Provocative timber horn explores the hypnotic pull of the unknown

July 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Digital fabrication and traditional woodworking fuse together in Y, a modern sculpture with a provocative and pixelated appearance. A team of international architects and carpenters comprising &’ [Emmi Keskisarja & Janne Teräsvirta & Company Architects] collaborated with the Finnish National Museum to create the funnel-shaped art piece in Helsinki’s Seurasaari open-air museum. The intriguing artwork is built from horizontal prefabricated cross-laminated timber elements interlocked by 568 timber wedges. The temporary Y was built in the historical Niemelä Tenant Farm courtyard , creating a new social space on museum grounds. “Y is an equation of temporality, time and provocative use of wood in the museum milieu,” wrote the architects. “As Y is the mathematical symbol for the unknown, the installation Y points to the future and the possible outcomes of Nordic built heritage. In Niemelä, Y is a variable within the parameter of time.” The funnels-shaped sculpture is large enough to climb into and explore like a cave, and its hypnotic effect encourages meditative practice. Related: Palestinian architects give the ancient stone vault a modern twist in Jericho Architecturally, the most interesting aspect of Y is its combination of digital fabrication with traditional woodworking . The project’s carpenters used traditional handicraft methods to help develop the project, while the architects brought their set of digital design and production tools to the table. The result is a sculpture that functions like a giant wooden joint that’s built from prefabricated cross-laminated timber elements. The use of timber gives the artwork a feeling of familiarity, however the pixelated appearance adds a touch of the futuristic and unknown. + &’ [Emmi Keskisarja & Janne Teräsvirta & Company Architects] Images by SWANG

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Provocative timber horn explores the hypnotic pull of the unknown

PlasticWaste Labyrinth is a stunning look inside our plastic waste problem

July 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

Much of our trash is hidden from our daily lives, which is why design collective Luzinterruptus is shining the light on wastefulness in their latest environmental art installations. Located at the heart of Madrid’s popular tourist attraction Plaza Mayor, PlasticWaste Labyrinth is a massive maze constructed from the thousands of plastic bottles that had been consumed in and around the plaza in the past month. The Madrid City Council commissioned the installation, built in June for the fourth Centennial Celebration of Plaza Mayor within the “Four Seasons” city art program. The PlasticWaste Labyrinth design developed out of Luzinterruptus’ desire to create a large-scale interactive installation befitting the historical plaza. The giant plastic bottle maze is intentionally claustrophobic so as to make the public feel disoriented while exploring the intricate path and narrow passages flanked with three-meter-tall walls. Wrapped around the King Philip III statue, the 300-square-meter maze features corridors measuring 170 meters in length and takes three minutes to pace. “The idea was to graphically visualize the amount of plastic we generate in our daily lives which we don’t often recycle accordingly,” said Luzinterruptus. “As a consequence, all this plastic is dumped in nature and ends up floating in the ocean, forming huge plastic islands that are destroying the marine ecosystem and will not ever decompose. Bearing all this in mind, we thought it was paramount that the piece didn’t look friendly.” Related: Glowing circle made from thousands of recycled notebooks celebrate Bilbao’s book festival Around 15,000 plastic bottles, inserted with lights and placed in bags, were used for the walls of the PlasticWaste Labyrinth. The plastic bottles were collected from businesses surrounding the square as well as from local residents and visitors who could dispose of their plastic waste in two giant containers placed in the square. The maze was open day and night for four days. + Luzinterruptus Photography: Lola Martínez © 2017

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PlasticWaste Labyrinth is a stunning look inside our plastic waste problem

Rotating indoor garden grows up to 100 herbs and vegetables every month

July 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Growing your own home garden has never been easier or more beautiful. The innovative Ogarden is a spherical indoor garden with a rotating circular wheel that provides an optimal growing environment for leafy vegetable and herbs. The compact, clutter-free home gardening system allows virtually anyone to grow up to 100 herbs and vegetables a month, with very little maintenance. Ogarden is a soundless, odorless growing system that was designed for any home environment and it comes with its own storage space inside the unit, making it an attractive garden space with little-to-no clutter. The system comes with a small bag of organic soil , and owners can choose from a catalogue of seedlings including lettuces, basil, brocolette, onions, cabbage, chives, etc. The first step is to plant the seeds in the soil provided and place under the neon lamp in the storage shelf. When the seedlings are ready, they should be transplanted into the growing tubes and placed in the individual slots inside the wheel. Related: Chic, minimalist hydroponic garden makes growing your own veggies a snap Once the plants are in place, the wheel slowly begins to rotate around a central lamp. A programmable bulb inside the lamp turns on and off depending on the plants’ cycles, providing consistent light to each plant. The greenery should be watered once to twice a week and – voilà – a variety of organic, home-grown veggies right at your fingertips. + Ogarden Via Uncrate Images via Ogarden  

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Rotating indoor garden grows up to 100 herbs and vegetables every month

46 Republicans join Democrats to protect climate change language

July 14, 2017 by  
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Bipartisanship feels increasingly rare in the United States today, but a recent House of Representatives vote shows it isn’t dead yet. 46 Republicans aligned with Democrats on a vote over language about climate change in defense policy legislation , tipping the vote against an amendment that would have removed the language. It’s a small step, but one advocates hope points to shifting opinions on climate change among Republicans. Representative Scott Perry, a Republican of Pennsylvania, put forward an amendment that would have stripped defense policy legislation of language saying climate change is a direct threat to national security . The legislation in question also requires new analysis from the Department of Defense on climate change’s potential impact on the military . Perry’s amendment would have taken out the language calling for the analysis. Related: Cities rebel against Trump by posting climate data his EPA took down But almost 50 Republicans didn’t agree. The final vote was 185 to 234 . Of the Democrats who voted, all voted against the amendment. 14 representatives, a mixture of Republicans and Democrats, did not vote. During floor debate Perry, who is an Army veteran, said climate change shouldn’t be a priority for military commanders facing threats like North Korea or Islamist extremism, saying, “Literally litanies of other federal agencies deal with environmental issues including climate change.” He also said lawmakers shouldn’t decide the commanders’ priorities. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican of Florida, said policymakers should be “clear-eyed” about climate change. She pointed to sea level rise as a potential threat for military installations. And Elise Stefanik, a Republican of New York, said “we would be remiss in our efforts to protect our national security” by not considering climate change’s impact on the military. Republicans from both red and blue states opposed Perry’s legislation, including representatives from Louisiana, Ohio, Virginia, Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana. Via Axios Images via Phil Roeder on Flickr and Molly Adams on Flickr

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46 Republicans join Democrats to protect climate change language

This shipping container hotel is so cool you’ll forget its a shipping container

July 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Although building with shipping containers isn’t as avant-garde as it used to be, there are still some stunning designs that make us weep with joy. Built by Australian firm, Contained , this 20-foot shipping container has been converted into an ultra-sophisticated hotel room that can be easily folded up and shipped virtually anywhere in the world. Contained specializes in repurposing old shipping containers into sophisticated lodgings that, on top of being breathtakingly gorgeous, are also portable. Designed with transportation in mind, the structures are strategically outfitted to easily set up and unfold. The individual structures can be shipped virtually anywhere in the world. Related: This amazing shipping container hotel can pop up anywhere in the world Each unit is equipped with a queen-sized bed, a living room with a sink and bar area, and a bathroom. For outdoor space, guests can enjoy a spacious deck shaded by a fold-out awning. Large glass doors and an abundance of windows soak up daylight and the surrounding scenery. Although portability is a key concept in the renovation of the containers, the design of each individual unit is simply astonishing. The sophisticated and modern interiors give no clue to each building’s former utilitarian background. According to Contained directors Anatoly Mezhov and Irene Polo, their business goal is to create an option for people who’d like to travel in a more sustainable way , but without sacrificing comfort. “There are so many beautiful places to go visit. That’s how this idea was born. Let’s create a portable hotel room that’s beautiful, sustainable, and comfortable for short-term accommodation and activate some of these spaces.” Mezhov says. The company has installed their structures in numerous locations including a Victoria winery, Sydney Harbor, and a wilderness retreat in Queensland. + Contained Via Dwell Photography by Daniel John Bilsborough

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This shipping container hotel is so cool you’ll forget its a shipping container

Recycled plastic paving company Platio installs first 3 solar systems

July 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

We’re so excited to announce that the Hungarian startup Platio , which designed a modular energy-harvesting paving system made with recycled plastic , has now installed their first three systems. Within a span of just two months, they developed projects in Hungary, Sweden, and Kazakhstan. And it’s not just sidewalks that now boast the solar pavers, but pontoons providing energy for ships, and benches where passerby can charge their smartphones. Platio is helping to shape the future of cities with their solar paving systems. One creative use of their technology can be found in Budapest , Hungary, at Városháza Park, where their solar system stretches across a wooden bench. The smart bench allows park-goers to power their phones or tablets with clean energy , using either a USB cord or QI wireless charging. Local design studio Hello Wood installed the park’s wavy wooden benches. Related: New recycled plastic sidewalk harvests energy from the sun Platio’s very first permanent installation was indeed constructed on a sidewalk, in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, in front of a mall in the new Green Quarter. Near the shopping entrance, around 861 square feet of the sidewalk is covered with Platio paving, offering a total peak output of 11.7 watts. The electricity will help power the mall. Strong, anti-slip glass tiles top the recycled plastic solar paving system. Two specialists were able to put together the mall installation in just a few days thanks to the modular design and a built-in electrical network. And it’s not just urban infrastructure that can benefit from Platio’s technology. The company partnered with engineering firm SF Marina to install the solar pavers on around 86 square feet of pontoons at SF Marina’s Swedish factory. The solar energy generated by the Platio systems will help power port facilities and ships. According to Platio, as recently as last year they only had a prototype of their technology, but they’ve now successfully installed it in the real word. The three Hungarian engineers who started Platio want to help make future cities sustainable and energy-independent . + Platio Images courtesy of Platio

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Recycled plastic paving company Platio installs first 3 solar systems

BIG hides an invisible museum beneath Denmarks sand dunes

July 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Don’t be fooled by these gentle sand dunes—hidden in the landscape is an “invisible museum.” Bjarke Ingels Group designed TIRPITZ, a recently opened museum embedded into Denmark’s protected Blåvand shorelines, also a historic war site. The TIRPITZ museum offers a unique experience within a building that skillfully camouflages into the dunes, providing a sharp contrast to its neighbor, a monolithic German WWII bunker . Developed by Varde Museums , TIRPITZ is a cultural complex comprising four exhibitions inside a renovated and expanded wartime bunker. The 2,800-square-meter “invisible museum” is mostly buried underground and looks nearly imperceptible from above until visitors draw close to the heavy bunker and see the walls cut into the dunes from all sides. An outdoor courtyard provides access to the four underground galleries—illuminated with a surprising abundance of natural light let in by 6-meter-tall glass panels—that connect to the historic bunker. “The architecture of the TIRPITZ is the antithesis to the WWII bunker,” said Bjarke Ingels , Founding Partner at BIG. “The heavy hermetic object is countered by the inviting lightness and openness of the new museum. The galleries are integrated into the dunes like an open oasis in the sand – a sharp contrast to the Nazi fortress’ concrete monolith. The surrounding heath-lined pathways cut into the dunes from all sides descending to meet in a central clearing, bringing daylight and air into the heart of the complex. The bunker remains the only landmark of a not so distant dark heritage that upon close inspection marks the entrance to a new cultural meeting place.” Related: Century-old WWI bunker is reborn as a contemporary alpine shelter Dutch agency Tinker Imagineers designed the exhibitions to showcase permanent and temporary themed experiences that adhere to a storyline, from the Hitler-related ‘Army of Concrete’ to the exhibition of amber in ‘Gold of the West Coast.’ The building is built mainly of concrete, steel, glass, and wood—all materials found in the existing structures and natural landscape. The groundbreaking museum is expected to attract around 100,000 visitors annually. + BIG Images by Mike Bink Photography, Laurian Ghinitoiu,  John Seymour, Rasmus Hjortshoj, Colin John Seymour, Rasmus Bendix

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BIG hides an invisible museum beneath Denmarks sand dunes

Give goods, find goods, and do good on National Thrift Shop Day

July 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

If you’re the type of shopper that lives for finding hidden gems in vintage stores, mark August 17th on your calendar. That’s when National Thrift Shop Day returns to encourage everyone to support their local thrift shops and score secondhand goods. New York City is taking this initiative a step further by bringing awareness to the day’s charitable component and reminding us why it would do a world of good if we went the thrift store route instead of buying brand new. Through its donateNYC program, the New York City Department of Sanitation helps New Yorkers “give goods, find goods, and do good” for their community – and they’re making it really easy for everyone to do their part. Read on for 10 great things you can find on Thrift Store Day – and where you can go to pick them up. Thrift stores have long been a place where anyone can hand off items that are no longer wanted or needed instead of throwing them in the trash. In this way, others who can’t afford these items at their original prices have a chance to own them at a lower price. Necessities like clothes, housewares, books, electronics and furniture are just some of the goods people can buy. Related: Sweden opens an entire mall full of reclaimed goods Oftentimes, these thrift shops are run by charitable organizations that use the money collected from purchases to fund initiatives that further help those in need. Goodwill , for example, backs “programs that provide education, skills training and career development that help people earn jobs in communities nationwide.” Not to mention, this practice of donating, upcyling, and buying secondhand goods reduces the amount of garbage that ends up in landfills, the energy and resources consumed by waste management, and the amount of money flying out of our pockets. It’s a win all around. If you’re not sure where to drop off your unneeded goods, donateNYC eliminates that hassle for you. A directory of participating shops and a map of your nearest drop-off locations can be found online, as well as through the free donateNYC app for Apple and Android . The program is part of NYC’s 0X30 initiative , which aims to send zero waste to landfills by 2030, and it’s an excellent resource on National Thrift Shop Day and every other day of the year. Below are some of the cool items you can find in thrift shops around NYC, courtesy of donateNYC. Vintage Clothing St. Luke’s Thrift Shop Council Thrift Shop Vintage Thrift Housing Works Goodwill The Salvation Army Handbags Housing Works Purses for Nurses Goodwill Vintage Thrift Bicycles Recycle-A-Bicycle Building Materials/Appliances Big Reuse Rebuilding Together NYC Salvage Store Habitat for Humanity NYC ReStore Electronics Lower East Side Ecology Center Jewelry CancerCare Arthritis Foundation Vintage Thrift Housing Works Hour Children Goodwill Textile Scraps FABSCRAP Furniture Refoundry Housing Works Habitat for Humanity NYC ReStore Big Reuse The Salvation Army Vintage Thrift Hour Children Housewares/furnishings St. Luke’s Thrift Shop Council Thrift Shop Vintage Thrift Housing Works Goodwill The Salvation Army Hour Children Habitat for Humanity NYC ReStore Books/Records Big Reuse Goodwill The Salvation Army Hour Children Housing Works Council Thrift Shop St. Luke’s Thrift Shop Cancer Care + donateNYC Images via Depositphotos and donateNYC

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Give goods, find goods, and do good on National Thrift Shop Day

Siemens and AES start new energy storage company to rival Tesla

July 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Tesla’s no longer the only big company in the energy storage game. Back in April, Mercedes-Benz started to deliver home energy storage units in Germany, and now technology giants Siemens and AES are creating a new energy storage company, Fluence . The venture could reach consumers in more than 160 countries. AES and Siemens intend to draw on their knowledge of the power industry to offer energy storage technology in Fluence. Although the new venture will operate independently of its parent companies, according to a press release, it will draw on technology both have developed, like the AES Advancion and Siemens Siestorage technologies. AES CEO Adrés Gluski said of the move, “This will accelerate the integration of renewables into the energy network of tomorrow.” Related: New on-demand energy system generates and stores power in one device In combination, the two companies have either deployed or been awarded 48 projects in 13 countries to install 463 megawatts of battery-based energy storage . AES has been deploying energy storage systems for 10 years, in seven countries. Siemens has been around for much longer. The company was founded in 1847 and boasts a sales presence in over 160 countries. Which means Fluence stands to do well, on a global level. According to the press release, “The company will empower customers around the world to better navigate the fragmented but rapidly growing energy storage sector and meet their pressing needs for scalable, flexible, and cost-competitive energy storage solutions.” And the energy storage market is growing at a steady pace. According to IHS Markit , the sector could expand from three gigawatts (GW) in installed capacity in 2016 to 28 GW just around six years later, in 2022. That’s enough power to run roughly 18.6 million households. The companies expect after regulatory approvals, the transaction will close later in 2017. + Fluence Via Siemens and AES Images via AES Energy Storage on Twitter and Siemens

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Siemens and AES start new energy storage company to rival Tesla

Amazing Hive comes alive with sights and sounds in Washington, D.C.

July 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Incredible sights and sounds have popped up at the National Building Museum in the heart of our nation’s capital. Thousands of giant paper tubes have been stacked together to construct soaring mountain-like structures in the Hive, an interactive sculpture created by Studio Gang Architects for the museum’s annual Summer Block Party. Read on to see the interior of the stunning installation and to hear the Hive come alive. Every year, the National Building Museum invites a different architecture firm to craft a large-scale, immersive installation for its Great Hall. Past projects included BIG’s concave Maze , Snarkitecture’s massive BEACH ball pit , and James Corner Field Operations’ cool ICEBERGS . Studio Gang Architects created the museum’s tallest installation yet that comprises 2,551 Sonotubes, wound paper tubes typically used to pour concrete. If laid end-to-end, the recyclable tubes would measure over a mile in length and have a combined weight of 72,961 pounds. A giant Hive has popped up in D.C.! Explore the National Building Museum's summer installation by Studio Gang Architects. It's made with #recyclable materials, interactive, and absolutely massive. #hivedc @nationalbuildingmuseum @studiogang #architecture #dc #washingtondc #ecofriendly ?: @landscapevoice A post shared by Inhabitat (@inhabitatdesign) on Jul 11, 2017 at 9:10am PDT To complement the National Building Museum’s neoclassical Great Hall, Studio Gang Architects used a silver shade for the tube exterior. The tube interior and the Hive floor were painted magenta, a color inspired by the pink used in the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. last January. Ninety different tube sizes were used to construct the three interconnected chambers and allow filtered light into the spaces to create beautiful patterns of light and shadow that change throughout the day. Related: ICEBERGS immerse visitors in a beautiful underwater world in Washington, D.C. “We’ve also incorporated a lot of sound elements in here,” Emma Filar, NBM’s Interim Director of Marketing & Communications told Inhabitat. “Jeanne Gang, the founding principal of Studio Gang, is really interested in the way that people move through spaces and how they interact with space here, so that’s why we have instruments inside. Sound travels in a really interesting way through these paper tubes; they both absorb sound and reflect it in different ways.” Visitors at the Hive are free to play with the installation’s many instruments, which range from hanging wind chimes constructed from a variety of materials including wrenches, CDs, and metal pipes. Some paper tubes are used as drums, while others are combined with other common building materials like pipes to create more complicated instruments. Round openings at the top of each chamber allow natural light into the chambers and frame views of the Great Hall’s ceilings and columns. The Hive also has a hands-on building area, where people can play with paper diskettes to build their own structures. The National Building Museum will host a full slate of programs that complement the installation, from concerts to late-night events with food. The Hive is open to the public July 6 through September 4, 2017. + Studio Gang Watermarked photos © Lucy Wang , non-watermarked photos © Tim Schenck

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Amazing Hive comes alive with sights and sounds in Washington, D.C.

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