Breathtaking seaside hotel in Thailand practices radical reuse, grows 100% of its produce

March 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Overlooking a private bay along the Northern Coast of Koh Samui, Thailand, The Tongsai Bay Hotel boasts more than luxurious seaside accommodations. The award-winning family-owned resort was built within a 28 and a half acre landscape that remains home to 66 different species of birds and other wildlife. The green retreat maintains its virtuous mission by growing 100 percent of its produce and turning all food waste into fertilizer and a cleaning solution for its facilities, donating the rest to the island’s stray cats and dogs. This breathtaking oasis demonstrates how hotels can thrive within a completely natural habitat. Originally built in 1987, the environmentally-sensitive design of The Tongsai Bay was in many ways ahead of its time. Not a single tree was felled or damaged during construction, allowing the natural fauna and flora to flourish for all these years. 66 different species of birds and all sorts of wildlife, including lizards, can be found roaming the property at any given time. With 28 acres of lush green space, the owners could have filled the property with many more rooms for more revenue per square meter, but their passion for preserving the natural environment was more important. There is not a bad view in sight at The Tongsai Bay. Each of its 83 rooms, villas and cottages are enveloped in greenery and welcome a breathtaking sea view. And there are no motorized water sports allowed on the premises. Mini sail boats, paddle boards and kayaks are available, helping to maintain a serene environment for guests and the exotic wildlife that call this place home. The Tongsai Bay ‘s three restaurants are supplied daily with native produce sustainably grown on the farm located just a short drive from the main site. Everything from lemongrass, lettuce, eggplants, limes and bananas are produced on the farm and served in a rotating menu. They have even reused the hotel’s old bathtubs as planters. Any food waste is then transferred back to the farm. The vegetable scraps are soaked, broken down, and liquified into all-natural veggie cleaning solution used to clean the hotel toilets. The rest of the waste, including fish scraps, are placed into an open air fertilizer that is then used to grow new vegetables on the farm, thereby completing this impressive reuse cycle. Anything leftover that is mildly edible for consumption is donated to the large community of stray dogs and cats on the island. There are no insecticides, toxic cleaners, or chemical fragrances in sight at The Tonsai Bay. Bilimbi and kaffir lime , though too sour to eat, make incredibly effective cleaning solutions, both of which are native to Thailand and grown plentifully on the Tonsai Bay farm. They are peeled, broken down and liquified into a completely natural citrus cleaner and a room freshener for oil burners. Even textiles are reused: ripped bed sheets, for instance, are turned into napkins for their restaurants. Although tourism is Thailand’s largest industry, green practices are still not common practice. In most establishments, “takeaway” food is given to customers in Ziploc-like plastic bags and even smoothies are adorned with plastic handles. The Tongsai Bay is one place that has taken the environmental education of their staff very seriously, training them to recycle and minimize waste every day. Guests are also guided to do the same, with colorful separated trash and recycling bins peppered throughout the property. With rooms starting at $260 per night, The Tonsai Bay may not be affordable for everyone, but it is a shining example of green hospitality. We hope to see more hotels around the world embrace a self-sustaining model as grand as this. + The Tongsai Bay All images by Laura Mordas-Schenkein for Inhabitat

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Breathtaking seaside hotel in Thailand practices radical reuse, grows 100% of its produce

Artist’s incredibly realistic stone animals are begging to be cuddled

March 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

In a world of angst-driven, politically-minded art , stone artist Akie Nakata is giving us some artwork we’d just love to cuddle. The Japanese artist paints cutesy animals onto smooth rocks, creating images so realistic it’s hard to fight the urge to reach out and pet them. Nakata starts her artistic process by collecting stones of all shapes and sizes. Once she finds inspiration in its shape, she begins the process of painstakingly creating the palm-sized creatures. She spends an astonishing amount of time on each project, perfecting each brush stroke so the finished product has a realistic appearance. Related: These artists create mind-bending artwork solely from autumn leaves https://youtu.be/PjyefLV2Mrk She explains that her methodical process is inspired by her spiritual respect for nature and is what keeps her enjoying the work, “What I paint on stone is inspired by the stone itself,” she explains. “In order to bring out the living being that I feel in the stone to its surface, I proceed very carefully. I consider step by step, for example, whether I am positioning the backbone in the right place. Does it feel right? Am I forcing something that disagrees with the natural shape of the stone?” You can find the artist’s work on  Instagram , Facebook , and her website . + Akie Nakata Via Laughing Squid All images via Akie Nakata

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Artist’s incredibly realistic stone animals are begging to be cuddled

Quaint spruce-clad cottage was built by the owners using wood harvested on their own property

December 1, 2016 by  
Filed under Green

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This beautiful spruce-clad cottage in Norway was almost completely built by the owners themselves using materials harvested from their own forest. The 645-square foot building, designed by TYIN Tegnestue Architects , maintains the traditional Norwegian closeness to nature and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Sitting on a rocky site surrounded by a marshland , the 645-square-foot cottage looks like a cozy retreat that strips back daily life to its essentials. Its simple exterior is complemented by a warm, welcoming interior. The untreated spruce facade blends into the landscape and develops a beautiful even patina over time. Related: Norwegian Mountain Cottage Stands on Stilts to Preserve Native Reindeer Moss The structure rests on a concrete base and features three different levels that make the building appear lower and emphasize the connection between the interior and exterior. The main entry, sheltered from the elements by a shared gallery, is located next to the outhouse. Special attention was given to details, thanks to an unusually strong commitment of the clients who did most of the construction work themselves. + TYIN Tegnestue Architects Via Archdaily Photo by Pasi Aalto

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Quaint spruce-clad cottage was built by the owners using wood harvested on their own property

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