Historic Amsterdam park gets new life with a funky climbing "blob"

August 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Design and engineering firm  Carve  breathed new life into one of Amsterdam’s oldest parks with a playful new blob-like  playground design. The eye-catching structure is a gigantic white and lilac abstract shape that just begs for children to climb aboard its weirdness and explore its many fun features. The firm was charged with creating a new playground area in the park’s existing basketball court, which is surrounded by an abundance of greenery. In addition to creating a fun play area for local children aged 0-6, the new structure also needed to be a vibrant meeting place for park goers. So the designers created an eye-catching “organically shaped sculpture that incorporates various play functions.’’ Related: Basurama transforms landfill trash into playgrounds in Taipei The unique structure is a large voluminous form whose curious shape invites children to explore the interior where they’ll find plenty of places to run, climb, slide, and swing. The large blob, which is painted a bright lilac on the interior, was designed with plenty of dynamic areas such as a web of climbing nets, a metal slide, and a tube swing hanging from one end. On the exterior, the structure has a mirrored wall on one side, which reflects a distorted view of the surrounding greenery. On the other side, kids will find a soccer goal painted on the wall, begging for a strong penalty shot. A sunken trampoline adjacent to the structure further encourages a fun, energetic environment around the park’s new landmark. + Carve Photography by Marleen Beek via Carve  

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Historic Amsterdam park gets new life with a funky climbing "blob"

Cameroon student nonprofit recycles plastic bottles into boats

August 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

Humanity has a plastic bottle addiction, purchasing one million a minute , and many bottles wind up not in recycling bins but in our oceans. Cameroon -based nonprofit Madiba & Nature is pioneering a creative use for all those polluting bottles: boats . They’re fabricating floating canoe-shaped crafts out of collected empties in an effort to prompt people to think differently about how they consume and dispose of plastic bottles. A group of students is transforming plastic trash into boats. They aim to promote a circular economy in Africa ; according to their website: “…we want to help change people’s attitudes and bad habits on the management of plastic waste that degrades sensitive ecosystems.” One Green Planet reports Cameroonian Essome Ismael invented the boats. Related: The world’s population buys one million plastic bottles every single minute Madiba & Nature volunteers have gathered to pick up thousands of plastic bottles near Cameroon’s largest city, Douala, to use those bottles for what they call ecological canoes. The boats could help not just the environment , but the local community as well. In a video, Ismael said there’s a great need for fishing boats in his area, and the plastic bottle boats could meet that need. Local fisherman Emmanuel Japa said at first they thought the plastic bottle boats were a joke, but it turns out the crafts are actually strong and seaworthy. Ismael also said plastic bottles clogging their waterways have led to flooding in the local area. The boats are just the beginning. Madiba & Nature’s website says in around a year of work, they’ve started a program for students and engineers to learn more about green business , and have developed an environmental awareness and education program. They’ve also helped develop a local waste management system and have supported other groups laboring to protect the environment. Their website also says they aim to research how to use recycled plastic in building or paving systems. + Madiba & Nature Via One Green Planet Images via Madiba & Nature Facebook

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Cameroon student nonprofit recycles plastic bottles into boats

Drone video reveals progress on Heatherwicks tree-covered mountain architecture in Shanghai

August 8, 2017 by  
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Shanghai’s “tree-covered mountains” are coming to life as evidenced in #donotsettle project’s latest video. Filmed with a DJI Mavic Pro drone, architects Wahyu Pratomo and Kris Provoost’s footage shows a sneak peek into the construction progress of the Heatherwick Studio-designed project for M50, the city’s contemporary art district. The six-hectare plot will feature staggered, mountain-like volumes enveloped by 1,000 trees. Par for the course for Shanghai’s futuristic cityscape, this unusual 330,000-square-meter mixed-use development will comprise housing, offices, retail, a hotel, and a school. As seen in the drone footage, trees have already been installed on the undulating building’s columnar planters. The planting will help soften the appearance of the concrete volume once they mature. Related: Heatherwick Studio wants to build a tree-covered mountain in the middle of Shanghai “Conceived not as a building but as a piece of topography , the design takes the form of two tree-covered mountains, populated by approximately one thousand structural columns,” said Heatherwick Studio . “Instead of being hidden behind the facade, the columns are the defining feature of the design, emerging from the building to support plants and trees.” The development is slated to open in 2018. + Heatherwick Studio Via ArchDaily Images via #donotsettle

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Drone video reveals progress on Heatherwicks tree-covered mountain architecture in Shanghai

Dutch engineers test floating island to combat rising sea levels

August 8, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

It’s no secret that sea levels are rising and land is becoming even more scarce. This is particularly sobering in the Netherlands , where two-thirds of the country dips below sea level . Fortunately, Dutch engineers are already developing solutions, including a “floating mega-island” comprised of 87 floating triangles tethered to the ocean floor. Engineers from the Maritime Research Institute Netherlands (MARIN) revealed the prototype of the design in a bid to entice investors. The floating island concept, which is made up of triangles composed of wood and polystyrene , was tested out in a water tank, complete with simulated wind and waves. MARIN’s goal for the future is to see the floating islands grow to 5 kilometers or 3.1 miles. The space will be large enough for a city-sized settlement of homes, farms , parks, recreational areas, and ports. As IFLScience reports, it would also be an ideal setting for sustainable energy projects that require access to the sea. Offshore wind farms, tidal energy, wave energy and floating solar panels would power the mega island. Related: Amazing Dutch Windwheel is a green energy generator you can live in Olaf Waals, project manager and designer of the concept at MARIN, said in a statement, “In a time of rising sea levels, overpopulated cities, and an increasing number of activities at sea, raising dikes and spraying of sand may not be the most effective solution. Floating ports and cities are an innovative alternative that fits the Dutch maritime tradition.” Though there are numerous obstacles to developing the floating island concept, Waals told AFP News Agency that both he and the Institute are confident the project will be feasible — as well as necessary — within the next 10 to 20 years. Waals told the Dutch newspaper Telegraaf that faced with rising sea levels and a lack of space, “the Netherlands will have to divert back towards the water.” Via CNN Images via MARIN

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Dutch engineers test floating island to combat rising sea levels

This Frank Lloyd Wright house on a heart-shaped island could be yours – for a cool $15 million

August 8, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Do you dream of island living and Frank Lloyd Wright homes? We’ve found the perfect property for you. Located on the 11-acre, heart-shaped Petra Island in New York’s Putnam County is a six bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom abode designed by the famous architect himself. Chilton & Chadwick just listed the incredible property with a price tag of $14.92 million. Every aspect of the triangular home bears Wright’s signature design. Even modern improvements made by Joe Massaro, who purchased the house in 1995, don’t take away from the Wright’s initial vision; rather, they add to it. Apartment Therapy reports that Massaro spent several years upgrading the property, and part of his efforts included expanding the main residence as Wright outlined in blueprints. Throughout his renovations, Massaro felt compelled to stay true to Wright’s design aesthetic. In fact, he claims an interest in architectural detail was inspired by his time on the island. A tour through the home reveals boulder stones decorating the concrete walls, a 1950s retro kitchen and a geometric skylight, designed like a maze of triangles, hovering near the center of the home. Related: Frank Lloyd Wright architecture school grad built this beautiful desert shelter for $2K There’s more to be dazzled by than the interior; the cottage also offers stunning views of Lake Mahopac. With a guest house, tea house and a dock on the premise, it’s the perfect family vacation spot. Thanks to a wraparound patio and huge windows, it’s easy to forget one is just a short flight away from Manhattan . If leaving in a hurry, residents can take advantage of the rooftop helipad (helicopter not included) and make it to the Westchester County Airport in just 4.5-minutes. In an interview with Mansion Global , Massaro revealed that some of his inspiration was received while he was sleeping. In fact, he claims Wright visited him in a dream and shared the idea for custom-colored lighting. “I said, ‘Well Frank told me to do it,’” said Massaro. ”Detail was not is in my DNA until I stepped out on that island.” Whatever inspired the renovations in line with Wright’s work, we’re glad, for it’s an absolutely breathtaking property. + Chilton & Chadwick Via Apartment Therapy Images via Chilton & Chadwick

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This Frank Lloyd Wright house on a heart-shaped island could be yours – for a cool $15 million

Hydra-Light lantern doesn’t need a batteryjust saltwater

August 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Hail, Hydra…Light? You too might be singing this portable lighting product’s praises if you find yourself off the grid without a battery to your name. Designed with campers, boaters, and outdoor revelers in mind, Hydra-Light’s range of flashlights, lanterns, and energy cells harness salt and water as its power source. Several models even come with a USB port, so you can juice up your cellphone or smart device at the same time. Each Hydra-Light features an energy cell that comprises a carbon-based membrane and a replaceable metal-alloy cylinder known as a PowerRod. When an electrolyte like saltwater—or just regular table salt and water—is added to the mix, the two elements react to generate a current. Related: Light-powered device can purify air and generate clean energy This reaction continues until the PowerRod is exhausted to a sliver, leaving only “harmless mineral sediment” behind, per the Australia-based manufacturer. “When the rod has become very thin, it is removed and a new one is inserted—which takes just seconds—making the cell like new and ready to continue generating power,” Hydra-Light said. “All that’s needed during the lifetime of each PowerRod is a periodic rinsing out of the mineral sediment and refilling with fresh saltwater. Unlike conventional batteries, the power output remains constant and does not decline over the lifetime of the rods.” Hydra-Light claims that a single PowerRod provides more than 250 hours of continuous power, which is equal to the output of about 85 standard AA batteries but at a “fraction of the cost.” (Each Hydra-Light product includes a preinstalled PowerRod.) It’s still salad days for the company yet, but the technology is nothing if not promising. For the 1.3 billion people around the world who live without electricity, Hydra-Light could prove life-changing. For the rest of us, it’s several more sets of single-use batteries we don’t have to toss out. Americans purchase—and presumably dispose of—more than 3 billion dry cell batteries every year to power our various gadgets and gizmos, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency . Hail, Hydra-Light indeed. + Hydra-Light [Via Digital Trends ]

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Hydra-Light lantern doesn’t need a batteryjust saltwater

Timber house extension with prefab elements immerses owners in Stockholms outdoors

August 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Windows are much more than just panes of glass in Anders Berensson Architects’ latest project in the Stockholm archipelago. The architects recently completed Look Out Lodge, a house extension built of locally sourced materials that functions like a standalone cabin. Custom-made prefabricated windows were added in the second phase of the project and define the areas for sleeping and working, all the while immersing the owner in nature. Clad in timber inside and out, Look Out Lodge was built on-site using local materials and building techniques. The two window additions—a Sky Tower and desk window—were prefabricated on site and slotted into place after the primary structure was completed. The small house extension is just large enough to accommodate a sleeping area and workspace. “Another goal with the design was to redefine the idea of a window as a flat readymade glass piece into an architectural element that creates its own space with a clear focus towards the outside,” wrote the architects. “This goal led to the design of a sky tower one can crawl into when being in bed totally dedicated to the sky and one corner window with a desk inserted to it that creates a work space on the inside and table for flowers on the outside with a clear focus and direction to the outside field.” The architects designed the Sky Tower to give the homeowners the countryside luxury of falling asleep beneath a starry sky. Topped with a round skylight and lined with spruce , the Sky Tower wraps around a custom-built bed and provides the perfect space to read during the day and for stargazing at night. The exterior draws on the local tradition of jigsaw facades and is punctuated by a pattern of native fauna and flora including large animals, amphibians, birds, flowers, and fish. Related: Apple Headquarters is finally complete and it’s an adorable treehouse The Desk Window prefabricated element is a corner unit that frames views of a wildflower meadow, one of the most beloved features of the Stockholm archipelago. The desk unit features a solar shade and a red terra-cotta concrete slab with holes for flower plants on the outside of the window, while a curved birch plywood tabletop with a round cut-out for sitting is located on the interior. Holes drilled into the desk are made for different purposes, including ventilation, cables, lamps, pencils, and even for pencil sharpening. + Anders Berensson Architects

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Timber house extension with prefab elements immerses owners in Stockholms outdoors

The Brooklyn Childrens Museums new green roof lets kids explore the wilderness in the middle of the city

August 4, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

The Brooklyn Children’s Museum is bringing the wilderness to the middle of the city. This weekend, the museum will unveil a space that includes a forest, trails, interactive exhibits and a winged canopy that takes center stage. Future Green Studio designed the rooftop’s landscaping by dividing the 20,000-square-foot terrace into four quadrants catering to different themes – woodland, play, lounge and dining – giving kids in the city the perfect place to learn about and explore the natural world. Kids will be able to play outdoors in a safe environment in between checking out the kid-centric exhibits throughout the museum. The dynamic space will also be used for cultural events and experiences that compliment the museum’s ongoing mission to educate children in interactive ways. For example, the terrace’s opening on August 5th and 6th will be accompanied by a Senegalese dance festival with choreographer and professional dancer Papa Sy. Papa Sy will tell stories, play Senegalese music and get all ages moving as they welcome this space into the community. “The inspiration for the roof garden was to create a place that epitomized the heart of Brooklyn where kids could feel immersed in nature and free to explore and roam in an unprescribed way,” said David Seiter, Principal and Design Director of Future Green. As a Brooklyn parent himself, Seiter used his experiences of visiting the museum with his children to create a space flexible enough to host playdates, family get-togethers and cultural events “bridging both old and new Brooklyn and bringing people together.” Related: This interactive woven canopy at MoMA PS1 changes colors as the sun sets A small woodland trail features a walkway made of sustainable black locust hardwood that meanders through groupings of sweet bay magnolia and sassafras trees. Various types of shrubs and perennials, including high bush blueberry, hayscented fern, butterfly weed, mayapple and blue wood aster, are sprinkled in between while ground covers like bristle-leaf sedge and hayscented fern can be found throughout the nature walk. Tree trunk pavers and sculptures that serve as seating are made from black locust and white oak rounds. Before tackling this project, Seiter and his team visited the Donald & Barbara Zucker Natural Exploration Area in Prospect Park , a children’s play area where trees damaged by storms and other natural materials take the place of swings and slides. “It was inspiring to hear about the design decisions that go into creating a new type of play space for kids where they might feel more connected to natural elements and have the ability to explore risk and confront fears,” Seiter said. “We tried to achieve a similar sense of wonder and play in our Woodland Walk.” The open lawn play space is also constructed from black locust lumber, chosen because it’s not sourced from tropical rain forests like most other exterior decking. Because of its greater exposure to the sun, different plantings that can handle those conditions were used: smoke trees, cone flower, ornamental onions and wormwood. All the plants used in the landscaping are native and drought tolerant, and a water-efficient irrigation system was installed to keep the environment lush. And at the center of it all is a white canopy designed by Toshiko Mori Architect . The 7,300 square-foot open-air pavilion looks like it’s billowing in the wind and about to take flight. It evokes references Eero Saarinen ’s TWA Flight Center at JFK International Airport, but much more airy, and while it serves to provide respite from the sun, a lot of light still pours in through the translucent panels. The use of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene cladding allowed for a column-free design, and wooden seats surround the anchor points from which the white steel ribbings arch up and meet overhead. From the side, the tops of the panels reflects the clouds and seems to blend into the sky. From high above, the pavilion resembles a square sheet of paper that has found its way onto the museum’s roof. And from underneath, the pavilion, with the landscaping surrounding it, feel like a breath of fresh air. + Future Green Studio + Toshiko Mori Architect All images by Dorkys Ramos for Inhabitat

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The Brooklyn Childrens Museums new green roof lets kids explore the wilderness in the middle of the city

Trippy transforming coffee table illuminates microscopic art

August 4, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Thanks to the popularity of tiny home living , flexible furniture is more popular than ever. However, one inventive company is taking it one trippy step forward by adding microscopic art into the mix. Designed by Italian firm Art Is Therapy , the Microcromo is a 3D-printed , transformable coffee table that illuminates with a top of glowing microscopic art. According to Marco Zagaria, creator of the funky 3D-printed table , the inspiration for Microcromo came from the desire to blend multifunctional furniture design with his own love of microscopic art photography. The table tops are created using a series of unique micro-images photographed with the microscope. The images of veiny patterns and vivid colors are backlit with ambient lighting system controlled by an app, creating one very unique art piece within the table. Related: 11 pieces of transforming furniture that work wonders for small spaces Adding flexibility to the design , the table’s telescopic base is retractable so that the table can be almost completely flattened. This feature not only lets homeowners open up their living space quickly, but also means that the table can be hung on the wall as a stand-alone art piece. Zagaria says that the table’s artsy and functional design was inspired by the common confines of living in a tiny space ,  “ As more and more people decide to live in small homes, they must have objects that are more functional while still having a strong impact of design, at the same time.” + Art Is Therapy

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Trippy transforming coffee table illuminates microscopic art

Artist carves an intricate forest into an old delivery van

August 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Artist Dan Rawling s likes to give old metal scraps a new lease on life by carving them into forest-themed art works. His most recent work, Nature Delivers, is a massive forest landscape carved into the entire body of an old delivery truck. Rawlings uses an arsenal of tools to create his detailed pieces such as a hand held plasma torch, files, grinders, scalpels, welders, etching chemicals, etc. The results are intricate, hand-crafted scenes that are spectacular on their own, however, the works take on a life of their own when illuminated, where viewers can really appreciate the amazing details of the metal sculptures . Related: Artist transforms scrap metal into incredible lifelike sculptures The artist works on everything from old signs, rusty tools, and even empty water tanks . In 2014, the artist carved an 18-foot-high grain silo into a beautiful illuminated piece that was on display in London’s Battersea Park. His most recent work, Nature Delivers, saw the artist painstakingly cut an entire forest backdrop into of the body of an old delivery van. The work was commissioned for the Lost Eden festival, but unfortunately, was set on fire earlier this year. According to the artist, his work is meant to take people back to a simpler time in life, “I try to create images that remind people of the moments when everything seems possible and free,” says Rawlings, “times when climbing a tree, or sitting admiring the way its branches twist and curl means nothing, but means everything.” + Dan Rawlings Via This is Colossal Images via Dan Rawlings Facebook

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Artist carves an intricate forest into an old delivery van

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