Escape to the Azores at this charming eco resort by the sea

June 3, 2019 by  
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Looking for a summer getaway that checks the boxes for chic and environmentally friendly style? Meet Lava Homes , a new eco resort  on Azores’ Pico Island that’s a relaxing escape for nature- and yoga-lovers alike. Tucked into a hillside with breathtaking views of the sea, the 14-villa resort was designed by Portuguese architectural firm Diogo Mega Architects to embody nature conservation and sustainable principles as evidenced by its minimized site disturbance, use of renewable energy and locally sourced materials. Completed this year, Lava Homes is located on a steep slope along the north coast of Pico Island in the tiny parish of Santo Amaro, an area with superb views and few tourist lodgings. To respect the island landscape and cultural heritage, the architects preserved elements of existing ruins on site — old houses and animal enclosures — and carefully sited the buildings to minimize site impact and to mimic the layout of a small village. “The project was designed to alter as little as possible the topography of the land, so that the integration of the houses was as harmonious as possible,” the architects explained. “Our positioning is based on the conservation of nature, environmental quality and the safeguarding of the historical-cultural heritage and local identity. All housing units are equipped with photovoltaic panels , heating is done by salamanders to pellets, cooling is done by natural ventilation, water tanks have been kept for use in the irrigation, and the drinking water served is filtered local water by an active carbon system.” Related: Azulik, an eco-paradise in Tulum, celebrates the four natural elements Lava Homes offers three types of villas that range from one to three bedrooms; a glass-walled multipurpose center with a yoga room, meeting areas and a pool; and Magma, an on-site restaurant and bar that features locally sourced fare. The contemporary architecture was built from locally sourced materials, including stone and Cryptomeria wood from the islands. For energy efficiency, all glass openings are double glazed . Renewable energy sources — from heat pumps and photovoltaic panels to pellet stoves — are used throughout. Rainwater is also recycled for irrigation in the gardens that are planted with native and endemic flora. + Diogo Mega Architects Images via Miguel Cardoso e Diogo Mega

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Escape to the Azores at this charming eco resort by the sea

Charred timber cladding and a green roof connect this Victorian-era home to nature

May 31, 2018 by  
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To embrace indoor/outdoor living, this Victoria-era house in London is outfitted with a handsome new extension wrapped in Shou Sugi Ban cladding. Designed by Neil Dusheiko Architects , the Black Ridge House provides a modern contrast to the original home’s Victorian brickwork. Inspired by biophilic design principles, the new-build was constructed with several energy-saving features — such as a green roof and underfloor heating — and sustainably sourced timbers to connect the home to nature. Inspired by the rooflines of the area’s early Warner houses, the Black Ridge House features gabled volumes clad in Kebony , a sustainable and durable alternative to tropical hardwood. The engineered wood was charred using the Shou Sugi Ban technique to create a beautifully blackened finish that’s also weatherproof. “The extension forms a contrast to the Victorian brickwork so that the two elements of the house are distinct and a separate visual language is used,” the architects wrote. “Our design embraces the philosophy of Biophilic design principles, addressing our innate attraction to nature and natural processes. By constructing the extension out of a natural product [timber] whose surface is formed by a natural process [fire] — we celebrate nature. The design also includes ideas of wabi-sabi — a world view that is based on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. Beauty is seen as being ‘imperfect, impermanent and incomplete’.” Related: Norway farmstead receives a gorgeous modern renovation with Kebony wood The extension includes an open-plan kitchen, dining room and living area on the ground floor, while a new master bedroom and skylit bathroom are located on the upper floor. The building opens up to the garden through large double-glazed metal windows. Airtight detailing, underfloor heating, ample access to natural light and an insulating green roof keep energy demands to a minimum. From the sliding door made with reclaimed timber panels to the oak worktop and cupboard doors, the light-filled interior utilizes natural materials. + Neil Dusheiko Architects Images © Tim Crocker

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Charred timber cladding and a green roof connect this Victorian-era home to nature

LED lighting company aims to bring a little ‘friluftsliv’ into our hectic lives

May 31, 2018 by  
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No matter what stresses you deal with on a daily basis, the practice of reconnecting with nature is always beneficial. Scandinavians call this connection ‘friluftsliv’ (pronounced free-loofts-liv). Literally translated to “open-air living,” the term refers to the value of spending time in remote natural locations in order to rejuvenate ourselves, mentally and physically. Of course the problem is that our daily schedules are not always conducive to taking a nature-based break. As a solution, a forward-thinking lighting company, Festive Lights , has unveiled a line of LED-based lights geared toward bringing  friluftsliv into your home. With little effort, you can incorporate Festive Lights’ products into your day-to-day atmosphere, so even when you can’t get outside and connect with nature on a deeper level, you can still convert a little outdoor deck or garden into a peaceful oasis. Related:These dazzling zodiac lamps let you bring the heavens indoors The lights are specifically made to provide discreet lighting around greenery and create a warm, pleasant environment. The line includes various lights that use LED bulbs or solar energy. The Solar Bluebell Flower is a beautiful lantern with an integrated solar panel that brings a touch of romance to any garden, without wasting energy. String Dragonfly Fairy Lights, which have various settings, can light up any indoor or outdoor space. Even if you have little to no outdoor space, there are plenty of ways to bring nature indoors. Festive Lights offers a series of Rose Gold Metal Lantern Fairy Lights that use LED bulbs to emit a soothing light. The Nordic Rectangle Frame made from twig and filled with warm white LEDs is a unique accessory that welcomes nature into any room. With just unique lighting and a few plants here and there, you can easily begin to embrace  friluftsliv , even in your hectic everyday life. + Festive Lights Images via Festive Lights

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LED lighting company aims to bring a little ‘friluftsliv’ into our hectic lives

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