting drama and peace of nature with the goal to make “the architecture symbiotic with the land instead of just building on the land.” + One Take Architects Photography by Wang Shilu (Ranshi Studio) and Nan Xueqian via One Take Architects

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New green school in Kibera slum replaces original started by concerned Kenyan mothers

September 28, 2017 by  
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A group of concerned mothers started the Anwa primary school in Kibera, Kenya , where extremely disadvantaged children previously lacked access to education. Over time, the school has grown in attendance and needed a new facility that would replace the original 2-story ramshackle building. Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI) designed the new main building in close collaboration with the school community as a model for sustainable, context-based design. The architects used sustainably-sourced and certified timber framing, wattle and daub mud-walls on the ground floor and mabati (steel) sheeting on the first floor. This references traditional Kibera construction techniques while reflecting a connection with the local identity. Related: Mobile school “walking classrooms” are helping change lives in Kenya KDI carpentry trainees built the doors and windows using bamboo and timber. All materials used were locally-sourced, while the techniques and building methods were transferable to the local community. The next phase in the project will focus on creating a suitable access to the upper storey and a sustainable landscape for the school grounds. The design firm issued a statement: “At KDI, we co-design and build what we call Productive Public Spaces (PPS) – formerly underutilized, unsafe or polluted sites that are transformed into active, attractive community hubs.” + Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI)

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Elegant bamboo bridge adds unexpected beauty to ancient Chinese town

April 21, 2017 by  
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Most bridges are boring pieces of infrastructure, but Chinese design firm Mimesis Architecture Studio breaks the mold with a hybrid bamboo bridge that adds sculptural beauty to China’s Jiangsu Province. Spanning Lake Taihu in Dingshu Town, the 100-meter-long Wuxi Harbor Bridge is a visual delight with its latticed bamboo structures that frame the road and reference the region’s ancient cultural heritage. Primarily known as the “China Clay Capital” for the rare purple clay found in the nearby mountains, Dingshu Town is also well known for its bamboo craftsmanship. The architects celebrate the bamboo craft with the design of the bridge, which was constructed with help from the local bamboo craftspeople. Built with a curved steel structure, the bridge is framed by large triangular frames made of latticed bamboo poles that were carbonized to improve durability. Related: Amazing transparent bridge seems to disappear into thin air in China’s “Avatar” mountains The geometric bamboo “nets” are lightweight and can be removed and easily replaced if damaged. The bamboo was also used as formwork for concrete , imparting a distinct texture to the deck handrails. “Based on the existing bridge structure, the deck and fence parts are designed,” wrote the architects. “The intertwining images of mountain, river, fog and wind fabricating the site are projected onto the form of the bridge.” + Mimesis Architecture Studio Via Dezeen Images by Jian Jiao, Xing Zheng, Shiliang Hu

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Rammed earth school in Vietnam blooms like a colorful jungle flower

March 20, 2017 by  
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The far reaches of northern Vietnam are beautiful but heartbreakingly poor. Children of the Hmong ethnic minority who live in the villages routinely suffer from lack of access to healthcare and education. Vietnamese architecture firm 1+1> 2 has provided a ray of hope for those in Lung Luong village in the remote Thai Nguyen Province with the construction of a beautiful new school made from local materials including rammed earth and bamboo. The school’s beautiful swooping and colorful form is an inspiration to the village and serves as a welcoming haven protected from the harsh elements. The Lung Luong elementary school is sited on a mountain peak and constructed to replace a poorly insulated structure that was piercingly cold in days of heavy rain and draught. Under the leadership of architect Hoang Thuc Hao, the villagers excavated part of the peak to create an even foundation. The excavated soil was recycled into rammed earth bricks used to build the school’s structure. The soil bricks’ thermal properties help maintain a temperate indoor climate year round. Locally sourced timber and bamboo were also used in construction and existing trees were protected during the building process. The elementary school is spread out across the mountaintop, covering an area of over 1,400 square meters. The orientation and placement of the buildings and the swooping colorful bamboo canopy above optimize natural lighting, ventilation, and sound insulation. The school comprises classrooms, playgrounds, gardens, multipurpose rooms, a medical room, library, kitchen, toilets, and dormitory. Related: Rammed earth house blends traditional materials with modern techniques in Vietnam’s last frontier “The goal of this project is to create a school with conveniences striving against the harsh nature,” write the architects. “The classrooms are compatible with the mountain, spaces between them are slots which makes everything appears like an architectural picture pasted on the terrain. The corridor connects all functional areas. The foundation of the buildings respects the natural terrain which means that they wind up and down as the mountain path.” + 1+1> 2 Via ArchDaily Images © Son Vu

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Giant glowing bamboo orbs create a magical hideaway in Taiwan

February 9, 2017 by  
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Bamboo weaving is an ancient and endangered craft but a visionary Taiwanese artist has revived the art with a modern, community-oriented project. Cheng-Tsung Feng , a designer who specializes in bamboo craft design and art, completed Beside, a public art installation featuring two giant and globular installations made from Taiwanese Moso bamboo. These sculptural pieces, installed in Taiwan’s Teng Yu-Hsien Music Culture Park in Qionglin Township, were created with the help of 60 local residents and are lit at night to glow like beautiful paper lanterns. The Beside public art installation comprises two bamboo spheres, the larger of which measures approximately 12.25 square meters in area and 4.3 meters in height, while the smaller measures one square meter and 1.35 meters in height. The sculptures are large enough for adults and children to enter and provide a beautiful space for relaxation day and night. Each steel-framed bamboo sphere was made using circle weaving and random weaving techniques. The porous, lace-like pattern with differently shaped and sized holes allows for views and airflow. Related: Artist Weaves Together Massive Basket-like Bamboo Tunnel for Australian Music Festival Feng designed and constructed the sculptures with help from the community . “If they can participate together, then there will be more feelings attached,” said Feng. The sixty locals who participated in the project had no prior experience with bamboo weaving, however, they were taught easy and simple “random weaving” techniques in as little as a couple hours. “This project enables an opportunity for the residents to be in contact with the endangered traditional weaving culture, which is fading away from our daily life,” wrote the artist. “By means of the co-production with the residents, the traditional craft art is no longer a professional skill, but an approachable wisdom for ordinary people.” + Cheng-Tsung Feng Images by LIN, CI-XIA

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