A striking timber home with a green roof disappears into a Mexican forest

August 15, 2018 by  
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Barcelona- and Mexico City-based firm  Cadaval Sola-Morales has just unveiled Casa de la Roca, a beautiful, dark timber home topped with a green roof  and located in a remote forest in Mexico. The single-story structure features a jet-black facade crafted from felled trees and finished with a living roof to help camouflage the home into the peaceful, secluded forestscape. When designing Casa de la Roca, the architects were focused on one objective: to create a home that would easily blend into the landscape for years to come. Acting accordingly, the architects chose materials based on durability. The structure, which sits on a low-maintenance concrete foundation, is clad in reclaimed timber from local felled or dead trees. Related: Living trees grow through the ceiling of Cadaval & Sola-Morales’ Tepoztlan Lounge in Mexico The exterior walls were then coated in black paint to add longevity to the structure. “We used paint (and not dye), to add another layer of material protection; dye tends to lose its qualities over the years,” the architects explained. “It is black, responding to the desire to blend in with the landscape, seeking a certain anonymity in front of the vegetation and exuberant views.” The dark exterior essentially allows the home to hide deep within the forest , but that wasn’t enough for the architects. Once the dwelling was constructed, the team finished the entire roof with vegetation, creating an even stronger connection between the man-made and natural. According to the architects, the home’s layout of three long hallways that converge into the main living space was also inspired by the landscape. The team wanted the house to have three private lookouts at each end to provide distinct views of the forest. The three “arms” of the home come together at a central point, which is also where people can come together and socialize . The interior space is both elegant and welcoming. A minimal amount of furniture is spread out over the open-plan living room, so the main focus is always on the incredible nature that surrounds the home. Extra large floor-to-ceiling windows and doors allow optimal natural light into the home, while also creating a seamless connection to the forest. + Cadaval Sola-Morales Via Wallpaper Photography by Sandra Pereznieto

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A striking timber home with a green roof disappears into a Mexican forest

Treetop House combines the best of two worlds

August 6, 2018 by  
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There’s nothing as special as being with family – that is, until you need to be alone. The family of five who contracted with Ben Callery Architects  to design the Treetop House wanted this concept to play a key part in the house’s design, and they were delighted when Callery so easily grasped it. He also understood that the design had to commune with nature, include as many views as possible of the lush parkland  around the site, and incorporate as many aspects of sustainability as possible. Callery knew the kitchen was the favorite family gathering place. Dedicated to nurturing casual yet intimate communications between parents and children, Callery’s design concentrated on the kitchen views of the parkland tree canopies, a never-ending source of wonder for young and old year-round. The tall kitchen ceilings and oversized windows flood the room with natural light and provide an unobstructed view of the rooftop deck, a favorite venue for family activities and entertaining. A turf roof , though inaccessible to pedestrian traffic, brings the magnificent foliage of the park even closer. The high, banistered deck protrudes out, bringing the treetops even closer, accelerating the excitement of nature at one’s fingertips. To create private spaces for everyone to retreat for alone time, Callery designed the other rooms with lower ceilings to create a cozy atmosphere of privacy and security. While no family member in the house is ever far away, the sanctuaries everyone needs now and then to read, study or just reflect on life are readily available. Related: The Treebox is an amazing modern home set high up in the treetops Easy-opening windows with electric external blinds help control the rays of the sun from dawn to dusk and provide shelter from the variable winds. The house also runs on solar power, has energy-saving underground water tanks, and was constructed with green materials that provide optimum thermal efficiency . + Ben Callery Architects Images via Nic Granleese and Jack Love

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Treetop House combines the best of two worlds

Lake house in Chile built with reclaimed wood melts into the forest

August 6, 2018 by  
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Just north of Chilean Patagonia, a beautiful, low-impact lake house blends into its incredible forest landscape, virtually invisible to the naked eye. Designed by architect Juan Pablo Labbé , Casa LM’s use of reclaimed wood and glass creates a strong relationship between the family home and its idyllic surroundings. Located on the shore of Lake Llanquihue, just a few kilometers to the east of Puerto Varas, the CL Home is located on the edge of a dense forest. The building lot has a slight slope that ends at the lake’s shoreline, creating the ideal space for a family lake home . Related: Beautiful cabin pops up in ten days with minimal landscape disturbance The concept for the design was born out of two main pillars. First, the home had to fit into an existing clearing to minimize impact on the environment. Secondly, the design had to incorporate distinct features in accordance with the seasons so that the home could be used year-round. The resulting space, which is over 2,000 square feet, is made out of local materials , with reclaimed wood as the main element. The design of the home incorporates just one single volume topped with a slightly slanted roof, whose shape virtually camouflages the home into the terrain. The area is known for its heavy rains, so the slanted roof helps direct rainwater to the back of the home. Designed to accommodate six people during the summer months, the home allows the owners and their family to take full advantage of the large open-air terrace that overlooks the lake. As part of the design process, the team decided to leave space for the existing trees to grow up through the deck, further connecting the home to its surroundings. In the winter months, the home is used by just two people, who spend most of the time inside, enjoying the home’s warm, cabin-like atmosphere. The interior space remains closely connected to the outdoors thanks to the interior finishings, made with wood  reclaimed from an old house. At the heart of the living space is a beautiful fireplace that helps keep the space warm and cozy during the winter months. The floor-to-ceiling glass panels, which look out over the lake, create harmony with the exterior as well. The large windows flood the home with natural light and offer spectacular views year-round. + Juan Pablo Labbé Via Archdaily Photography by Francisco Gallardo

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Lake house in Chile built with reclaimed wood melts into the forest

Set sail on these sustainable homes made from old cargo ships

July 27, 2018 by  
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Dutch firm  Studio Komma is working on a ground-breaking circular housing concept that would transform cargo ships into luxury homes. The Marine-doc Estate is an ambitious project that will develop various sustainable communities featuring multiple retired merchant ships converted into luxury eco-homes with expansive green roofs and plenty of outdoor space. The initial phase of the Marine-doc Estate project is kicking off with two communities planned for the Netherlands, with the potential of building more communities internationally. Depending on the building location, each estate would have up to 14 maritime homes spread out over natural landscape with open water connections. Related: Last surviving Ellis Island ferry transformed into a floating home The first step involves lifting the former cargo ships out of their boat yards by crane to be placed into their new locations on land. The estates themselves will be selected according to their landscapes. The eco-communities will be arranged on lush natural terrains in the vicinity of open water in order to strike a balance between providing privacy to the residents and fostering a strong sense of community. Once in place, the original metal structures will then be built out into proper living spaces with sustainability at the forefront of the design. Since the ships vary in shape and size, each home will have a unique aesthetic, but the entire renovation process will focus on retaining the ships’ nautical origins. According to the architects, original features such as the stern, wheelhouse and foredeck will be enhanced with “sleek geometric shapes” on the exterior. Measuring up to 200 feet in length, the elongated volume of the interior will be broken up with flexible partitions that will enable future residents to personalize the layout. To embed the new homes into their landscapes, the firm included a large rooftop garden terrace  on each home that will provide stellar 360° views of the estate grounds. The homes will also have outdoor decks to further connect the new homes with their surroundings. + Studio Komma Via Archdaily Images via Studio Komma / Buro Poelman Reesink

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Set sail on these sustainable homes made from old cargo ships

Solar-powered glass PurePod cabins provide the ultimate connection with nature

July 26, 2018 by  
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For those looking to commune with nature, these sustainable all-glass cabins located in idyllic landscapes around New Zealand are just for you. Powered by solar energy, PurePods are tiny transparent capsules in stunningly beautiful settings far, far away from any type of human activity. This remove from civilization allows guests to sit back, relax, and completely immerse themselves in nature. There are six PurePod locations around New Zealand, all in secluded landscapes outside of Christchurch. The locations are extremely off-grid and guests must hike for 10-15 minutes through natural terrain to reach their destination, enjoying a leisurely walk through lush forest and rolling hills. Related: Sweden is putting stressed-out people in tiny glass ‘chillout cabins’ The cabins are approximately 200 square feet and have large sliding doors that lead out to a wooden deck. However, their transparent facades give off the feeling of camping in the open air. From sunrise to sunset, cabin guests can enjoy 360-degree views of New Zealand’s incredible landscape, and they can drift off to sleep while enjoying stunning views of the Milky Way at night. The cabins operate completely off-grid and are built to minimize impact on the environment. The electricity comes from  solar panels , which generate enough to run the LED lighting , refrigerator and the water system. Bio-fuel heaters are used to keep the cabins warm and toasty even on chilly nights. For extra-sunny days, window blinds and ceiling shades help provide a respite from the heat. As the cabins are designed for disconnecting , they have no internet, TV or phone service, but guests will be able to enjoy what the company calls “sustainable luxury.” Each cabin has a comfortable queen-sized bed with ultra-soft linens, a small kitchen and a glass-enclosed shower with hot water. Guests can cook their own meals on a cooking hob and outdoor grill or take advantage of the cabins’ meal delivery system, which can be set up at the time of reservation. + PurePods Via Dwell Images via PurePods

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Solar-powered glass PurePod cabins provide the ultimate connection with nature

These colorful hexagonal wall tiles are made from sound-absorbing "wood wool"

April 29, 2018 by  
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These colorful hexagonal wall tiles by Form Us With Love strike a brilliant balance between sustainable materials, economy and functionality. The modular tiles are available in a variety of different colors and can be assembled in various patterns to create a gorgeous mural on your wall. The tiles are made from wood fibers mixed with cement and water, and they have sound-absorbing properties that can actually improve the acoustics of a room. Form Us With Love collaborates with different manufacturing companies to create everyday objects, furniture, and lighting products that challenge conventional design initiatives. For the production of these hexagons, they work with the only manufacturer of wood wool in Sweden – a 20-man traditional family business called Traullit . The tiles are made from wood slivers which are known primarily as excelsior or wood wool in North America. The material is mainly used for packaging, cushioning, insulation, and even stuffing teddy bears. The process of making wood wool cement is very simple: wood slivers are cut from local tree logs and then get mixed with some water and cement, which acts as a binder and provides strength. The mixture is then put into a mold and left to dry into shape. The result is a material that is environmentally friendly, moisture and sound absorbent, and fire and water resistant. + Form Us With Love

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These colorful hexagonal wall tiles are made from sound-absorbing "wood wool"

11 inspiring designs we loved at Milan Design Week 2018

April 26, 2018 by  
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Designers awed and inspired attendees at this year’s Milan Design Week with fresh takes on contemporary design. From unexpected uses for wood and recycled materials to advanced lighting technology , we spotted countless incredible projects throughout the event — read on for 11 of our favorite designs from Milan Design Week 2018. Sila lamp by Zsuzsanna Horvath Helsinki-based Hungarian architect Zsuzsanna Horvath developed the Sila lamp – an elegant lamp that emerges from a two-dimensional plane of laser-cut birch plywood. The lamp’s structure is made with thin, delicate slivers of plywood connected by a flexible OLED panel. With its soft light and delicate shape, this lamp is a perfect addition for quiet and cozy interiors. Bread chair by Mika Tsutai This Bread Chair by Japanese designer Mika Tsutai is definitely an object of good taste… and good humor. Inspired by the unpredictable shape of bread, Tsutai kneaded dough — real dough, made from flour — shaped it into a chair, and baked it. The baked piece was scanned, and a digital model was created. The designer used this model to carve the same shape from wood. The unique shape reflects the random swelling of bread after baking. Macaron seat by Kalo Kalo created the Macaron Seat by using locally-recycled bits of rubber. Each seat is crafted by pressing a mold onto a wooden frame. This seat catches the eye using juxtapositions: smooth wooden legs contrast with a textured seat and a shining brass element along the edges of the dark rubber. Halo lamp by Mandalaki Designed by the Milan-based Mandalaki office, the Halo lamp is a bold combination of art and technology. Unlike most lamps, Halo does not provide neutral white illumination. Instead, it dyes space with vivid, unexpected colors. The vivid colors are produced by analog optical decomposition instead of an RGB LED. Mandalaki developed a dichroic filter to divide the pure luminous flux, or the measure of perceived light, into a vast spectrum of colors. Sundial clock by YOY You don’t need sunlight to use this Sundial wall clock by Tokyo-based design studio YOY. Although at first sight it seems to be a real sundial, it is only an illusion. Part of the “Fictionality” collection, this clock has a regular bar as the minute hand and a “shadow” as the hour hand, which is imprinted on the clock’s face. Surprisingly, the entire clock rotates to show the correct time. Plug It by Studio Oberhauser Instead of discarding thousands of small wood scraps from the industrial production of furniture, Studio Oberhauser created Plug It to exemplify the beauty of recycling. The studio suggests that stacking the comb-shaped wood chips to craft pieces of furniture can be a fun and functional game for everyone. Sea of Plastic by EcoBirdy EcoBirdy’s main goal is to reduce the sea of plastic . To do this, the company crafted children’s furniture entirely from recycled plastic. Plus, each item can be easily recycled again. The Antwerp-based designers have also involved children in this socially- and environmentally-responsible act by designing a storybook and a school program that teaches children about sustainable living. D.01 bench by Davide Montanaro Wood appears to be a stiff and rigid material, but it can be made to bend with just the right touch. Dukta is a unique incision process that can make wood into a flexible, manageable material. Davide Montanaro used this process to design the plywood D.01 bench and ensured the piece had character with its smooth shape and distinct pattern. S-Lab clock by 4R 4R made the S-Lab clock using recycled plastic. The entire production process, from collection to melting and molding was completed in-house. The designers were able to control the color, pattern and texture of the clock. With this project, the team hopes to continue working and exploring with plastic in their designs. Woodencap by Rootpecker Rootpecker has made design history by creating the first wooden cap in the world. The hat is handmade in Germany and features a smooth, flexible wood surface and intricate stitching. The company aims to source only eco-friendly materials for their unique products. Paper and Light by Denis Guidone and Tomoko Fuse Designer Denis Guidone and origami artist Tomoko Fuse created Paper and Light to blend classic and contemporary techniques. This project includes a series of lamps made from folded washi, a traditional Japanese paper. The folded light installments illuminate the area and create playful shadows. + Milan Design Week Images via Maria Novozhilova for Inhabitat

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11 inspiring designs we loved at Milan Design Week 2018

Architects convert old Dutch church into a gorgeous library

April 17, 2018 by  
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Dutch firm Molenaar & Bol & van Dillen Architects breathed new life into a 19th-century church by turning the space into a vibrant library and community center. The renovation focused on retaining the original layout of the church, which dates back to 1884. The result is a beautiful, wide-open interior converted into a breathtaking library with sliding bookshelves. The multi-functional space also includes exhibition halls, meeting spaces, and a restaurant. The architects kept the church’s original structural layout intact and lined the massive interior with thousands of books. The church’s original windows work in tandem with the added lighting to create a bright, well-lit space. Bookworms can easily access the library’s inventory, which is kept on sliding bookshelves . The shelves, installed on a rail system, can be moved when more space is needed for large event or to create private areas for smaller conferences or meetings. Related: Gorgeous 15th-Century Church Renovated as a Modern Bookstore in The Netherlands To add more functional space to the interior, the architects created an impressive 5,380 square-foot mezzanine level lined with several study areas and meeting rooms. This curvaceous feature continues through to church ‘s exterior, where it forms the roof of four pavilions connected to the facade. A restaurant was also installed in the garden pavilion on the south side of the building. + Molenaar & Bol & Van Dillen Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Stijn Poelstra

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Architects convert old Dutch church into a gorgeous library

This "boat" on wheels turns city dwellers into urban adventurers

April 3, 2018 by  
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Urban adventurers, prepare to set sail: A temporary installation in Utrecht, the Netherlands is transforming its site into an unknown land full of discoveries. When city dwellers engage with the project, they become “urbanauts,” contemporary adventurers that sail through the public space. Rome-based design collective  orizzontale  conceived the project as an LED-lit,  modular wooden structure that reimagines the concept of a boat, resulting in a flexible urban space that merges art, design and technology. The Urbanauts project forms part of RAUM, a workshop in Utrecht that hosts the Berlijnplein, a large public exhibition space . Together with local creators, international creators, and the public, RAUM will build a program of festivals, installations, events, and workshops in 2017 and 2018. Related: Dark highway underpass transformed into a brilliant tunnel of light The “urbanauts’ headquarters” includes different urban parcels that can be expanded and personalized. Elevated platforms and a small tower provide vantage points from which to observe the surrounding area. Thanks to the iron cage on top, which holds a red LED sign, the tower also works as an urban landmark. + orizzontale

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This "boat" on wheels turns city dwellers into urban adventurers

How millennials are changing home design

March 16, 2018 by  
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You won’t be hard-pressed to find an article about the next industry Millennials are killing. As more of them become homeowners, it’s no surprise that their tastes are starting to impact home design as well. As a group, Millennials have huge buying power, and the design world is taking notice of their preferences. Take a look at several home design trends that appeal to this generation, including green-focused fashions, small-space living, and dual-purpose furniture trends. 1. Urban and Size-Conscious It’s true; Millennials haven’t been queuing up to buy large suburban houses. They are more concerned with reasonable energy use, efficiency and of course, saving on the dollars. The importance of being within close proximity to necessary social and professional networks and city resources means this generation is generally found in urban areas , and naturally, this goes hand in hand with smaller properties, too. However, just because they choose to live in smaller quarters, doesn’t mean they’ll be cramped. 2. Open Plan Floor plans are more open and efficient than ever before. Simply put: Millennials just don’t have time for hallways! A big kitchen still remains a prerequisite, but it should flow into the other rooms for easy entertaining. For this reason, almost half of Millennials are keen on luxury kitchens with a preference for lounge furniture that serves more than one purpose. Who says a couch can’t have built-in storage or an end table can’t double as a coffee table during parties? 3. Sleek and Simple Baby boomers preferred rustic décor and plenty of accessories. Luckily for us, Millennials are keen on functionality and minimalistic design to keep a clutter -free home. That’s not to say that rustic and natural materials aren’t found in their homes, they are just limited in number. Part of this is due to the smaller spaces they are occupying , but it’s also because the increased use of technology means many accessories that were once physically found in the home can now be condensed into the palms of their hands. 4. Natural Materials and Features There is a hangover of the baby boomer rustic interior, but the youngest generation of homeowners are switching it up. We’re seeing more natural tones in today’s millennial homes such as reclaimed wood, neutral palates and barn doors. Scandinavian design is contributing to the pro-wood feel, but so is the tendency to bring the outdoors inside. 5. Tiles are Back One of the biggest changes identified as Millennial interior décor is a preference for tiles. Subway tiles are dominating the market ; whether they’re used as backsplashes or flooring, it’s the ultimate trend. Since Millennials have now occupied smaller homes , the financially savvy are more likely to have more room in the budget for the designs they want. That means more money is going into kitchen design and spa-like bathrooms. Tiles on floors will tend to be in natural stones or wood effect patterns, while low maintenance backsplashes dominate the kitchen. 6. Statement Appliances Diner-type restaurants with open plan kitchens and cookery shows may have had an impact here. This generation loves fancy kitchen appliances and probably also benefits from saving the cents with home-cooked meals instead of splashing out on dinner. 7. Green Building Materials Millennials are choosing eco-friendly materials such as non-toxic paint, Energy Star appliances and LEED-compliant light fixtures in and around the home. The EPA recently estimated that homeowners save up to $501 every year with eco-friendly windows, for example, so the trend is fitting in well with this cost-conscious generation. Related: These solar-powered tiny homes are designed just for millennials 8. Low Maintenance Since when could this ever be a bad thing? This generation is more and more conscious of the time, energy and expense that goes into the upkeep of living spaces. This means that Millennials are championing the move to high design at low cost which doesn’t require regular maintenance. 9. Smart Technology It’s reported that Millennials today are more inclined to boast about a home with integrated smart-technology than they are about a brand new kitchen. It’s clear that Wi-Fi-connected technology throughout homes is key for more reasons than one. Lighting, heating, smoke detectors, TVs and speakers can all be monitored from phones or tablets. This removes safety hazards as well as inconveniences such as needing to walk into a room to turn on the music. They also are demanding “technology friendly” spaces which mean lots of outlets and charging stations. 10. Sustainability This generation is the most sustainability-focused generation ever. They’re looking for renewable energy sources within apartment blocks, sharing resources, supporting surrounding independent businesses and using green materials. Almost half of Millennials are interested in solar panels for their homes, and show a keen interest in growing their own food. Gardening is good for the environment and works well with recent healthy living trends. Expect to see more small gardens, window-box gardens, or community gardens where this generation takes up residence. Millennials currently account for 83.1 million people in the United States alone. Their influence on demand and popular trends knows no bounds. The home design of today and tomorrow is all about flexibility, sustainability, minimalism and natural effect interiors – easy to live in, yet stylish and unobtrusive. Most importantly, awareness of environmental challenges we face globally is translating into eco-friendly lifestyles. It’s a change worth celebrating.

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How millennials are changing home design

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