The first off-grid Ecocapsule microhomes are shipping to customers this year

June 6, 2017 by  
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Want to travel to the beach or a mountaintop or a jungle – and spend the night in style every time? The Ecocapsule offers that flexibility in a tiny off-grid package. The company just announced it has secured financial backing to move forward with the microhome – and they’re planning to deliver the first Ecocapsules to clients later this year. Late night television host James Corden recently tested the versatile pods out in a peaceful garden, a horse ranch, and a restaurant rooftop – check out his take after the break. Corden hit up the Ecocapsule to explore the latest trends in travel and eco-friendly living. The egg-shaped, mobile microhome is around eight feet high, seven feet long, and 14.5 feet wide, and it’s powered by rooftop solar cells and a small wind turbine . It also collects rainwater to be reclaimed as drinking water. A folding bed, bathroom, kitchenette, and living area provide travelers with all the amenities of a luxury hotel . The Ecocapsule can be towed via trailer or sent to a location in a shipping container. Related: The world’s first off-grid EcoCapsule is now available for pre-order Corden envisioned the Ecocapsule in exotic locations like the Grand Canyon or a beach in Ibiza. He took his characteristic humorous approach to the design of the pod, asking founder Tomas Zacek, “How do I know this isn’t just some sort of spaceship?” Ecocapsule will only make 50 of the first edition pods, but they plan to start mass producing the microhomes for a lower price in 2018. It seems Corden enjoyed his time wandering in the Ecocapsule; he said in the video, “I could stay here for years.” He also told Zacek that snuggling encapsulates the ethos behind the Ecocapsule. + Ecocapsule

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The first off-grid Ecocapsule microhomes are shipping to customers this year

Oregon couple spends years building their net-zero ‘extreme green dream home’

June 6, 2017 by  
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Some people may spend years designing their dream home, but one ambitious couple in Oregon has just spent years building their “extreme green dream home.” As beautiful as it is sustainable , the Desert Rain home by Tozer Design is a 2,236-square-foot net-zero structure that was designed to meet the Living Building Challenge’s green building criteria – the industry’s most stringent. The couple began to build their “conventional” dream home on the same 0.7 acre lot in 2008, but upon hearing about the Living Building Challenge in the fall of 2009, they made the painful decision to scrap their original plans and shoot for the challenge. The result is a beautiful estate made up of five buildings, including the main residence, a detached apartment, a second detached building that can be used as an office or guest space, and the home’s two garages. Related: California city could become the first Zero Net Energy city in the U.S. The new construction began by repurposing materials from two aging mill houses that were previously on the lot. In addition to salvaging the existing materials, the team went far and beyond in finding sustainable, locally-sourced materials for the new home. In addition to the recovered wood already salvaged, reclaimed wood and FSC-certified lumber were brought in from the surrounding region. Additional materials were also specially made for the home’s green construction , such as the exterior plaster, which is almost entirely made out of local clay, straw, and sand. To conserve energy and costs whenever possible, other materials were constructed by the team by ordering and crafting the materials onsite. For example, rather than purchasing the items separately, a large roll of steel was ordered and cut onsite to construct the roofing, eaves, and rain gutters. Desert Rain is a power house of sustainability as well as energy efficiency . The home uses three renewable energy systems , including a solar array on the rooftop, a solar thermal drainage system that heats water and powers the hydronic floor system, and an innovative solar “hot air” system that is used to evaporate liquid from the home’s composting system. Given that the home is located in the arid high-desert region of Eastern Oregon, where the climate is dry and annual rainfall scarce, water conservation can be complicated for any homeowner. This made achieving the Net Zero Water criteria of the project a complicated task. However, using the unique layout of the five buildings, a rainwater collection system was conceived using the standing seam metal roofs to route rainwater through downspouts to the ground-level gravel filters to be used in the landscaping, which features mainly native plantings. + Tozer Design Via Living Future Photography by Chandler Photography

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Oregon couple spends years building their net-zero ‘extreme green dream home’

World’s first ‘cranehouse’ hoisted over Bristol harbor is completely carbon neutral

June 5, 2017 by  
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Could a new urban vacation trend take the trees out of treehouses ? The world’s first “cranehouse” has opened in Bristol and it’s every bit as spectacular as their conventional trunk-supported counterparts. Designed by vacation specialists Canopy & Stars , the tiny structure is hoisted by a cargo crane 26 feet over Bristol Harbor. What’s more, the low-impact wooden structure is completely carbon neutral, and it was built using sustainable materials . The “hanging basket” is a collaboration between Canopy & Stars and DIY company, B&Q, who decorated the space with a chic collection of sustainable furnishings. Touches of nature are found throughout the space, including walls inlaid with tree branches, a watering can shower, and a bed made out of a reclaimed tree trunk . Industrial hints such as copper finials, polished concrete, and natural vegetable-fiber mats complete the rustic, yet sophisticated interior design. Related: 9 treehouses you can actually rent for an off-the-ground getaway Along with a “living painting” by local artist Anthony Garrett, the design focused on creating a similar “multi-sensory experience” one might experience in a true treehouse. Scents of woodlands such as lavender, sage, and bark waft through the interior. Wild flowers are planted in recycled wooden crates on the exterior of the house and various pollinators were planted on the roof to attract bees and butterflies. Guests at Crane 29 will be able to enjoy the beautiful off-grid retreat by spending their time swinging in the indoor hammock and taking in the spectacular panoramic views of the harbor. Reservations, which run £185 a night, include a gourmet breakfast basket delivered to the house in the morning. Tom Dixon, managing director of Canopy & Stars, explains that the project was a labor of love for the company, “It’s taken three years of planning and design, and only three weeks of building, but we got there. What started as a dream has now become a reality,” said “We hope people enjoy their stays in this amazing building and wake up to the great outdoors feeling they are truly part of this pocket of nature in the city – a real natural high.” Crane 29 will only be opened to guests for just 100 days, but all of the profits from the rental space will be donated to the environmental organization, Friends of the Earth . + Canopy & Stars Via Telegraph Images via Canopy & Stars

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World’s first ‘cranehouse’ hoisted over Bristol harbor is completely carbon neutral

8 tiny folklore-inspired cabins pop up in the Welsh countryside

May 25, 2017 by  
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Eight spectacular tiny homes inspired by local folklore and traditions are waiting for you in the Welsh countryside. The pop-up cabins represent the winning designs of the Epic Retreats competition, which invited architects and designers to create glamping-style tiny homes based on local Welsh traditions. The results include a huge stovepipe hat cabin, a dragon-inspired retreat, a mini observatory, and a tiny space inspired by traditional mining sheds that are available for a luxury off-grid adventure. As part of the competition rules, each cabin design had to be built for less than £11,000 (approx $14,000). Additionally, the competition, which was a collaboration between Best of Wales , Cambria Tours , and George + Tomos Architects , required that the cabins be geared towards the glamping trend, meaning that they had to include basic vacation home features. All of the eight winning designs include a double, king-size or circular bed, a living area with a wood-burning stove and hob, as well as an en-suite bathroom. Related: Luxury off-grid Autonomous Tents can pop up almost anywhere in the world As part of the fun event, 200 lucky guests will be staying at the cabins this summer. “The unique cabins, complemented by our country’s stunning landscape, make for an unbeatable experience,” said Llion Pughe, one of the two founders of the project. “We look forward to welcoming our first guests this summer, who will get to see Wales in a completely unique setting.” Recently unveiled in the picturesque rolling green hills of the Wales countryside, the cabins will be moved between two locations this summer. The event, which coincides with the Wales’ Year of Legends , a year-long tribute to the country’s many mythologies, will exhibit the cabins in southern Snowdonia for the month of June, and afterwards, they will be moved to Ll?n Peninsula from mid-July until mid-September. + Epic Retreats Via Dezeen

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8 tiny folklore-inspired cabins pop up in the Welsh countryside

The wind turbine manufacturer putting unemployed coal miners to work

May 25, 2017 by  
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The transition to clean energy isn’t always easy for workers in fossil fuel industries. As coal miners find themselves out of work, one wind turbine manufacturer aims to give them jobs in clean industries through a free jobs training program. Goldwind Americas , the United States branch of a major Chinese company, wants to offer out-of-work coal miners in Wyoming new roles as wind technicians instead. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says wind turbine service technicians is the fastest growing occupation in America, with a median pay of $52,260 a year in 2016, and some of those jobs could be a perfect fit for skilled laborers who no longer have employment in the fossil fuel industry. Goldwind’s Wyoming job training initiative, Goldwind Works, could produce workers for a huge wind farm they’re building in the state, where they have an agreement to supply up to 850 turbines. After construction they’ll require up to 200 workers to maintain the wind farm. Related: Clean energy jobs outnumber fossil fuel jobs in most US states Goldwind Works is slated to start next month. It will include informational meetings and a tower climb and safety training at a Montana wind farm. Goldwind Americas CEO David Halligan told The New York Times coal miners likely already possess some relevant mechanical and electrical skills, and are used to laboring in hard conditions. He said, “If we can tap into that market and also help out folks that might be experiencing some challenges in the work force today, I think that it can be a win-win situation.” Wyoming produces more coal than any other state in America. They produce almost four times as much of the black rock as West Virginia. Even so hundreds of coal miners lost their jobs in the state last year. Meanwhile the wind industry could offer new opportunities to those out-of-work miners. Via Greentech Media and The New York Times Images via Pixabay and Goldwind Global

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The wind turbine manufacturer putting unemployed coal miners to work

Heatherwick Studio updates 90-year-old grain silo in South Africa with pillowed glass windows

May 22, 2017 by  
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Prolific architecture firm  Heatherwick Studio has updated an abandoned silo in Cape Town with beautiful pillowed glass windows. The former silo building has sat at the heart of the Table Bay harbor since 1924 and, out of respect for the beloved landmark, the architects worked to retain much of the building’s original character during the renovation process. The team managed to retain 42 cylindrical storage silos that form the concrete skeleton, which houses the recently-opened luxury Royal Portfolio hotel, designed by Liz Biden. The old silo , which was used as an international grain trade and export facility, held court for some 80 years at the heart of Table Bay harbor, but was eventually closed down. As part of the city’s urban redesign plan , the silo was slated to be converted into a useful community-centered space, featuring a hotel and museum. The first part of the project, the hotel, which was designed by The Royal Portfolio , has recently been opened and features six floors of the luxury built in the space that once housed the old grain elevators. Related: Heatherwick Studio wants to build a tree-covered mountain in the middle of Shanghai Although the silo’s interior has been converted into a modern space, the building still retains some of its original aesthetic, namely the concrete exterior frame. Contrasting nicely with the concrete, large bulbous windows were installed and provide incredible views of the harbor as well as the Table Mountain in the background,  a view which is spectacular from the large open-air rooftop. Additionally, the glass facade will serve as a glowing beacon when illuminated at night. On the interior, the eclectic design pays homage to the area’s long history while blending in whimsical touches to the atmosphere. According to the designer, Liz Biden, the inspiration for the design was focused on balancing the old with the new, “My goal has always been to pay tribute to luxury and [provide] comfort for our guests,” said Biden. “This has meant balancing the stark and industrial style of the architecture with aspects of classic glamour and modern comfort.” Funky industrial features can be found throughout the hotel, such as chandeliers made out of original steel rings used inside the grain elevator. In addition to its design, the hotel will constantly feature plenty of local artists on its walls and even has its own private art gallery, The Vault, which will exhibit works by emerging African artists . Although the hotel conversion has just been completed, there is still more to be done on the overall silo conversion. Now, the focus is on the creation of the space underneath the hotel, which will house the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA), also designed by Heatherwick Studio and slated to open in September of 2017. + Heatherwick Studio Via Dezeen

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Heatherwick Studio updates 90-year-old grain silo in South Africa with pillowed glass windows

You won’t believe the interior of Japan’s jaw-dropping new train

May 3, 2017 by  
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All aboard the swanky train! Japan just unveiled a new luxury sleeper train – and it’s jaw-droppingly beautiful. The gold-tinted Shiki-shima , which was designed by famed industrial designer Ken Kiyoyuki Okuyama , features a sophisticated blend of modern and traditional Japanese materials such as washi paper walls and screens, cypress bathtubs, and lavish carpets. But the best part is the train’s amazing greenhouse-like cars that give you a panoramic view of your surroundings. The train’s design seeks to set the standard for modern train travel. The panoramic observation cars at either end of the 10-car train have large glazed wall panels that cover the walls and ceiling, offering sweeping views of the passing scenery. Comfy bentwood sofas that were made using traditional Japanese techniques are located throughout the communal lounge car, which is decorated with wall panels designed to “evoke the image of a quiet forest”. During the ride, guests will be able to enjoy select culinary specialties from their destination, served with nickel silver cutlery designed by well-known cutlery maker, Yamazaki Kinzoku Kogyo. Related: Japanese train station built around massive 700 year-old camphor tree The train has just 17 rooms: two large suite rooms and 15 smaller rooms. All of the rooms feature a bed, storage space and a private bathroom. Lucky guests of the luxury two-storey Shikishima suite will be able to enjoy a seating area and tatami mats , along with a rectangular cypress bathtub that provides a “fragrant bath-time experience.” The walls in the luxury suites are lined with floor-to-ceiling windows to provide customers with their own personal view. Of course, opulence this fine does not come cheap. Two to four day trips on the Train Suite Shiki-shima start at $2,865 and go up to a whopping $8,500. + Train Suite Shiki-shima Via Jalopnik

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You won’t believe the interior of Japan’s jaw-dropping new train

Zero-emission hydrogen-powered car is designed to revolutionize everyday travel

May 3, 2017 by  
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Dubai-based designer Niko Kapa unveiled an Audi unlike any other luxury car we’ve seen before. Designed for zero emissions , this unusual coupé concept car features a banana-yellow aerodynamic shape that exudes playfulness. Dubbed the Audi Cetus, the hydrogen-powered car took top prize at the 2017 European Product Design Awards. Winner of the Platinum Prize in the Transportation category , the conceptual Audi Cetus draws inspiration from the curved hydronamic forms of dolphins. The two-person car’s smooth and streamlined shape minimizes air turbulence in the back and also reduces drag and lift forces. The vehicle is also designed with smart sensors and with electrochromic glass windows that maximize natural light in the car and can be dimmed on demand. Related: World’s first zero-emissions hydrogen train aces maiden voyage “Audi Cetus is a hydrogen-powered , zero-emission city car, designed to change everyday city travel,” writes the designer. “The idea was to create a car for 2 people that will be likeable and fun, in an effort to restore excitement to the experience of driving. A playful conceptual exercise, truly embraces aerodynamics to both reduce energy consumption and form part of a future design aesthetic.” + Niko Kapa

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Zero-emission hydrogen-powered car is designed to revolutionize everyday travel

This amazing shipping container hotel can pop up anywhere in the world

May 2, 2017 by  
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Prague-based firm Artikul Architects has managed to combine two of our favorite things: shipping containers and wanderlust. The ContainHotel is a small boutique hotel made out of three repurposed shipping containers that can be easily disassembled and transported to different locations. The eco-hotel is made out of three large shipping containers , but has a total of five rooms that can accommodate up to 13 guests at a time. A horizontal row of four rooms was built into a 40-foot high cube container, which is supported by two perpendicular 20-foot containers on the bottom level. The ground level containers house the sanitary facilities, a technical room, a storeroom on one end and a four-bed guest room on the other. Related: Luxury Hotel Made from 35 Recycled Shipping Containers Opens Next Month in China Although compact, the rooms are open and airy, with minimal, but elegant features on the interior. Large windows provide tons of natural light for all of the rooms. The interiors are clad in birch plywood, which was also used for the custom-made furniture. All of the rooms open up to an elongated shared balcony that provides great views of the surrounding nature. Currently located in in Treboutice, Czech Republic, the hotel was designed to be a self-sufficient, eco-friendly hotel that can be easily demounted and transported to multiple locations. The structure was built on railroad sleepers to leave minimal footprint no matter where it is assembled. The building is connected to a local electric power source and has an integrated water reservoir that supplies the showers and sinks, all installed with water saving taps. To save on heating and cooling, the hotel awnings, which were made of reclaimed wood planks from a local sawmill, insulate the roof and provide shade in the summer months. + Artikul Architects Via Contemporist Photography by Michal Hurych

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This amazing shipping container hotel can pop up anywhere in the world

Explore incredible worlds inside these landscapes carved into books

May 2, 2017 by  
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Laramée, who has an extensive background in the arts, is best known for his topographical literary sculptures that take anywhere between days to months to complete. His sculptures have depicted breathtaking landscapes from iconic Petra in Jordan to China’s emerald karst mountains. In an interview with yatzer, Laramée say that these works of art aren’t so much about nature as they are about capturing and evoking the feeling of the sublime and spirituality inspired by extraordinary landscapes. The sculptures are all made by hand without computer modeling. Laramée uses a vast array of tools from band saws and chain saws to flexible shaft rotary tools and sand blasters to carve small magical worlds from tightly bound book pages. Mountainous landscapes, icy glaciers, canyons, and underground caverns are all masterfully represented in his prolific series. Laramée applies oil paints, inks, dry pastels, crayon, adhesives, and beeswax to bring the landscapes to life. “My work, in 3D as well as in painting, originates from the very idea that ultimate knowledge could very well be an erosion instead of an accumulation,” writes Laramée. “So I carve landscapes out of books and I paint romantic landscapes. Mountains of disused knowledge return to what they really are: mountains. They erode a bit more and they become hills. Then they flatten and become fields where apparently nothing is happening. Piles of obsolete encyclopedias return to that which does not need to say anything, that which simply IS. Fogs and clouds erase everything we know, everything we think we are.” + Guy Laramée Via Colossal

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Explore incredible worlds inside these landscapes carved into books

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