Upcycled plastic bottles are used to create this durable emergency shelter

June 14, 2019 by  
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Innovative design start-up Six Miles Across London Limited (small.) has just unveiled an emergency shelter made almost entirely out of upcycled plastic bottles . The Recycled BottleHouse is a pyramid-shaped shelter that was constructed from a bamboo frame covered in discarded plastic bottles. Recently debuted at the Clerkenwell Design Week, the innovative shelter is an example of how a truly circular economy is feasible with just a little design know-how. Related: MIT students find a way to make stronger concrete with plastic bottles Designed to be used for emergencies in remote parts of the world, the Recycled BottleHouse shelter is made out of low-cost, lightweight and sustainably sourced materials and built to be thermally comfortable. The frame of the structure is made out of thin bamboo rods joined together in the form of a tipi. The frame is then entirely covered with discarded plastic bottles filled with hay to provide privacy to the interior. For extra stability, the shelter flooring is made out of bottles filled with sand that are burrowed into the landscape. Next, hollow bottles are placed around the main bamboo frame to create four walls with a front door that swings upward. Inside, the space provides protection from both solar radiation and precipitation. The interior also boasts a lantern made from plastic bottles powered by the shelter’s integrated PV panels . According to small. founder Ricky Sandhu, the emergency shelter was inspired by the need to find feasible and sustainable solutions to the world’s growing plastic problem. Sandhu said, “We believe ‘BottleHouse’ provides a new formula for the world’s growing problem of discarded plastic bottles by transforming them into rapidly deployable, protective and valuable shelters in areas of the world that need them the most and, at the same time, setting a new mission for the rest of the world to think about and contribute to — a new circular economy .” + Six Miles Across London Limited Images via Six Miles Across London Limited

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Upcycled plastic bottles are used to create this durable emergency shelter

McDonalds creates McHives to raise awareness of the world’s decreasing bee populations

May 28, 2019 by  
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Although McDonald’s restaurants are ubiquitous around the world, the popular fast food eateries in Sweden are currently expanding to meet the needs of tiny little clients that have an immeasurable impact on our world — honey bees. As part of a country-wide initiative to raise awareness about the world’s dwindling bee population , various franchises in Sweden are installing fully-functional beehives, known as McHives, on their rooftops. Brainchild of creative agency NORD DDB , the McHive initiative started last year when one McDonald’s franchise owner, Christina Richter, decided to place a small beehive on the restaurant’s rooftop. Now, in collaboration with McDonald’s sustainability office in Sweden, additional franchise owners have decided to follow Richter’s lead and install the 16-inch hives on their own roofs. Related: IKEA teams up with London artists to upcycle old furniture into funky abodes for birds, bees and bats The innovative beehives were designed and built by award winning set designer Nicklas Nilsson. Built to scale, the beekeeping box hives are remarkable in their realistic appearance, complete with the restaurant’s signature Golden Arches. Bees enter the structure through the main entrance and can even enjoy outdoor seating, or if they’re really in a hurry, they can swing by the mini drive-thru. Although there are currently five franchises with McHives on their roofs throughout the country, the first hive was recently auctioned for charity , raising more than $10,000 dollars for the Ronald McDonald House. Christoffer Rönnblad, Marketing director of McDonald’s Sweden, explained that the company was thrilled to join forces with the individual franchises in the name of sustainability . “We have a lot of really devoted franchisees who contribute to our sustainability work, and it feels good that we can use our size to amplify such a great idea as beehives on the rooftops,” Rönnblad said. “This miniature McDonald’s is a tribute to franchisee Christina Richter’s initiative.” + Nord DDB Via Adweek Images via McDonald’s

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McDonalds creates McHives to raise awareness of the world’s decreasing bee populations

UNStudio envisions a Garden City of the 21st Century for India

May 28, 2019 by  
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UNStudio has unveiled designs for Karle Town Center (KTC), a new innovative tech campus in Bangalore, dubbed the “Silicon Valley of India.” Currently under construction, the campus will feature contemporary architecture painted in UNStudio and Monopol Color’s unique and patented ‘Coolest White’ for a striking contrast against Bangalore’s dense green canopy. Resiliency and health are also major themes in the design of KTC, which will not only maximize passive design techniques and feature expanses of green space, but it will also integrate “sensorial technologies” that draw on a user dataset collection to create a more responsive and customizable environment for the betterment of workers and residents alike. Set next to the established Manyata Tech Park, the Karle Town Center enjoys direct access to the city’s ring road arterial and expanding metro lines as well as views over Nagavara Lake. The campus’ mixed program will offer an inviting live/work environment both day and night for residents, employees and visitors. In addition to office and residential space, the KTC Masterplan will include a grand central theater, event square plazas, elevated retail stages and amphitheater -style staircases large enough to accommodate outdoor meetings. The KTC Masterplan is accompanied by the Urban Branding Manual, a purpose-designed document developed by UNStudio that will provide a strategy guide for ensuring the proper execution of the urban vision and design integrity. The Urban Branding Manual for Karle Town Center is centered on three ideas: Garden, Health and Culture. The three pillars aim to “inspire the whole of India to ‘lead by example’ when designing future urban destinations,” UNStudio said in a project statement. Related: UNStudio unveils sustainable vision for “The Smartest Neighborhood in the World” To shape KTC as Bangalore’s “Garden City of the 21st Century,” UNStudio has collaborated with Amsterdam-based BALJON Landscape Architects to create a sustainable and resilient landscape plan that will include semi-public vegetative sky gardens and vegetation along the streetscapes, avenues and the lakefront promenade. The abundance of landscaping will help mitigate the urban heat island effect and filter air pollution. Large underground water retention zones will be used to irrigate the landscaping and store treated gray water. + UNStudio Image via UNStudio

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UNStudio envisions a Garden City of the 21st Century for India

Ultra-rugged, off-grid motorhome is built to go just about anywhere

May 10, 2019 by  
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The bulky BUMO RV might not be the sleekest ride on the market, but its robust design is built to be one of the toughest. Built by a family-owned German company, the all-terrain tiny home is made out of natural materials and can go completely off the grid, allowing those who want to explore the world to do so sustainably. Clad in a warm larch wood facade, the RV is equipped with solar power and a composting toilet, and it can be customized to include a rainwater treatment system and a wood-burning stove. Part tiny home , part cabin, the BUMO’s rugged exterior makes it easy to imagine exploring off the beaten path through deep forests and past soaring mountains. Built with a full aluminum frame, the RV features larch wood cladding that offers strong protection from the elements. Its robust aesthetic conceals a stealthy, self-sustaining system built into its body. Related: Tiny home clad in burnt wood packs a ton of luxury into just 240 square feet Built to be a durable, off-grid expedition vehicle, the BUMO runs on solar power and has plenty of sustainable features that make it 100 percent self-sufficient. In addition to its natural materials, the RV can be custom-equipped with a composting toilet, rainwater treatment systems and a wood-burning stove. Designed to be a comfortable home while on the road, the RV’s floor and roof are sustainably insulated with sheep’s wool, while wood wool made from wood shavings was used in the walls. The living space is clad in stone pine, giving off a cabin-like aesthetic. According to the company, pine was chosen for its claimed abilities to reduce heart rates , eliminate bacteria and promote a general sense of well being. The interior living space of the tiny home on wheels is compact but sufficiently furnished with all of the basics. The living room features a custom, L-shaped sofa that wraps around a dining or working table. There is a spacious kitchen with all of  the typical appliances. A sleeping area and the bathroom are also a tight squeeze, but they get the job done. Oak furniture was used throughout, once again forging a strong connection to the outdoors. + BUMO Via New Atlas Images via BUMO  

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Ultra-rugged, off-grid motorhome is built to go just about anywhere

Eucalyptus screens block out the sun’s harsh rays in this off-grid home

April 24, 2019 by  
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São Paulo-based firm Studio MK27 has unveiled a spectacular home made out of a beautiful blend of natural and prefabricated materials. The Catuçaba House is tucked into the remote rolling hills of Catuçaba, its horizontal volume sitting almost 5,000 feet above sea level. Wanting to forge a strong relationship with its stunning natural surroundings, the architects designed the home with a number of sustainable features to be completely off-grid and low-impact. In fact, the home’s sustainability profile is so impressive that it is the first building in Brazil to earn LEED Platinum certification. The 3,300-square-foot home is a beautiful study in eco-friendly minimalism. The residence, which is a wooden prefab structure , is comprised of an elongated form that sits on a series of pillars. These wooden pillars were carefully embedded into the landscape to reduce the impact on the terrain. Related: This off-grid home on a Greek island provides ‘cinematic frames’ of the sea A wooden deck cantilevers over the hilly topography, creating a large platform that is book-ended by two adobe walls made from local soil. As a passive feature , sliding shades made out of eucalyptus branches cover the floor-to-ceiling front facade and filter light through the interior, offering a vibrant movement of shadows and light in the living space. Further integrating the design into its natural surroundings, the architects covered the home’s roof in native greenery. Like the home’s exterior, the interior is marked by wood finishes throughout, all of which are certified as sustainably-sourced lumber . The living and private spaces are designated by interior wooden frames filled with eco-friendly wool insulation. The rustic decor continues with exposed wooden ceilings, clay flooring, white walls and wood-burning stoves. Because of its remote location, the house has no access to grid electricity or water; therefore, it operates completely off-grid. Solar panels on the roof, along with a nearby wind turbine, generate enough energy for the residence’s needs. Drinking water is collected from a nearby spring. Additionally, the house was installed with an integrated rainwater collection system which routes gray water to irrigate the garden. The sustainable Catuçaba home was completed in 2016 and has since earned a number of accolades. It is the first building in Brazil to earn LEED Platinum certification from the Green Building Council. + Studio MK27  Via Dezeen Photography by Fernando Guerra via Studio MK27

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Eucalyptus screens block out the sun’s harsh rays in this off-grid home

Cozy pop-up Seedpods let you escape into nature with a minimal footprint

April 24, 2019 by  
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Reconnecting with Mother Nature has been elevated to new heights with Nomadic Resorts ‘ latest treehouse initiative — the Seedpod. Shaped like a human nest, these lightweight sleeping pods are designed for minimal landscape impact and can pop up in remote locations in just one day. The pop-up hotel rooms were recently installed in Mauritius’ Bel Ombre Nature Reserve, where they were hung from trees and made to “float” above the forest floor. Founded in 2011 as a reaction against the environmental footprint of traditional hotel development, Nomadic Resorts is an interdisciplinary design and project development company that services the hospitality industry with sustainable and contemporary projects. The Seedpod, developed after years of research, builds on the company’s commitment to low-impact design. Drawing inspiration from the shape of a seed and a bird’s nest, Nomadic Resorts crafted an aerodynamic structure that is not only capable of resisting wind speeds of 120 kilometers per hour, but can also be quickly installed in remote locations without using heavy machinery or power tools. “Our goal was to take inspiration from the humble seed to create a floating hotel room that was both ephemeral and robust — comfortable but exciting to sleep in,” said Louis Thompson, the CEO of Nomadic Resorts. “The idea is that sleeping in the pod is a transformative experience in its own right — a chance to spend a night in a human nest where you can see the movement of the wildlife below and hear the gurgling of the stream. Our team has been striving to find a symbiotic, harmonious relationship with the sites we develop. To achieve that, we need to find a compromise between durability and sustainability, environmental integrity and guest comfort — size was an important consideration in that discussion — it is the place, not the space, that is true luxury.” Related: Nomadic Resorts’ tiny prefab pod homes can pop up anywhere The Seedpod debut at the Heritage Nature Reserve consists of two units set up for a unique picnic experience where visitors can learn about the endemic forest, swim in the natural pools and enjoy a mosquito-free lunch inside each room. The pods, which were attached to trees at the reserve, can also be erected on their own with an optional tripod and equipped with lighting, solar panels , a ceiling fan, a cool box and a charging station for devices. Each unit measures nearly 12.5 feet in height (nearly 7.5 feet for internal height) and slightly over 7 feet in diameter. + Nomadic Resorts Images via Nomadic Resorts and The Heritage Nature Reserve

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Cozy pop-up Seedpods let you escape into nature with a minimal footprint

Stunning ‘beach shack’ on remote Australian beach is 100% self-sufficient

April 23, 2019 by  
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Sydney-based firm  Casey Brown Architecture  has unveiled a gorgeous home in Great Mackerel Beach, a remote coastal area in South Wales. Conceived as a modern beach shack, the Hart House is tucked deep into a steep cliffside looking out over the ocean. Only accessible by boat, the home, which is covered in an aluminum shell, is completely off-grid thanks to solar panels on the roof, a water collection system and an onsite waste system. According to the architects, the home’s simple box volume is a “contemporary interpretation of the quintessential one-room Australian beach shack.” The house sits back from the shoreline and is tucked into a rising cliffside covered in natural vegetation. Using the incredible landscape as additional inspiration, the architects focused on creating an  energy-efficient home that would be both resilient and self-sustaining. Related: Circular, solar-powered beach house is a sustainable holiday retreat Because of its remote location, the home is only accessible by water, which meant that the structure had to not only be resilient but self-sufficient. A rooftop array of solar panels generates enough energy to meet the needs of the residents. Additionally, the design has an integrated rainwater collection system, and waste is processed on-site. Clad in a corrugated aluminum shell, the beach house is well-protected from the local climate , such as the harsh salt environment, cold winds and even bushfires. Only the front of the home is left exposed with a large glass wall made up of several floor-to-ceiling panels that provide an abundance of natural light and stunning views of the ocean. The home’s corrugated aluminum shell is punctuated with small openings, framed in large Corten Steel frames, which allow for optimal cross ventilation. The interior design of the three-story home creates a harmonious connection with the surrounding natural environment. Lined in birch plywood with timber flooring and large windows, the top floor living space is a warm, light-filled oasis. Spotted gum was chosen to build the front deck as well as the doors and windows because of its sustainable profile as well as its natural fire resistance. Under the living space is a bedroom that leads out to a terrace constructed from  sandstone  harvested onsite. The terrace sits on a base, also made of sandstone, that cascades down toward the beach through various stepped retaining walls. + Casey Brown Architecture Via Wallpaper Photography by Rhys Holland via Casey Brown Architects

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Stunning ‘beach shack’ on remote Australian beach is 100% self-sufficient

3D-printed jewelry company uses plants, not fossil fuels, to make its beautiful designs

April 10, 2019 by  
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Traditionally, most jewelry has always been made out of some type of metal: silver, gold, bronze or copper. Mining for precious metals and gemstones often causes environmental damage, ranging from water pollution to greenhouse gas emissions to soil erosion. Today, however, those looking to decorate themselves with shiny baubles have a new option —  eco-friendly, 3D-printed jewelry. Based in Somerville, Massachusetts, Winter Hill Jewelry is an innovative, family-run company that makes beautiful and affordable 3D-printed earrings and necklaces out of plant-based plastic . Winter Hill Jewelry is the brainchild of Vanessa Templeman, a mother of two who started experimenting with her family’s 3D printer at home. The printer had been used to print toys for the kids, but soon Templeman decided to do something a bit more creative. After initially drawing and designing her pieces by hand, she then updated to Tinkercard to help streamline the process, which ends with beautiful 3D models of her designs. Related: Elle turns E-waste into unique and eye-catching jewelry According to Templeman, the 3D printing process not only allows her to create and manufacture her own designs, but has also opened up a niche in the jewelry market for eco-friendly designs. Focused on having minimal environment impact, the company uses a full-cycle system that is set up to reduce waste throughout the manufacturing process. Instead of using regular plastic that is made from fossil fuels, for example, they use PLA, a plant-based plastic that is compostable. While they try to reduce waste as much as possible, any remnants left over from the production process can be easily recycled. Additionally, the Flash Forge Creator Pro 3D printers used by Winter Hill Jewelry are fully powered by solar-generated energy . Once the jewelry is printed, they are displayed on cards made out of 100 percent recycled paper and shipped in biodegradable bubble wrap. As an additional way to use its product for good, the company has a special collection that includes a “Cuterus” line of pins and earrings. Portions from the sale of these items are donated to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center OB. + Winter Hill Jewelry Images via Winter Hill Jewelry

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3D-printed jewelry company uses plants, not fossil fuels, to make its beautiful designs

Ioncell technology creates eco-textile clothing fibers from birch trees

April 9, 2019 by  
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With clothing production leading the world as one of the highest-polluting industries, a new fiber contradicts the earth-damaging qualities of traditional materials. Ioncell technology , developed at Aalto University and the University of Helsinki, uses a range of materials, including wood, recycled newspaper, cardboard and old cotton to make fabric. This is good news for an environment scarred by cotton production and the development of synthetic fibers. The new and improved material can also be recycled at the end of its life cycle, significantly reducing clothing waste . In a country already acutely aware of sustainable practices in forest management, the trees sourced from Finland offer a much lower carbon footprint than traditional clothing. Ioncell materials also protect the water supply by using ionic liquid in place of harsh chemicals. Related: The convenience of “highway fitting” your clothes is hurting the planet While the designers focus on sustainable sourcing and manufacturing, the clothing also avoids contributing to a massive post-consumer waste problem. That’s because the fibers are biodegradable. Additionally, the fibers do not contain any harmful microfibers now associated with massive ocean pollution and damage to sea life. Sourced from birch trees , the wood is responsibly harvested as part of a forest management program that grows more trees than they harvest. Once cut into smaller logs, the wood is sent through a machine that turns it into large chips. At this phase, the chips are sent to the cooker and then turned into sheets of pulp. The pulp is then mixed with the ionic liquid that results in a cellulose material. Fibers are then spun into yarn and turned into fabric. Designers and researchers involved in the project report that the resulting material is soft and drapes naturally, making it a good choice for formalwear, coats, scarves, gloves and other products. It also accepts dye well. The process for making Ioncell fibers is still in the research and development phase and they currently only produce it on a small scale, but they are hoping to unveil a preliminary product line as early as 2020. + Aalto University Via World Economic Forum Images via Aalto University

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Ioncell technology creates eco-textile clothing fibers from birch trees

An earth-bermed hobbit house with two glass arches hits the market for $190,000

March 6, 2019 by  
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While some mistakenly believe that earth-bermed architecture is a passing fad, the truth is that the practice of building homes deep into the landscape is one of the most ancient forms of shelter construction. Luckily for anyone looking to live in one of these energy-efficient abodes, a gorgeous two-bedroom hobbit home covered with 8 inches of earth and native vegetation is on the market for just $190,000. Located on 3.4 acres of densely wooded forest in River Falls, Wisconsin, the two-bedroom, two-bath hobbit house is a beautiful example of earth-bermed construction done right. Designed by architect Mike McGuire, the 2,236-square-foot home is covered with 8 inches of earth and topped with natural vegetation. The design of the energy-efficient “sod house” with two arched glass openings was created to mimic the rolling landscape of the countryside that surrounds it. Related: 14 delightfully tiny hobbit homes The hobbit home ‘s structural base includes a series of arching steel culverts that not only gives the unique structure a flowing silhouette, but it also creates a durable frame that can withstand the weight of the earth. Asphalt damp-proofing and a plastic sheet were placed on the curved roofs to provide additional waterproofing. In addition to its practical purposes, the arched culverts also elevate the interior ceilings significantly to open up the living space. Along with the extra high and wide arches, the living area includes all-white walls and various skylights that flood the interior with natural light . Although the design is visually appealing, it also boasts a number of incredibly efficient passive features . The thick layers of soil that envelope the structure help maintain a stable interior temperature, conserving energy year-round. Additionally, masonry brick fireplaces were built into every room. Because brick heats up quickly and retains heat, the fireplaces provide a warm and cozy interior throughout the year. + Edina Realty Via Curbed Images via Dale Antiel, Edina Realty Inc.

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An earth-bermed hobbit house with two glass arches hits the market for $190,000

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