Vertical Line Garden engulfs visitors in a flurry of colorful kinetic tapes

July 19, 2017 by  
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Canadian design studio BACKOFFICE found a surprising and fun new use for commercial barrier tape for the Vertical Line Garden, a kinetic installation bursting with color that changes dramatically with the light and wind. Developed for the 2017 International Garden Festival in Quebec , the Vertical Line Garden offers a twist on the formal traditional garden, using “contemporary ready-made means and hyper un-natural materials.” The multi-sensory and interactive pavilion comes to life as the pavilion’s hanging barricade tapes move about in the wind and generate a flurry of sound and color. Now in its fourth iteration, the Vertical Line Garden began in 2014 as an exercise in horizontal elements. Today’s version is the most spatial of the four iterations and is entirely vertical with added color and pattern. The installation is built of mass-produced safety and construction materials including commercial barrier tape, a timber frame , and a net. These man-made elements create great contrast with the cultivated Les Jardins de Métis and also communicate the theme of environmental protection and safeguarding. Related: Intriguing ION2 installation in Seattle responds to the movement of passersby BACKOFFICE writes: “The main material forming the installation , barricade tape (barrier tape), is typically used to delineate a perimeter and keep people out of a particular area or zone. Here however it is used precisely to bring visitors into the space and entice them to inhabit it.” To encourage people to stay and use the space, custom-fabricated bent-metal and canvas lounge chairs are provided. The billowing canopy that engulfs the interior is a dazzling display of color, light, and pattern. + BACKOFFICE Images by Martin Bond

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Vertical Line Garden engulfs visitors in a flurry of colorful kinetic tapes

Amazing low-cost, off-grid Lifehaus homes are made from recycled materials

July 4, 2017 by  
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This amazing home by Lifehaus blends low-cost off-grid appeal with with holistic living and luxurious details. The Lebanon -based company started by Nizar Haddad is pioneering energy neutral dwellings made from locally sourced and recycled materials . People living in the green homes will be able to generate their own electricity and grow their own food. Lifehaus homes include a greenhouse for growing food and solar panels for generating renewable energy . It promotes sustainable water use through rainwater collection and grey water reuse. And all this comes with a price tag of around half the average cost of an unfurnished Lebanese home, which is around $800 per square meter. Related: The first off-grid Ecocapsule microhomes are shipping to customers this year Lifehaus addresses many societal issues in their sustainable dwellings that offer a way of life more in touch with the Earth. “Lebanon’s construction industry is one of the leading factors behind desertification in the country,” Media Representative Nadine Mazloum told Inhabitat. “Entire hills and mountains are being turned into wastelands as demand for conventional buildings continues to rise. Also, with Lebanon being a post-war country, successive governments, since 1990, and up until now have been and continue to be unable to provide many of the country’s citizens with round-the-clock water and electricity – so this got us thinking of going off the grid.” Lebanon has been suffering from a trash epidemic , and the crisis propelled the team into action in 2015, according to Mazloum. She said, “As garbage was left on the streets for months at a time, we felt that we could no longer wait and so dedicated ourselves fully to Lifehaus.” Lifehaus treats that waste as treasure by incorporating recycled materials in the dwellings. They also allow for composting organic trash for use in the garden as fertilizer. Passive design keeps a Lifehaus cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The homes can be partially buried, with the roofs offering additional food-growing space. This helps them be more earthquake-resistant and minimizes heat loss. The homes’ low cost design could work for housing in developing countries , or for refugees . Lifehaus counts Earthship among their sources of inspiration, and creator Michael Reynolds has endorsed the project. Lifehaus is drawing on ancestral building techniques, such as using mud and clay as opposed to concrete, and treating those materials with linseed oil and lime. Construction on the first 1,722 square foot prototype will begin next month in Baskinta, Lebanon, and Lifehaus hopes to get the community involved. “Now is the time for the human species to reconcile with nature . Our collective lifestyles are no longer sustainable,” Mazloum told Inhabitat. “The Lifehaus is not just about building a house, it’s about community and communication. We hope to reinforce the feeling of being in a community and communicating a strong message that yes, we can all make a change no matter how dark the world seems.” + Lifehaus + NH-Architectes Images courtesy of Lifehaus

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Amazing low-cost, off-grid Lifehaus homes are made from recycled materials

Abused piglet dumped at animal shelter undergoes miraculous transformation

July 4, 2017 by  
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Though we may never know why some people abuse animals (or other people), it’s heartening to know compassionate individuals do still exist. The Dodo shares a story about the folks at Sale Ranch Sanctuary , who saved a young piglet’s life. The pig, named Cherry Blossom, lived in unspeakable conditions before she was finally dumped at an animal shelter in California that primarily cares for cats and dogs. Though she wasn’t expected to survive due to a severe case of sarcoptic mange, Cherry Blossom made a complete recovery. Hit the jump to hear her story. The Dodo reports that Cherry Blossom was abandoned at a shelter near Temecula, California. The staff says the man who dropped her off claimed she was a stray. However, it is suspected she was previously owned and developed conditions due to improper care. Said Jen Sale, CEO and founder of Sale Ranch Sanctuary, “She had an incredibly severe case of  sarcoptic mange,  which is one of the most severe types of mange you can get. If it’s not treated, it can be fatal.” “They [the shelter workers] think it was the rancher who actually brought her in. He didn’t care for her when she got sick. Instead, he just dropped her off and said he found her,” she added. Because the shelter doesn’t care for pigs, employees quickly contacted the nearby farm sanctuary . Sale, who has worked with livestock for years, suspects Cherry Blossom lived in “overcrowded, filthy conditions.” She said, “As a baby, her immune system was still developing, and she kind of got walloped.” The mange didn’t just look bad, it was also causing Cherry Blossom a lot of pain. Despite this, she was very friendly toward Sale and her husband. “She still wanted comfort from us,” Sale said. “We’d come and put the medicine on her, and she learned very quickly that we were helping her. And even though she was in so much pain, she’d snuggle up and want us to rub her belly. She’s just a testimony for how forgiving and loving animals are.” Related: Rombaut makes cruelty-free leather shoes from discarded pineapple leaves After seeing a veterinarian , the pig began receiving healing cream rubs and laser light therapy. Two months later, her mange has cleared up and, as a result, Cherry Blossom’s hair is regrowing. “Her hair is fully growing in, and her skin is totally good,” Sale said. “The transformation really is amazing.” Feeling better, Cherry Blossom’s personality is also coming out. “She’s super silly,” Sale said. “She’ll play with her ball. She loves her little mud hole. And she gets along with everybody. She runs around with our dogs, she goes over to our barnyard to visit the animals there. She’s just a sweetheart, and all she wants is attention and affection from people.” Remarking on the deed of restoring the piglet to proper health, Sale said, “We’re just really grateful and blessed that we were able to bring her home and take care of her and get her healthy. Even though she kind of had a rough start to life, she’s doing very well. She’s going to have a really beautiful life.” If you feel inspired, consider donating to the Sale Ranch Sanctuary . Via The Dodo Images via Sale Ranch Sanctuary

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Abused piglet dumped at animal shelter undergoes miraculous transformation

Light-filled cancer center harnesses the healing power of nature

July 4, 2017 by  
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The healing powers of nature have been put to good use in the recently completed Maggie’s Oldham. London-based architecture studio dRMM completed this cross-laminated timber building, one of the United Kingdom’s many Maggie’s Centers that provide free practical, emotional, and social support for people with cancer. Nature surrounds the light-filled building both inside and out, from the garden that the center floats above to the tree that grows through the building. Built on the grounds of an NHS cancer hospital in Oldham, the recently completed Maggie’s Center is the first permanent structure of its kind built of sustainable hardwood cross-laminated timber . The architects write: “In wood there is hope and warmth, its use at Maggie’s Oldham is part of a bigger design intention to reverse the norms of hospital architecture, where institutionalised environments can leave patients dispirited.” All the surfaces show off the natural timber finish and the thermally modified tulipwood cross-laminated timber was carefully detailed to bring out its natural beauty. Cut-offs from the CLT fabrication process were recycled for use in the slatted ceiling. Related: Beautiful light-filled Maggie’s Cancer Center opens up to nature in Manchester To lift the spirits of whoever comes by, Maggie’s Oldham greets visitors with airy, light-filled spaces and unexpected views towards the garden below, the sky above, and out to the Pennine horizon. Large windows with American white oak frames let in copious amounts of natural light. The minimalist boxy building is elevated on slender columns above a garden framed by pine, birch, and tulip poplar trees. A tree grows up through the building at its heart, creating a central oasis that brings nature inside. The use of timber, rather than cold metal, complements the greenery and gives the building a sense of warmth. Wood fiber insulation is used for a breathable healthy environment. + dRMM Via ArchDaily Images © Alex de Rijke

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Light-filled cancer center harnesses the healing power of nature

World’s Smallest Garden lets you recycle old bottles into adorable hydroponic gardens

June 7, 2017 by  
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You can always recycle an old wine bottle , but what if you could transform it into a tiny garden instead? Urban Leaf empowers people to grow food at home through the World’s Smallest Garden, and upcycle used bottles into planters. It takes minutes to put together one of the mini gardens, which can grow greens and herbs year-round – and you can snag one on the cheap right now on Kickstarter . The World’s Smallest Garden is comprised of a 3D-printed cylindrical device, or plug, that fits right into the neck of an old bottle. The plastic used in the product is biodegradable . Users fill the bottle with water, insert the device filled with soil and seeds, and sit back and let the plants grow. Plants can draw on that initial water source for a month, and then users can add water as needed. Related: Build your own indoor garden with modular LEGO-like blocks Dill, lettuce, bok choy, and basil are just a few of the plants that can be grown with the World’s Smallest Garden. Users will be able to start harvesting the plants after around four to six weeks. The team designed the garden with the idea that plants would grow just in the bottle, although co-founder Robert Elliott told Inhabitat it should work to move a plant into a planter since hydroponically grown plants typically transplant well. They’ve been able to grow herbs like mint and parsley for five months in bottles, and even grew dwarf tomatoes to fruit in a World’s Smallest Garden. Elliott and Nathan Littlewood started Urban Leaf to work towards a better food system. On their website they say they believe growing food in urban areas solves many of the issues with the modern food industry , allowing for less waste, less packaging, and shorter supply chains. But many people living in cities don’t have a lot of space to grow gardens, an obstacle Urban Leaf overcomes with the World’s Smallest Garden. Elliott told Inhabitat, “The design process for the World’s Smallest Garden was an effort to create the most minimal product that still effectively grew plants. We started with a ‘bells and whistles’ prototype and removed lights, pumps, multiple substrates, nutrient packets, and even the reservoir. Brown or green glass bottles are a natural fit for a reservoir (they block harmful red/blue light while allowing you to see in) and most people just throw them away! By selling just the essential component to turn existing waste into a hydroponic reservoir we save customers money and reduce our manufacturing and shipping environmental impact.” Urban Leaf is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter . You can get a single pack that comes with three plugs and seeds for $15. Check out the Kickstarter here . + Urban Leaf Images courtesy of Urban Leaf

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World’s Smallest Garden lets you recycle old bottles into adorable hydroponic gardens

Green Your Garden: 10 Water-Conscious Design Tips

April 11, 2017 by  
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Note: This post contains affiliate links, which helps fund our Recycling Directory, the most comprehensive in North America. How green does your garden grow? If your yard requires an abundance of water to maintain that brightly colored curb appeal,…

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New York City’s "floating food forest" returns next month

March 22, 2017 by  
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If you missed it the last time around, Swale New York’s “floating food forest” will be giving visitors another chance to check out its vegetative bounty starting next month. Housed on an 80-foot-long barge, the 130-by-40-foot community garden will be making calls at Hudson River Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the Bronx’s Concrete Plant Park from April 20 through November 15. The garden is free to tour—and free to harvest. Guests will be able to help themselves to a share of the mini farm’s crops, which in past iterations have included perennial favorites like cauliflower, broccoli, squash, peppers, kale, bok choy, ramps, zucchini, radicchio, and scallions. You may even find boughs laden with persimmons, bushes plump with blueberries, or trees hanging with bananas. Part farm, part art project, Swale is a response to laws that prohibit foraging for food on public lands. By taking to the water, however, the garden is bound by a different set of rules. Related: Come eat free food from this floating edible forest before it sets sail again 70 percent of the plants grown on the barge are edible. The others are to attract pollinators—including the bees that live in a repurposed piano—or keep pests away. Mary Mattingly, the artist who spearheaded the project, says that Swale brings us “one step closer to transforming our city from dependence on large-scale supply chains with little accountability.” Related: NYC’s first floating food forest to hit the Hudson River this summer She describes Swale as a “call to action” and a vision of New York City’s potential future. “By bringing together groups from varying backgrounds, we will create an environment that works together to find new ideas and answers to food security,” she said. Visitors are welcome to contribute to the garden with their own plants and seeds. It’s a joint effort, after all. “Together, we are re-imagining our city,” Mattingly added. + Swale New York

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London’s first floating park slated to open this spring

February 2, 2017 by  
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London is about to get its first floating pocket park as part of a citywide greening initiative. Thanks to recent approval from the local city council, a floating 730-square-meter green-covered platform, designed by garden designer Tony Woods of The Garden Club, is now slated to open this spring at Merchant Square on the Grand Union Canal. The large green platform, which will be the first of its kind for the City, will have a lush green lawn surrounded by nectar-rich mixed raised borders. Various textural herbaceous plants and grasses will decorate the space year-round, but the color scheme will change with the seasons, stem color in autumn, scented winter flowers, spring bulbs, and an abundance of colorful flowers in summer Related: Floating urban greenhouse produces clean energy and organic food The park will also contain a “bespoke planting” scheme aimed at encouraging local wildlife to inhabitat the space, even adding a separate pontoon area for ground-nesting birds . Apart from the feathered friends, the pavilion, which will have its own canal boat mooring, will have a capacity of up to 120 visitors and offer free Wi-Fi for those looking for outdoor work space. The pocket park will have plenty of communal seating as well as a series of decked platforms and walkways where people can walk over water. The park is part of the Greater London Authority’s green infrastructure initiative, which aims to improve local infrastructure, as well as green parks and water canal and riverside spaces across the city. Andrew Scrivener, Chief Executive at European Land hailed the planning approval, “Outdoor spaces are a key ingredient in any successful neighbourhood. At Merchant Square this incredible Floating Pocket Park – the first in London – will not only provide green space for our residents and unique outside workplace for our occupiers, but creates an oasis in the West End, offering Londoners a way to actively reconnect with the canal.” + Tony Woods Via Hyperallergic

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London’s first floating park slated to open this spring

Airbnb and Pantone create a hidden nature-filled home in London

February 1, 2017 by  
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Airbnb teamed up with Pantone to create a magical nature-filled wonderland in the heart of the London. Inspired by the Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year called 15-0343 Greenery, the “Outside In” House is a secret indoor garden listed on Airbnb’s home-sharing site for overnight stays. The transformation of a brick Clerkenwell building into a lush greenhouse-like oasis is stunning—keep reading to see how the creative companies let lucky renters spend the night in color. Pantone’s pick for the Color of the Year 2017, called Greenery, is a bright yellow-green shade symbolic of new beginnings that evokes images of budding plants in springtime. The ‘Outside In’ House was created to let people “live the color” starting with its eye-catching door, designed to look like a Pantone Greenery swatch card. The door swings open to reveal a slice of a woodland forest for the reception area, with live ferns, moss , grass, and trees planted beside stepping stones made of tree stumps. “As guests cross the earthy threshold, they will be fully immersed in the outside, in,” says the Airbnb press release. “They will be greeted by the house ‘groundskeeper’ with a fresh and healthy green juice, made locally and color-matched to PANTONE 15-0343 Greenery. As they leave they can rest assured that the house is environmentally green too; all materials will be recycled where possible and spare plants will be donated to community gardens .” In addition to the woodland reception, the two-bedroom Greenery flat included an indoor greenhouse that doubled as a dining room, garden-like bedrooms with real turf as carpets, topiaries, soporific plants, a teepee for children, a hydroponics installation, a rainforest-themed bathroom, and a kitchen with walls filled with live vegetables and herbs available for guests to pick. A soothing soundtrack with nature sounds accompanies the lush, nature-filled environment. The flat accommodated families of up to four people a night. Related: Airbnb invites visitors to experience Finnish cabin life in Paris The temporary Outside-In house welcomed guests for £200 a night from January 27 to January 30, and was also open for free visits during those three days. All proceeds were donated to the American Institute of Graphic Arts . The unique Airbnb home, hosted by Pantone, was located at 4 Dingley Place, Clerkenwell. + Outside-In House

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Airbnb and Pantone create a hidden nature-filled home in London

Naturally-ventilated PM House remains cool even during Yucatan’s hottest months

January 18, 2017 by  
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The lush garden surrounding this sprawling residence in Yucatan, Mexico helps the house remain cool and ventilated in even the hottest, most humid weather. The single-story PM House designed by FGO Arquitectura provides easy access to all areas, which are connected by a network of ramps , steps and movable partitions. Each space within the house has its own identity and unique views of the garden without sacrificing privacy. The design, inspired by the region’s dense forests, is broken up into smaller volumes organized along three axes connecting the living quarters, located near the swimming pool , with guest rooms and private bedrooms. Strategic positioning of open spaces ensures natural ventilation, another strategy working to keep the house cool despite outdoor temperatures, without undue electricity use. Overall, the architects’ use of low-maintenance materials and vegetation has resulted in a comforting, tranquil environment that we’re quite envious of. + FGO Arquitectura Via Archdaily Photos by Gloria Medina

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Naturally-ventilated PM House remains cool even during Yucatan’s hottest months

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