Fabrics from Natural Materials Studio are made from algae

May 3, 2022 by  
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In a world of waste and pollution , returning to all-natural products makes sense for the health of humans and the planet. Danish Designer Bonnie Hvillum made it the focus of her work to create such options, resulting in a collection of bio-materials made from algae, clay and foam. Sample products of clothing , curtains and drapes were made from the materials. They were then put on display in a collaboration with multi-disciplinary design brand Frama. The collection was on display in Frama’s Copenhagen showroom during the Days of Design Festival in 2021.  Related: Charlotte McCurdy, Phillip Lim design carbon-neutral algae sequin dress Material research by Hvillum was well underway when she discovered the like-minded Frama. They also experiment with natural materials in their lifestyle object designs.  “I design interactive user experiences with a playful yet visionary approach, constantly exploring the potential in the unseen. That allows me to create highly sensory experiences that offer, at the same time, an insight of nature’s available resources and how to use those creatively,” said Bonnie Hvillum, founder of Natural Material Studio. Specifically, the fabrics included in the showroom display were created from products found in the environment . Alger is a seaweed fabric made from seaweed extract and softener, which is dyed with spirulina algae. Terracotta is a clay-pigmented biofabric formed using a protein-based binder extracted from collagen and a natural softener. B-foam is a product that has been in development by the Natural Material Studio since 2019. Charcoal is the base for the material, which had been previously featured in the Days of Design Festival.  The process includes hand casting the fabric inside wooden frames. After a few days of drying time, the designs are then cut from the frames.  As natural materials, all three are biodegradable. Inasmuch, Hvillum hopes the materials will become mainstream options, but encourages continued research on the potential beyond the bespoke fashion, interior design and furniture items Natural Material Studio developed. “These are early-stage versions – beta versions, pilot versions, whatever we call them in other industries . They do not live up to quality standards for fabrics yet, but hopefully they will one day with more research, testing and application trials continue,” said Hvillum. Her goal is to explore what is possible and encourage others to do the same without getting caught up in the challenges. The display at Frama set the stage of organic -looking prototypes that show the possibilities. This includes Japanese-inspired curtains and concept clothing.  + Natural Materials Studio  Images via Natural Materials Studio

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Fabrics from Natural Materials Studio are made from algae

Made in the USA cotton sheets come from sustainable farming

April 13, 2022 by  
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Producers of high-quality textiles are bringing locally-grown cotton and bedsheets back to America. North Alabama’s Red Land Cotton produces its own home-grown cotton on a third-generation family farm. They create luxury linens like sheets and towels out of their cotton. It’s a sustainable farming operation that aims to change the way we buy cotton home goods. The Yeager family has run their farm for three generations. The red soil that is rain-irrigated only is processed by the family’s own self-built cotton gin. It allows the Yeagers to control the quality of their cotton fibers going into the sheets they create. Mark Yeager, who now runs the farm , has spent years implementing sustainable farming practices across thousands of acres to minimize environmental impact. Related: These bags are made with Fairtrade Certified organic cotton “Our American-made pure cotton bedding, bed sheets and bath towels are proudly made in the USA and crafted exclusively with cotton sourced directly from our North Alabama farm,” the Yeagers said. Their products have been featured in Country Living, Southern Living, The Cottage Journal and Veranda. Plus, sustainable farming practices are just the start. Locally-grown and locally-made sheets help the environment in several ways. It creates a smaller cycle of manufacturing and delivery, removes the large shipping carbon footprint from shipping goods overseas and builds healthy economies with fair-wage jobs. Red Land Cotton sheets are luxury , but that’s because they pay fair domestic wages and create products that are meant to last. Furthermore, Red Land Cotton’s American-made cotton bed sheets and towels are created 100% with the cotton grown on the family farm. You’ll find designs from basic whites and grays to heirloom -inspired striped ticking. The Leighton Bath Collection is made by one of the only towel manufacturers left in the U.S. located in Griffin, Georgia. The Classic Quilts are filled with cotton batting also grown on the Red Cotton farm. Lastly, cotton sheets are healthier for you. They are extra durable, good for cooling hot sleepers, hypoallergenic, easy to wash and can come in a variety of finishes for every taste. + Red Land Cotton Images via Red Land Cotton

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New bio-based textile fiber from Nordic Bioproducts Group

February 9, 2022 by  
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Nordic Bioproducts Group, a Finnish startup, has created a new plant-based textile fiber. The company is a spinoff from Aalto University in Finland, which created a patented technology called AaltoCell. The textile fiber made from plants is called Norratex. It is manufactured without any toxic chemicals or solvents. Nordic Bioproducts also announced the launch of a collaboration with major pulp producer CMPC Ventures to create textiles out of their pulp.  Related: With California Design Den bedding your conscience can rest easy “We are very excited about this new collaboration,” said Bernardita Araya, manager of CMPC Ventures. “For CMPC, this represents a significant step toward establishing a leading role in the development of the future of bio-based industries with global impact.” The market for man-made sustainable cellulosic plant-based textile fibers is expected to grow more than 10% in the next decade. Many startups in this space are Finnish, including Aalto University’s Ioncell fiber, Metsa Spring Oy’s Kuura fiber, Spinnova Oy’s fiber and Infinited Fibre Company’s Infinna fiber. “Current methods have a detrimental impact on the environment,” Nordic Bioproducts Group said in a statement. “Resource-intensive cotton production is already at an extreme, and polyester, in turn, is a major source of microplastic emissions. And, the production of wood-based viscose fiber requires dissolution with toxic carbon disulfide.” In the Nordic Bioproducts’ method, the cellulose is hydrolyzed in an environmentally-friendly and cost-efficient process. The fiber is then processed into a viscose-like textile fiber. The inventor of the AaltoCell method is Professor Olli Dahl at Aalto University.  The Norratex textile creation uses a wide variety of raw materials. It opens up this technology to multiple sustainable sources of fabric. Fibers can be made from forest industry by-products, textile waste and paper pulp. “This is a significant advantage over traditional viscose, which is made from dissolving pulp and the cost can be up to 30% higher than paper pulp,” Nordic Bioproducts said.  The Norratex method is also being explored for possible use in textile recycling.   Most fast fashion uses fiber blends containing both natural and plastic fibers, which makes recycling them a challenge. The AaltoCell technology offers one potential way to solve this problem by creating a new way to split the fibers into natural and plastic components. + Nordic Bioproducts Group Images via Photino Science, Pentti Pällijeff

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This living hammock is a swinging seat made of soil-less plants

October 2, 2017 by  
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Ever imagine swinging from the trees in a hammock made of plants? Spanish artist Ainhoa Garmendia is making the fantasy into reality. Her Naturalise installation features a hammock made out of soil-less living plants woven into a sturdy fabric. The piece is a statement that calls to fight our contemporary throw-away culture in favor of something lasting and living. “We are very used to short-life objects. We were taught that recycling is good, when the real solution is just not to produce waste. We take advantage of plants’ benefits, while they have many structural and functional characteristics to be applied when they are still alive” said Ainhoa Garmendia in an interview with Inhabitat. “Naturalise is a verb, an action and a process of creating objects that keep growing and are alive” explained the artist added. To realize Naturalise Ainhoa Garmendia chose Tillandsia Usneoides (known also as a Spanish Moss), a plant that needs no soil to grow and requires little water. Its long, soft fibers are a perfect medium for the hand weaving realized by the artist herself. The Naturalise hammock can be seen as a metaphor. The suspended in-air object made of plants, a typical earthly material, embodies an idea of reconnection with nature, bringing the idea of sustainability and eco-awareness to a new level. Related: Asif Khan creates spectacular furniture with flowers The Naturalise living hammock was first showcased in Milan at “I see colors everywhere” exhibition at La Triennale di Milano curated by the clothing brand United Colors of Benetton and Fabrica communication research center fore Milan Fashion Week 2017. + Ainhoa Garmendia Images via Maria Novozhilova for Inhabitat

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

July 13, 2017 by  
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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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Siemens and AES start new energy storage company to rival Tesla

July 13, 2017 by  
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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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This interactive woven canopy at MoMA PS1 changes colors as the sun sets

June 30, 2017 by  
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New Yorkers looking for a place to cool off during the summer will do well to duck into Long Island City’s MoMA PS1 – and it’s not just because the museum’s galleries are air-conditioned. A new interactive installation there, called Lumen , is an experience well-worth the trip. Lumen feels like a bright underwater landscape with 250 jellyfish-like tubular structures that interact with light, heat and movement. As the sun sets, colorful solar-powered lights come on, transforming the entire courtyard with an otherworldly vibe. Designed by Jenny Sabin Studio and debuting to the public June 29, Lumen is the winner of The Museum of Modern Arts and MoMA PS1’s 18th edition of the Young Architects Program and will serve as the setting for the 20th season of the Warm Up outdoor concert series this summer. The project integrates various disciplines, including biology, materials science, mathematics, engineering and design, to produce an artistic micro-climate that is both environmentally responsive and beautiful. The canopy is made of over 1,000,000 yards of digitally knitted and robotically woven fiber. During the day, the sun shines through the gaps in the canopy’s fabric to create murals of light and shadows against the concrete walls.Because the design requirements called for shade, water and seating, a responsive water system was incorporated into the hanging fabric tubes. Called stalactites, the tubes spray a fine mist when bodies draw near. In addition, 100 recycled spool stools (also robotically woven) provide a place to rest tired feet after a day roaming through the galleries, meeting another criteria that designs incorporate sustainability and recycling in its elements. The recycled fabric absorbs solar power over the course of the day and then emits it at night. Related: MoMA PS1 unveils futuristic solar canopy that reacts to heat, sunlight, and movement Lumen appeals to the senses; the soft white fabric is juxtaposed against the hard wooden seats and floors engraved with white geometric patterns. The installation invites visitors to play among the hanging fabric as water hits their skin. Lumen exudes both weightlessness and levity as the canopy sways in the breeze during the day and then almost an eeriness when it morphs into a photoluminescent wonderland. Once the Warm Up music series kicks off July 1, custom lighting incorporated into the installation’s design will complement the shows to provide both a visual and aural experience. All of which should make for one vibrant summer. Lumen will be on view at MoMA PS1’s courtyard from June 29 though August 27. + Jenny Sabin Studio All images by Dorkys Ramos for Inhabitat

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This interactive woven canopy at MoMA PS1 changes colors as the sun sets

China’s largest bike share launches air-purifying bicycles for 20 million citizens

June 30, 2017 by  
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In the near future, 20 million people will be able to clean the air as they cycle. To fight air pollution and create a healthier environment for future generations, eco-innovator Daan Roosegaarde just partnered with Chinese bike-sharing giant ofo and leading Chinese design platform TEZIGN to make his smog-free bicycles available to millions of consumers. Roosegaarde’s highly-anticipated Smog Free Bicycles inhale dirty air, clean it, and then release fresh air into the environment. The bicycles work similarly to Roosegaarde’s Smog Free Tower by providing “a healthy and energy-friendly solution for urbanites, combatting both traffic congestion and pollution issues in the city.” Both the Smog Free Tower and the smog-free bicycles are part of Roosegaarde’s larger vision to fill cities with fresh air. At present, the project is being developed in China and the Netherlands. Roosegaarde , a Dutch artist and innovator, first unveiled the concept for a Smog Free Bicycle at a TED talk. It wasn’t long before excitement grew for the innovation, resulting in the progress made thus far. In a statement, Roosegaarde said, “ Beijing used to be an iconic bicycle city. We want to bring back the bicycle as a cultural icon of China and as the next step towards smog free cities.” Related: Daan Roosegaarde’s smog-sucking tower will clean the skies of China The news was announced at a press conference at the World Economic Forum / AMNC17, in Dalian. Further details about the project will be revealed in coming months. There’s still a long way to go to slash pollution and traffic in China, but the Smog Free Bicycle offers a creative approach to the problem. + Studio Roosegaarde Images via Studio Roosegaarde , Pinterest

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Maidan Tent aims to improve life in refugee camps with pop-up public space

May 1, 2017 by  
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A Milan-based design studio created a portable pop-up building that aims to improve the lives of refugees. Named the Maidan Tent , the multifunctional 200-square-meter structure can host up to 100 people and is designed for easy installation and transportation to allow for deployment in almost any refugee camp . The design team also teamed up with Austrian nonprofit Echo100Plus to launch a crowdfunding campaign that hopes to donate the first-ever Maidan Tent to the Ritsona refugee camp in Greece. Most refugee camps are only designed to meet the basic necessities of survival, with public gathering spaces often overlooked. The Maidan Tent design team wants to fill this gap with their design of a beautiful airy tent named after the Arabic word for a public square. The tent is made up of eight subdivided areas that provide a diversity of spaces, including outdoor shaded verandas, semi-private spaces, and a large open common space in the center. The large openings on all sides of the tent allow for natural ventilation . The Maidan team writes: “The structure is designed with the following psychological aspects in mind: The round shape forms a center and is open to every side, inviting people from every direction. Subdivision into various zones make it possible to form various relation – ships and a sense of common ground. The multi-functional public space is flexible and can be quickly adapted to people’s needs. The Maidan tent is 4 meters high and has an area of 200 square meters that can accommodate more than a hundred people.” Related: German architecture students and refugees build a beautiful timber community center The Maidan Tent is designed for all climate zones and weather types and the aluminum skeleton is covered with a strong Pe + Pes textile that is resistant to water, strong winds, and fire . You can help bring the first Maidan Tent to Ritsona refugee camp, home to 700 refugees, by submitting a pledge to their Indiegogo campaign here . + Maidan Tent

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Maidan Tent aims to improve life in refugee camps with pop-up public space

New type of fabric harvests energy from the sun and movement

September 16, 2016 by  
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What if your clothes could harvest energy to power your smartphone? Eight Georgia Tech engineers pioneered a new type of hybrid textile that can harvest energy from two sources: the sun and movement. There could be several applications for the innovative fabric , including in clothing, curtains, or tents. The engineers utilized a ” commercial textile machine ” to weave the “hybrid power textile” or “hybrid energy fabric.” The fabric can harvest solar energy through solar cells made of polymer fibers. Triboelectric nanogenerators generate energy from movement. These materials are interwoven with wool . The resulting fabric is “highly flexible,” lightweight, and breathable, according to researchers. The journal Nature Energy published their research online earlier this week. Related: Never do laundry again: researchers create self-cleaning textiles! Paper co-author and Georgia Tech professor in Materials Science and Engineering Zhong Lin Wang said in a statement, “This hybrid power textile presents a novel solution to charging devices in the field from something as simple as the wind blowing on a sunny day.” To test the fabric, the engineers essentially created a flag with it and then drove around in a car as the flag blew in the wind out the window. Although the day was cloudy, a four by five centimeter piece of the fabric gathered enough energy to charge a “2 mF commerical capacitor” to two volts in just one minute. Next the engineers plan to encapsulate the fabric so it’s not harmed by moisture or rain. Early tests show the fabric can be used over and over, but the researchers want to test it further to see just how durable it might be over long periods of time. They think the fabric could be scaled up, as many of the materials used are inexpensive. The polymer fibers utilized are also “environmentally friendly.” + Georgia Tech Images via Georgia Tech

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