This modular outdoor swimming pool from Finland could make a splash near you

August 1, 2018 by  
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Reclaiming the waterfront with outdoor swimming pools isn’t a new concept, but Office for Peripheral Architecture (OOPEAA)’s latest design stands out from the pack with its modular and scalable design that can be applied in a wide variety of settings. Declared the winner of an invited architecture competition organized by Töölö Urban for the Allas Sea Pool Family , the Finnish architecture firm’s proposal was selected for its embrace of the outdoors and incorporation of local culture. Dubbed the ‘New Nordic Urban,’ the floating sea pool will use a modular and flexible building system constructed with recyclable cross-laminated timber elements. The first Allas Sea Pool opened in the heart of Helsinki in May 2016 and has been positively received, not least because of its year-round operations. The company now has hopes of going global with its outdoor pools and multifunctional spaces. OOPEAA won the competition with its flexible and adjustable design that exudes the “Nordic values of good life” with its inviting character and waterfront connection. “The winning proposal for the new global concept for the Allas Sea Pool Family by OOPEAA takes the notion of the New Nordic Urban as its starting point,” explains OOPEAA. “The ‘New Nordic Urban’ is defined as a sense of experience. It brings together the Nordic sensibility for the contemplation on nature with a healthy orientation towards physical activity and an urban inclination towards the social aspects of life. It is a celebration of the Nordic values of egalitarian sharing and good life. The ‘New Nordic Urban’ is essentially about bringing together the social sense of the urban (to see and to be seen + to share in the company of others) and a chance to enjoy nature and the element of water (contemplation + physical activity and sports).” Related: Detox your troubles away in this new public sauna built of natural materials Sustainability is also a part of the design, which will be built primarily of cross-laminated timber , the modular parts of which can be transported over waterways. The design’s scalable nature covers a wide range of sizes – from the smallest, with an indoor area of 800 square meters on a 2,000-square-meter floating platform, to the largest, with an indoor area of 3,500 square meters on a 10,000-square-meter platform. OOPEAA’s first design will be built in Oulu in Northern Finland with a slated completion date of 2019. + Office for Peripheral Architecture Via ArchDaily Images via Office for Peripheral Architecture

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This modular outdoor swimming pool from Finland could make a splash near you

Zero Waste Bistro offers four days of sustainable food and design in NYC

May 21, 2018 by  
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Sustainability is on the menu at Zero Waste Bistro , a pop-up dining experience and installation that’s exploring how great design can drastically reduce the problem of restaurant food waste. Launched as part of NYCxDESIGN’s marquee event, WantedDesign Manhattan, the four-day Zero Waste Bistro — open May 19 through May 22, 2018 — is presented by the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York. The bistro introduces the philosophy behind Nolla, Finland’s first zero-waste restaurant in Helsinki. Recycled and recyclable elements are featured throughout the laboratory of food and design, from the construction materials to the tasting menu. Co-curated by Finnish designers Harri Koskinen and Linda Bergroth, the Zero Waste Food Bistro is helmed by Nolla chefs who have created a thought-provoking tasting menu. They use local and organic ingredients as well as commonly overlooked food byproducts, such as oyster mushrooms with doenjang miso and spent grain crumble. In addition to a dining experience, the pop-up event also includes workshops and talks centered on healthy materials, the circular economy and zero-waste fashion. “It’s time to rethink the way we live, the way we eat and the materials we use,” said Kaarina Gould, Executive Director of the Finnish Cultural Institute . “With Zero Waste Bistro, we’re proposing a future that reduces waste and helps to regenerate our natural environment, making it livable for generations to come; a future that’s already here if we make the right choices.” Zero Waste Bistro is constructed from high-performance recyclable components, including Durat surfaces and ReWall building materials, made entirely from upcycled packaging and industrial waste. All packaging is plastic-free, from Kotkamills’ takeaway cups made from plastic-free repulpable cartonboard to Sulapac packaging products constructed with sustainably sourced wood from Nordic forests. The bistro also prominently showcases iconic Nordic design with Alvar Aalto stools and lamps and Iittala tableware sourced from the Finnish Design Shop , the world’s largest online store for Nordic design. Related: Britain’s first zero-waste store is packaging-free and only sells ethical goods The Zero Waste Bistro’s tasting menu will be served at brunch, lunch and breakfast during the four-day event, which ends Tuesday. You can see a full listing of talks and workshops here . Reservations for the dining experience must be made in advance. + Zero Waste Bistro Images by Nicholas Calcott

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Is there enough water and land on Earth to meet global food demands?

May 21, 2018 by  
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According to the United Nations, there are 7.6 billion people living on Earth today. Of those 7.6 billion, 815 million people are already going hungry . And, on top of that, the UN expects the global population to jump to 9.8 billion by 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100. These figures raise a troubling question: will it be physically possible to feed the world’s population as it continues to grow? Do We Have Enough Resources? Currently, we already produce more food than we need to feed the existing global population. According to Gordon Conway, author of One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World?, an equal division of all the food on earth would provide every person with 2,800 calories a day , which is more than enough for a healthy diet. In fact, recent analysis by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations indicated that it would be technically feasible to feed the 2050 population with available land and water. However, that prediction comes with significant caveats. Having enough food doesn’t mean no one will go hungry, as evidenced by the current global situation. And it certainly doesn’t mean we can feed the world sustainably. So, while it may be technically feasible, what needs to happen to truly meet global demand for food without destroying the planet? Overall, there are three main changes we should focus on. 1. Increasing Efficiency While we could potentially clear more land to use for agriculture, it would be better to avoid doing so. The tactics we’ve used to increase yields and farmland in the past have caused severe environmental damage, such as increased erosion and pollution. However, we now know more about farming practices’ environmental impacts and have developed new, high-tech ways to increase farm productivity without damaging the environment. For example, precision farming delivers water and fertilizer to plants much more efficiently. Advanced sensors, automated tractors and more can also help reduce crop loss and increase yield. Organic farming plays a vital role as well, as it reduces the use of harmful fertilizers and pesticides. Related: Less fertilizer, greater crop yields, and more money: China’s agricultural breakthrough These changes will likely have to be implemented in developed countries, since farmers in poorer countries typically have fewer resources and, as a result, focus primarily on their own operations. 2. Changing Diets Different diets require vastly different amounts of land, water and other resources. The most resource-intensive are those of wealthy nations, which tend to eat more animal products. For example, if the entire world followed the same diet as the United States, we would need 138 percent of the world’s habitable land to feed the global population. In other words, it would be impossible. We also tend to waste food by feeding livestock. Livestock consume 36 percent o f crops grown around the world, and their caloric intake far outstrips the calories that humans receive from the resulting animal products. For every 100 calories of grain that we feed to livestock, we can get 40 calories of milk, 12 calories of chicken or just three of beef. If developed countries around the world committed to reducing the amount of food they consume, or if more people removed meat and animal products from their diets, these actions could help save both food and resources. 3. Reducing Waste Reducing food waste is a simple yet crucial way to help feed the world. At present, approximately 25 percent of all of the food calories we produce  – enough to feed every hungry person in the world – is lost or wasted. Surprisingly, one of the most effective strategies for reducing food waste doesn’t have to do with food directly. Instead, it involves societal changes such as reducing poverty, improving access to education and promoting equal rights. In general, quantity of food isn’t the problem, but rather access to the food itself. When people can escape poverty, society as a whole can afford to pay farmers more for their crops, meaning farms can sell their produce domestically rather than export it. Increasing small farms’ profits also enables them to access the resources they need to farm sustainably and further increase yields. So, as it turns out, the earth likely does have enough natural resources to meet our growing demand for food, but it’s not quite as simple as just growing more food. We need to start making some fundamental changes in the way we think about food, agriculture, poverty and hunger to make sure everyone has enough to eat. Images via Unsplash and Pixabay (1) , (2) ,  (3)

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Is there enough water and land on Earth to meet global food demands?

Parsons School of Design unveils sustainable public seating in New York City

May 21, 2018 by  
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Leave it to the creative minds at the Parsons School of Design to renovate public seating for a more eco-friendly world. The school recently unveiled Street Seats, a sustainably-designed public seating area made from repurposed and biodegradable products for New Yorkers to find respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. The public space, which the school unveiled this week, was inspired by the need to create more seating areas for people to relax and take a load off. In a place like New York City , public seating can be quite limited. Students from the school’s architecture, interior design, product design, and food studies departments envisioned and built Street Seats over two parking spaces on the corner of 13th street and 5th Avenue in Greenwich Village. The students crafted the space with a variety of reclaimed materials . They used rot-resistant western red cedar to build tables and stools, which were then covered in repurposed fishing nets . Related: DIY Softwalks Kits Let You Turn Ugly Scaffolding into Fun Pop-Up Parks! The lighting system in the installation is completely off-grid and operates on solar energy . After sunset, a daylight sensor activates LED lights to provide a well-lit atmosphere. The seating area is surrounded by planters to reduce traffic noise and create a pleasant environment. The planters are made with biodegradable coconut fibers and jet webbing  and house herbs and native plants. The Greenbelt Native Plant Center donated seeds for the project. + Parsons New School of Design Images by Rafael Flaksburg via Parsons New School of Design

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Finland’s two-year universal basic income experiment is coming to an end

April 19, 2018 by  
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The Finnish government is planning to conclude its much-touted universal basic income experiment at the end of a two-year study period instead of extending it. Since early 2017, the Finnish government gave 2,000 unemployed Finns between the ages of 25 and 58 an unconditional monthly payment of 560 euros, or $690. “Right now, the government is making changes that are taking the system further away from a basic income,” Kela researcher Miska Simanainen told Svenska Dagbladet . Though there had been plans to include workers in the basic income experiment starting in early 2018, this did not happen. Because workers were not included, researchers are limited in their ability to analyze the impact of universal basic income in promoting career changes or job training. “Two years is too short a time frame to be able to draw extensive conclusions from such a vast experiment,” basic income expert Olli Kangas told YLE . “We ought to have been given additional time and more money to achieve reliable results.” While Finland’s experiment is wrapping up with potentially disappointing results, basic income is an increasingly popular social policy among tech sector leaders, such as Elon Musk , Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes and futurist Ray Kurzweil. Related: Stockton, California is launching the first basic income experiment in the US Finland’s government seems less enthused about basic income. The Finnish government recently passed a bill that requires unemployed people to work at least 18 hours over three months or risk losing their benefits. “When the basic income experiment ends this year, we should launch a universal credit trial,” Finnish Finance Minister Petteri Orpo told Hufvudstadsbladet . Such a trial could be modeled on the United Kingdom ‘s system, which combines various benefits and tax credits into a single account. More comprehensive results from Finland’s basic income experiment will be available after the trial’s conclusion at the end of 2018. Via Business Insider Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia

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Scientists create revolutionary ultra-white paint inspired by beetles

March 27, 2018 by  
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Researchers have unveiled what could be the whitest natural substance, composed of cellulose and inspired by the  Cyphocilus beetle native to Southeast Asia . The material, which has yet to be named, is lightweight, thin, and has the ability to effectively scatter light, resulting in an exceptionally bright white color. The coating is also edible and non-toxic and could change how we use paint. The secret to the coating’s success is its insect inspiration, whose thin chitlin scales are formed in a dense light-reflecting mat that causes the beetle to appear vibrantly white. In a new study published in  Advanced Materials , scientists at the University of Cambridge and Aalto University in Finland explain how they used fine strands of cellulose , or cellulose nanofibrils, to create a scale-like membrane through a process known as mechanical defibrillation. At only a few millionths of a meter, the subsequent membrane is one of the thinnest materials ever created that is capable of appearing white. “What is cool is that with a really low amount of material, you can achieve a high intensity of reflection and whiteness,” Cambridge University researcher Dr. Silvia Vignolini told Hyperallergic . “You don’t need to have thick material to have get 100% white, 100% reflection.” Related: Praying mantises wearing tiny glasses help researchers discover new type of 3D vision At the moment, the coating is still somewhat weak. However, researchers hope to develop a more hardy version for wider applications. “Ideally we would like to make a powder that can be readily used and applied directly as you would do with a standard pigment,” explained Vignolini. When this pigment is mixed with an organic solvent, it would then enable for the quick, one-layer application of white paint to most surfaces. The coating’s cellulose composition makes it an ideal replacement for other white products, most of which contain unsustainable materials such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Importantly, the ultra-white powder will likely be quite inexpensive. Via Hyperallergic Images via Olimpia Onelli/University of Cambridge

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Spectacular Game of Thrones ice hotel opens in Finnish Lapland

January 10, 2018 by  
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Great news Game of Thrones fans—White Walkers and dragons have arrived in the one of the coolest hotels to open this winter season: The Games of Thrones-themed Lapland Hotels SnowVillage. Created in collaboration with HBO Nordic, this temporary themed hotel offers stunningly sculpted rooms made almost entirely of snow and ice . Those hoping for a visit to the Seven Kingdoms will need to hurry—the hotel will only be around until April 8, 2018. The Games of Throne-themed hotel is located in Finland’s Kittilä, about 90 minutes away from Helsinki. The hotel comprises 24 rooms, 10 of which are available to overnight guests. International ice artists were invited to bring the hotel to life and the undeniable highlight is the massive carving of a demonic White Walker looming over a bed. There’s also an icy Iron Throne, a dragon guardian at the ice bar, and a dragon-shaped ice slide. Related: Iconic Game of Thrones battle brought to life with massive 3D embroidery The ice hotel is kept at temperatures of minus five degrees Celsius. Guests who want warmer accommodation can stay in separate log cabins on site. There’s also a cinema, chapel, arctic bar, and a restaurant at the SnowVillage. Room bookings at the ice hotel start at $200 and entry to the SnowVillage is $18. + Lapland Hotels SnowVillage Via CNN Travel Images via Lapland Hotels SnowVillage

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Spectacular Game of Thrones ice hotel opens in Finnish Lapland

Smart living wall monitored by artificial intelligence purifies indoor air

November 14, 2017 by  
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We spend around 22 hours per day inside, often exposed to more pollutants than we are outside. In an effort to improve indoor air quality and reconnect humans with nature , Finland -based health technology company Naava has designed a smart green wall monitored by sensors and artificial intelligence . They describe their product as a “fully automated air purifier, humidifier, and living plant wall all in one,” and even boast a scientific study to support the claim that their wall sucks pollutants out of the air. The philosophy behind Naava’s green wall is fairly simple: plants absorb air, the microbes of their roots purify that air, and then fans send the purified air back into the room. Plants grow in a soiless growth medium on the vertical garden , which can be attached to a wall or act as a space divider. It can even be set up on a wheelbase to move freely around a room. The green wall is equipped with an integrated water tank, and doesn’t require natural light as it has a lamp. Related: Nearly 10,000 plants grow on NYC’s largest public indoor green wall Naava co-founder and chief technology officer Niko Järvinen said in a statement , “Every American inhales as much as 3,000 gallons of contaminated indoor air every day…Humans are not at their most efficient and healthiest in an artificial indoor environment. Naava wants to change that and create human-friendly and health-enhancing indoors spaces with the help of the world’s only smart green wall.” The green walls naturalize 650 square feet of air, according to the company. They say their product reduces harmful chemicals in the air, and a study released online late October in the journal Air Quality, Atmosphere, and Health seems to back that up. Seven researchers from institutions in Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom tested Naava’s green wall and found a high level of volatile organic compound removal efficiency, according to the study. The Naava service team maintains the green walls every four to six weeks, and charges $249 a month for their Nature as a Service solution. The team boasts more than 1,000 smart green wall installations, and recently introduced their green wall to the United States at this year’s Greenbuild . They also recently opened a New Jersey production facility. + Naava Images courtesy of Naava

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Finland has their own ice hotel – and a sauna made almost entirely of snow

September 5, 2017 by  
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The Arctic SnowHotel in Finland takes relaxing to a chill new level with their Snow Sauna : a sauna that, save for the wood benches, is comprised entirely of ice and snow . As the sauna’s snowflake walls melt, they fill the space with more steam. Complete with glass igloos and an outdoor Jacuzzi, this hotel is a cool place to spend a few days. And a bonus? It has great views of the Northern Lights . If snow is your thing, look no further than Arctic SnowHotel & Glass Igloos for your next vacation. They offer accommodations for 70 in their SnowHotel , with transparent beds made of ice and snow, topped with sleeping bags and reindeer furs. They carve the hotel differently each year. They also offer Glass Igloos so visitors can enjoy spectacular views of the Northern Lights before they fall asleep. Related: Sweden’s new ICEHOTEL 365 uses solar cooling to stay open all year-round And then there’s the Snow Sauna. The sauna’s snow walls are around five feet thick. They melt as the sauna’s stove runs, losing around three to five millimeters a session. When the sauna melts completely, the hotel builds another. Off The Map Travel expert Katie Watson said of the Snow Sauna, “The sauna bathing experience is an astonishing combination of thick steam with intimate snow walls, which create a magical feeling of relaxation. It’s not like anything I’ve ever experienced before.” Arctic IceHotel also offers more traditional Finnish saunas and an outdoor Jacuzzi. Temperatures inside the hotel range between a brisk -5 and 0 degrees Celsius, or between 23 and 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Continuing their wintry theme, the hotel offers an ice bar with drinks served in frozen ice glasses, and a restaurant with ice tables and ice dishes. The Glass Igloos are open between November 20 and March 31, while the SnowHotel is open between December 20 and March 31. + Arctic SnowHotel & Glass Igloos Via Business Insider Images via Arctic SnowHotel & Glass Igloos and Arctic SnowHotel & Glass Igloos Facebook

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Finland has their own ice hotel – and a sauna made almost entirely of snow

Provocative timber horn explores the hypnotic pull of the unknown

July 24, 2017 by  
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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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