Finnish stamps shine a harsh light on climate change

October 19, 2020 by  
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The Finnish Post wanted to get the memo out about the climate crisis , but instead of using the internet, it went old school with snail mail. A series of new postage stamps designed by Finnish studio Berry Creative sends the message using a ubiquitous product coupled with basic science. The line of stamps includes three designs created using heat-reactive ink. When heated, the black silhouetted image turns clear, disappearing to reveal the stark reality of climate change below. The first image features a snow cloud that transforms to show a thunderstorm underneath. The transition from snow to rain depicts the loss of winter snowfall, a crucial natural element for Finland . The second stamp addresses immigration with a depiction of limited migration turning into mass migration as the climate changes, forcing refugees to relocate and find new homes. The third image illustrates a bird that mutates into a skeleton, representing the extinction of many of Finland’s native species. Related: Church Stone Shelter welcomes hikers in Finland In an application for the Dezeen Award in Graphic Design, Berry Creative’s creative director Timo Berry stated, “I dug into different consequences of climate change here in Finland, and chose three – snow turning into water and rain in the winters, massive climate refugee crisis, and the  loss of endemic species .” Each stamp encourages the exchange of information regarding climate change’s consequences, going so far as to state that the stamps are visions of the future “if we don’t act fast to fight climate change.” Aiming to inspire concrete actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Finland and around the world, the stamps were specifically designed with eye-catching colors and jagged edges to represent a sense of urgency. “I wanted to play on very alarming imagery,” Berry told Dezeen. “Usually I like to communicate an alternative, a way to go forward, not just point on a particular problem, but here there was no space for that,” he continued. In the end, the message is clear. In the words of the studio, “Unlike the effect in the stamp,  climate change  is not reversible.” + Berry Creative Via Dezeen Images via Berry Creative

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Cold Spring Residence, a family’s low-impact weekend retreat

October 2, 2020 by  
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Developed by architect and artist couple Jared and Carolina Della Valle, this stunning family  retreat  in the Hudson River Valley is driven by high sustainability standards. Located on 11 acres in Cold Spring, New York near where Carolina grew up, the house functions as a weekend escape for the family. Wary of the environmental effect that a second home could present, the designer set out to create a building with minimal impact on its natural surroundings. While planning and building the home, the designer made every effort to lessen the environmental impact. Jared’s company, Alloy, prides itself on being guided by professionals seeking to positively contribute to the built environment with sustainability at the forefront. The firm developed New York’s first two  passive house  schools and Brooklyn’s first all-electric skyscraper. Related: Contemporary Camp O communes with nature in the Catskills Cold Spring Residence, standing at 4,500 square feet and built to passive house standards, features a full  solar  array providing year-round energy to the home. All of the site’s natural resources are preserved, and a newly-planted meadow fills the remaining landscape with native plants that thrive all year long. The majority of the house uses raw  concrete  and pine finished with a natural tar resistant to bugs and woodpeckers, with bleached oak for the interior. Bedrooms reside on the cantilevered upper floor, allowing sunlight into the living spaces. Meanwhile, a two-story deep skylight shines into the kitchen. Inside, the concrete walls use old forms to create intentional imperfections and inconsistencies to produce a more organic look. Jared found and restored a steel pipeline to construct the outdoor shower, and an indoor-outdoor terrace promotes uninterrupted views of the valley. A sense of  minimalism  remains apparent in the home’s design and construction, making it conducive to a low maintenance lifestyle. This style gives the family more time to relax while enjoying the property’s natural environment. + Alloy Development Via Wallpaper

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Cold Spring Residence, a family’s low-impact weekend retreat

Gaia & Dubos debuts a sustainable fall clothing collection

September 14, 2020 by  
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Do you know where your clothes come from? How they’re made? What impact they have on the environment? When it comes to many clothing manufacturers, the answers are probably all no. But companies like Gaia & Dubos want you to know exactly how their clothing is made and everything they do to provide sustainable fashion for all. This brand’s new collection creates as little impact on the environment as possible without compromising style or comfort. The fashions provided by Gaia & Dubos are so well made that every single seam comes with a lifetime guarantee. The name of the company is inspired by the ancient Greek goddess Gaia, an Earth goddess. Dubos stems from René Dubos, a French environmentalist and the person who coined the phrase “think global, act local.” This sentiment so perfectly sums up the philosophy behind Gaia & Dubos, his name is now part of the brand itself. The company name embodies the mission, which is to “change the fashion industry, one person at a time, one garment at a time.” Related: Cariuma welcomes a new Pantone collection of natural, vegan shoes Begin your change with the gorgeous creations in the Gaia & Dubos fall line, which includes matching hair accessories to complete your outfits. Bold colors, classic silhouettes and comfortable materials make each piece in the collection stand out while also withstanding the test of time. All clothing from Gaia & Dubos is made with eco-friendly materials. The clothing is also handcrafted in Canada under fair and ethical working conditions. You can learn about the origin and the environmental impact of every single clothing item you buy through Gaia & Dubos. These items are made with certified organic cotton jersey for a naturally soft feeling and beautiful draping. This company is setting a standard that hopefully other clothing brands will soon start to follow. Incredibly, the Gaia & Dubos brand began with a young girl named Leonie. She’s the designer and founder of the brand. Leonie started creating made-to-measure clothing at age 12 and went on to get college degrees in Fashion Design, Fashion Merchandising and Fashion. She chose to specialize in sustainable fashion . Gaia & Dubos is the result of all that hard work. + Gaia & Dubos Images via Gaia & Dubos

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Villa CasaBlanca is an earthen home made from clay found onsite

July 30, 2020 by  
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The Villa CasaBlanca in Bali puts a new spin on the ancient tradition of cob building — a construction technique using materials such as clay and straw, often harvested from the building site. The home is part of a larger project consisting of 24 similar sustainable luxury homes in a communal eco-village designed by Kurt Beckman and MUD Sustainable Homes. The practice of building cob homes certainly makes sense in the tropical landscape of Bali. Cob homes provide a naturally cool living space with natural resistance to termites, mold, fires and earthquakes. The country is known for the rich clay soil that helps grow its coffee, supply spa treatments and even inspire traditional mepantigan mud wrestling. Unfortunately, the cob building technique largely disappeared following the rise of concrete in the 1970s. According to the designer, the villa is the first and only modern example of a cob and bamboo home in Bali. Related: This glamping hideout in Bali is made entirely out of bamboo Inside, low-energy design considerations include full LED lighting, while outside, a graywater reclamation system and groundwater recharge well help control water flow. Though the cob construction technique naturally cools the space, the designers included additional open living spaces to allow for further access to breezes and natural light. Sustainable building materials for the home include bamboo and sugarcane for its curved grass roof and local volcanic stone for the house’s foundation as well as the bathroom and garden walls. The garden itself is landscaped with edible plants, such as lemongrass, sugarcane, chili peppers, bananas, pineapples, roselle and local herbs. The main building of the 1,291-square-foot villa has three bedrooms with another bedroom and study available inside the guest house. Additions like interior and exterior balconies, bedroom lofts, an upstairs lounge and a swing make the space more luxurious, and furnishings of local Balinese carvings honor the cultural heritage of the area. MUD Sustainable Homes and local craftspeople were responsible for the build of the Villa CasaBlanca, with interior design by Earthwright Eco Design. Located in Ubud, Bali, the project was completed in February 2020. + Villa CasaBlanca Images via Kurt Beckman

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Kibardin shares creative recycled paper furniture designs

May 8, 2020 by  
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Creating furniture is an age-old art form that has incorporated standard materials such as aluminum, wood and rattan. However, one artist has perfected a way to use another prolific material, cardboard, into furniture designs, and he’ll show you how to use it too. Vadim Kibardin, based out of KIBARDIN design studio in the Czech Republic, wants to encourage the kids, journalists and architects in all of us to think progressively and sustainably by getting hands-on with paper furniture design. Kibardin sees a world of opportunity between citizens who want sustainably made products and the wasteland of available cardboard readily available. With this combination in mind, he set out to develop and share furniture designs that can work as a family art project in any home.  Related: Designer Sophie Rowley creates marbled furniture from denim scraps On his website, you’ll find a black furniture collection with a sampling of furniture pieces he’s lovingly hand-contoured. Some are complete and ready for purchase, while others offer a design that can be made by request. Each piece is unique, as materials and the handmade approach vary. He doesn’t use a mold to replicate a design. The process involves adhering stacks of flattened cardboard  into thicknesses that add strength, then shaping them into chairs of varying designs.  Over his 25 years in the business, Kibardin has been commissioned to create unique pieces for private clients, galleries and museums. But his vision goes beyond creating art and building usable furniture while saving trees , to inspiring others to do the same. His Totem collection represents a creative art form that can be replicated in homes around the world.  As Kibardin explained, “Take a look at my Totem furniture collection. It is essentially a condensed version of my vision, which transcends trends by being functional as a serial product and handmade piece of art. I focus on construction and delivering key looks, without the styling and theatrics of a show. I can bring you modern solutions at affordable prices, just collect paper and cardboard packaging , download patterns and manuals, and produce it with your kids.” The basics are provided with an outline for decoupage-style stools, chairs and hourglass-shaped tables, but the idea is to inspire your own works of art. Kibardin encourages his site’s visitors to create their own paper art and then share images, instructions and a link for others to use. With this foundational support, Kibardin hopes everyone becomes part of this sustainable movement. + Kibardin Studios Images via Palisander Gallery and Vova Pomortzeff

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ChopValue recycles 25 million chopsticks into furniture and decor

March 19, 2020 by  
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A Canadian-based company called ChopValue has found some unique ways to reuse single-use chopsticks — think of it as upcycling food utensils into chic, sustainable decor and housewares. The process starts in coordination with restaurants by collecting used chopsticks. The wood then goes through a micro-manufacturing process, which turns it into usable material for other products. ChopValue keeps the production carbon-neutral while maintaining an overall carbon-negative status for the company. Consumers can select products with complete transparency regarding the overall carbon footprint and number of recycled chopsticks that were used to make a specific item. Related: Kwytza chopstick art transforms single-use chopsticks into stylish home decor The founder of ChopValue, Felix Böck, developed and engineered the innovative material while earning his PhD. The idea came one night while having sushi, when Böck and his partner were discussing their frustrations over construction waste in the city. They looked down at their chopsticks and were instantly inspired; the rest is history. Taking an interest in the environment and corporate responsibility, Böck hopes to lead by example and inspire others to rethink resource efficiency. The company offers a variety of decor items, including a hexagonal display shelf and honeycomb-shaped pieces that can be used as a single unit or in conjunction with other tiles for a geometric look. There is also a selection of cutting board options with designs specialized for charcuterie boards, cheese and cracker displays or butcher blocks. There’s even a zero-waste kit that comes with a cheeseboard, coasters, key chains, toothbrushes, chopsticks, stainless steel straws and straw cleaners; the kit comes in a box that can be used to donate used chopsticks back to the company. As an incentive, the company will get you a product equal to the amount of chopsticks you donate. For example, 75 chopsticks will net you a 75-chopstick coaster. In addition to the standard selections available on the website, ChopValue can produce custom wood furniture and other items. For example, a community table created for Little Kitchen Academy diverted 33,436 disposable chopsticks from the landfill. Another big project saw the creation of wall paneling, restaurant tables and entrance flooring for Little Bird Dim Sum that utilized more than 330,000 disposable chopsticks. According to the company, its efforts have recycled more than 25 million chopsticks to date. ChopValue has created a virtual interactive trade show booth in partnership with WireWax as a result of the many canceled trade shows stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak. Check it out while scrolling through the website, and it might just inspire the designer in you. + ChopValue Images via ChopValue

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ChopValue recycles 25 million chopsticks into furniture and decor

Intergravity launches sustainable clothing that reduces the need to do laundry

March 9, 2020 by  
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An exciting trend is hitting the fashion market, and it’s not about the coolest design or newest fad — it’s about corporate responsibility and sustainable practices. There are companies who believe fashion can be eco-friendly, ethical and affordable, and this Kickstarter campaign for sustainable, anti-bacterial clothing by Intergravity is the perfect example of this mindset. The company started out as a design and production house aimed at helping start-up designers build their collections. Along the way, it discovered a desire to make a clothing line that was long-lasting and eco-friendly, so the team evaluated every step in the operation and made every improvement they could think of. Related: Designer Dana Cohen creates unique, recycled fabric garments Intergravity begins its process by making its own fabric in-house. This way, it can control waste and production resources, such as water and electricity. All clothing is made from organic cotton, recycled polyester, Lenzing Ecovera and Tencel. Any leftover fabric will be donated to make cuff gloves for people who are at high-risk of being exposed to bacteria (e.g. street cleaners and janitors). All garments are produced by a small, family-run factory with a staff comprised of 80% women. Workers receive 15-20% of each garment’s price and are guaranteed a fair wage. To ensure the clothing meets the highest standards for eco-friendly practices, it is OEKO Tex 100 Standard, Bluesign and Global Organic Textile Standard certified. Intergravity’s focus is not only on conservation during production but also during the life of the garment. With this in mind, it coats products with Polygiene, an anti-bacterial and odor-control treatment. With the knowledge that cutting back on washing and drying clothing consumes less resources, Intergravity clothing can be worn longer between washings, saving time, money, water and electricity over the life of the garment. Each design factors in a wide size range to suit a variety of body types and includes an adjustable fit in shirts. Quality stitching, copious pockets and functional design round out the reasons to hold on to each garment for the long-haul rather than subscribing to fast fashion . To further its goal of protecting the Earth, Intergravity has joined 1% For the Planet as a way of giving back. At the time of writing, the campaign is nearly fully funded. If it achieves its goal, Intergravity is scheduling shipments for June 2020. + Intergravity Images via Intergravity

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This minimalist, solar-powered home stands strong against earthquakes

January 14, 2020 by  
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Located in the Swiss municipality of Grimisuat in the district of Sion, House ROFR was created with the future in mind. The modern, solar-powered home is situated on a hilly slope with the help of a protective and stabilizing wall along a surrounding orchard. In addition to its impressive green design features, the house also frames breathtaking views of its mountainous setting. The area here in the canton of Valais is known for its seismic activity. The Swiss Seismological Service has recorded about 270 earthquakes per year over the past 10 years, making it the most quake-prone region in the country. This, of course, has influenced the design decisions made by architects completing projects in the potentially hazardous part of Switzerland — and House ROFR is no exception. The entire structure of the building is made of strong concrete. Related: Experimental prefab home eschews fossil fuels in Geneva Per the client’s request, the 200-square-meter flat roof was equipped with as many solar modules as possible. Excess energy from the solar panels is stored in batteries, supplying both the house and electric cars with electricity. The home also uses geothermal heating to keep the interiors warm when the temperatures drop. The design provides for plenty of functional spaces with luxurious additions, such as a wine cave and cheese cellar on the ground floor along with a laundry room, changing room and bathroom. There are two areas making up the property — a larger, 220-square-meter house with the entire living space distributed on the upper floor as well as a smaller, two-level flat. The upper floor holds a patio terrace, the kitchen, a large fireplace and a concrete corridor connecting the different rooms. Occupants must go through the open garage to enter the house, though it is separated from the landscaped garden by larch wooden slats for added aesthetics. Rather than building a traditional garage, the designer wanted to give the owner the opportunity to turn the garage into an additional living area in the future. + Ralph Germann Architectes Photography by Lionel Henriod via Ralph Germann Architectes

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Eco-house in Chile thrives in every season

January 2, 2020 by  
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Karina Duque had a unique conundrum to overcome when it came to the design of the KDDK House. Located in Frutillar, Chile , the eco-home’s site had views of lush greenery, in the form of meadows and forests, that presumably made the property so attractive to the landowners. These green views, however, could only be found in the opposite direction of the sun’s natural course. In a region that often saw rainy weather, designing a house that could allow for high-quality indoor livability while avoiding a dark or gloomy interior in such a location was quite the challenge. First, the designer placed the home on the highest point of the property to allow for the best views while also creating the greatest potential for natural sunlight to filter indoors for the greater part of the day. Even better, the elevated building site as well as reflective windows and organically inspired colors and materials help immerse and disguise the home among its lush property. Related: An angular timber cabin is hidden inside an ancient mountain forest The architect took inspiration from the architecture of German settlers, turning to simple lines, an elongated volume, a gable roof and skylights for a contrasting yet relaxing design. This style came with another perk in the form of ample space for a loft that could store heat. The team used painted, locally manufactured zinc for much of the exterior and certified larch roofing for the access corridor. These materials contrasted and complemented the interior, which was painted bright white to make the spaces brighter on those gloomy days. Cellulose insulation (typically made from recycled paper fiber ) for the roof, walls and under the windows helps to maintain heat during cold days, and natural cross-ventilation regulates the indoor temperature during hot days. The addition of a combustion stove in the kitchen serves as a primary heat source during the coldest winter days. In the summer, the iron-and-glass screens fold open to reveal a pleasant outdoor terrace. + Karina Duque Photography by Fernanda Castro via Karina Duque

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The eco-friendly wellness guide to Savannah, Georgia

January 2, 2020 by  
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Savannah is just as beautiful as it looks in pictures. Since Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil — both the book and the movie — came out in the 1990s, tourism has ramped up in this Southern town known for its 22 park-like squares, sultry summers and Spanish moss dripping from trees. But Savannah also has a modern overlay, thanks in part to the Savannah College of Art & Design, or SCAD, which has renovated deteriorating buildings and attracted talented youth from around the world since its founding in 1978. Today, this Georgia city of 145,000 appeals to visitors who appreciate history, art, ghosts, romantic architecture, Southern culture and a bit of quirkiness. Here are some sustainable stops throughout the city. Savannah outdoors The pace is slow in Savannah, especially if you visit in the summer. Walking around town, reading historic plaques in the squares and on the Savannah River waterfront, wandering into shops and talking with people is probably the best way to get a feel for the town. If you like a more structured outing, Savannah has a plethora of walking tours, with history, architecture and paranormal activity topping the list. It’s no wonder — Georgia’s oldest city, Savannah was established in 1733 and endured fighting in both the Revolutionary and Civil wars. Related: SCAD students save a piece of American history with vintage train car restoration In keeping with the paranormal and historical themes, Savannah has some of the country’s most beautiful graveyards. Bonaventure Cemetery, located on a bluff overlooking the Wilmington River, has the grandest monuments. The wide paved lanes are a nice place to stroll. Those who prize cardio workouts will enjoy an early morning visit to 30-acre Forsyth Park, where you’ll encounter locals running and doing walking lunges around the shady, 1.8-mile, figure 8-shaped loop. Historic mansions and monuments ring this flat course with a lovely fountain in the middle. Great Runs has also mapped a 6-mile running tour that hits every square and Forsyth Park. If you like to see places from the water, Savannah Canoe and Kayak offers tours of Little Tybee Island, or they’ll take you inland to see the forested creeks and wildlife of Skidaway Narrows. Because Savannah is only 18 miles inland from the Atlantic coast, many people also visit Tybee Island. This barrier island has wide beaches, a lighthouse and a fort. The League of American Bicyclists deemed Tybee one of the most bike -friendly communities. Several rental shops let you explore the island on two wheels. Wellness in Savannah Savannah’s many yoga studios include friendly Dancing Dogs Yoga right on the main drag downtown. Savannah Yoga Center offers events like learning to read tarot and pendulums, as well as a full schedule of yoga classes. Those who appreciate the healing power of felines will enjoy Pounce Cat Café and Wine Bar , where you’ll find approximately 20 adoptable cats cavorting or napping on any given day. If you’re pressed for time, you can get a 10-minute pass for just $5. Roots Up Gallery is an inspiring place to delve into Southern folk art . As the gallery’s website explains, the self-taught painters, jewelers, sculptors and potters they represent “possess a soulful style that is borne from within.” Vegan restaurants in Savannah The Fox and Fig Café is Savannah’s leading plant-based restaurant. The raw lasagna is deliciously flavorful, and the shakes, made with local favorite Leopold’s coconut ice cream, are very popular. You can even get a vegan truffle flight here. Kayak Kafé on Broughton, one of the main streets downtown, has clearly marked vegetarian and vegan dishes, including vegan tacos with walnut meat. Sit outside for optimal people-watching. People come to the Sentient Bean for espresso drinks and vegan chia yogurt in the morning, and plant-based dinners and local musicians at night. Wednesday nights, the Sentient Bean hosts meetings of the Psychotronic Film Society. Getting around Savannah When your feet get tired, you can hop on the DOT, a free bus that serves 24 stops in the Historic District and the Savannah Belles Ferry. It runs until midnight every day but Sunday, when service stops at 9 p.m. The Savannah Belles Ferry connects downtown with the convention center and Hutchinson Island. If you’re going farther afield, Chatham Area Transit serves Savannah and Chatham County. A shuttle bus service runs from downtown Savannah to Tybee Island in spring and summer. Uber and Lyft both operate in Savannah. Savannah eco-hotels How you feel about spectral visitors might drive your Savannah lodging decisions, because many of the hotels claim to have resident ghosts. The Marshall House generally wins accolades for being the most haunted, while the 1960s restored retro Thunderbird Inn might be the least. The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa follows a long list of sustainability practices, including irrigating with gray water, organic waste composting and salt water pool and hot tub systems. The Kimpton Brice offers guests free use of bikes and supplies a yoga mat in every room. Images by Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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