Denmark hotel inspires green design through woodwork

November 1, 2021 by  
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In order to meet climate goals, the building industry needs to emphasize innovation and modern sustainable architecture practices. A new development located in Rønne on the Danish island of Bornholm has set out to do just that with the Hotel Green Solution House (Hotel GSH).  The building stands out among the rest, not only because of its green design elements, but because the structure, built and clad doesn’t follow traditional architecture in the area. It does, however, meet the certification standards of the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB). Related: KAJ Hotel is a one-room boathouse rental that exudes hygge The project is the newest wing of the Hotel Ryttergården and features 24 rooms, a conference room and a roof spa. Designed by 3XN/GXN, Green Solution House absorbs CO2 at every level with its wood material, a natural process that is expected to earn the project a positive carbon footprint. In addition to the wood selection, the team incorporated upcycled waste , such as construction offcuts that were repurposed in the furniture and surfaces, and debris from a nearby granite quarry that was put to use in the conference room.  “It is a dream to work with a developer who is completely uncompromising when it comes to sustainability and the circular economy,” said Lasse Lind, architect and partner in GXN. “This hotel will not look like others in Denmark and sustainability will be a central part of the experience. Through the project, we have collaborated with local companies, from craftsmen to material producers, who have all embraced the ambition to build completely climate-friendly, and who are helping to show the way for the rest of the country.” The area of Bornholm is booming with industry and tourism, even with the detrimental effects of the pandemic on both. Hotel GSH’s Director Trine Richter hopes the project shows the potential for continual growth in the area with a focus on passive design , energy-efficiency and natural building materials.  “Even though the hotel industry is having a hard time right now, we are full of expectation that the Danes will continue to spend their holidays in Denmark , and that companies will continue to demand meetings and conferences with a sustainable set-up,” said Trine Richter, director of Hotel GSH. “We are excited about the prospect of setting new standards for Danish commercial construction with this new climate-positive building, where the load-bearing structure will be made from wood. Everyone talks about it – we build it.” The layout of the building takes advantage of natural light and ventilation so energy needs are low. The entire development was designed with a cradle-to-cradle mindset. For example, elements throughout the space were designed for reuse with reversible joints to allow them additional life at another project site in the future instead of adding to construction waste.  “I hope that this project can help to show others the potential of wood construction,” said Lind. “If we want to be serious about achieving our climate goals , the construction industry needs to think and act differently, and therefore there is a great need for projects like this.” + GXN/3XN   Photography by Adam Mørk

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Denmark hotel inspires green design through woodwork

El Perdido honors its environment and the local culture

October 6, 2021 by  
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Estudio ALA recently completed a small development in Baja California Sur with an overarching goal of reintroducing local culture into the architecture , building process and visitor experience. The project is called El Perdido, and it’s a collection of hut-like accommodations that make up a desert tourism destination. Rather than importing most materials and ignoring the environment, El Perdido pays special attention to local tradition and the project’s impact. Related: Mexico City oasis features terrace gardens on every floor El Perdido is located in the small agricultural town of El Pescadero, which is rich in plantations of basil, chili, tomatoes and strawberries. To honor these historical roots while minimizing the need for resources like water, the design team left the surrounding landscape natural, with expansive low natural shrubs and  plants . Near the entrance, a grove of palo blanco trees provide natural shading, too. The huts were developed with attention to the natural climate of the region, providing guest comfort through  passive design  for effective heating and cooling. “Temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind, and solar incidence on the site were taken into consideration to employ strategies of passive cooling during the summer and passive heating in the winter,” the team said. The site was also equipped with its own water treatment plant and a saltwater pool with saline chlorinators to reduce chemical use and improve  water  efficiency.  The accommodations are built with earthen walls, and  wood  is the primary support material for each structure. The palm roofs add to the authentic appeal and overall nod to Baja California Sur’s heritage. Materials were sourced regionally, minimizing the need for lengthy transport, and local artisans were hired for the build.   The campus includes a main guest house, which includes a living area, dining room, kitchen bar for visitors, multipurpose area, store with local products, and reception. This is a gathering area and main hub of the property. Also on site is a  restaurant  and bar. Walkways lead throughout the campus to the lodgings and a sunken courtyard with low walls made from natural materials. In the courtyard, visitors can find a fountain and chapel. A stroll further along the walkway leads to an observatory with expansive ocean views.  At the center of the property is a shared pool in a courtyard that connects to the villas and main house. Each villa was designed to maximize efficiency and invite a marriage between the indoors and outdoors. + Estudio ALA  Via ArchDaily Images via Iwan Baan 

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El Perdido honors its environment and the local culture

This old farm is now an eco-friendly modern vacation escape

September 29, 2021 by  
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If you could bring a little bit of fairytale into the real world, it might just look like Pou de Glaç. This hotel combines sustainable renovation with historical architecture, and the result is truly stunning. Pou de Glaç is a Spanish farm in the hinterland of the Costa Brava, right on the Red d’Estany stream. The estate dates back to about the 17th century. Some structures from these long-ago days are still here. There’s an old flour mill, a vault, a barn and the ice fountain. The unique ice fountain was once used as a refrigerator of sorts thanks to natural ice stored within. In fact, Pou de Glaç means ice fountain. Related: Picture yourself on vacation at this floating eco-hotel The old farm has been transformed into an eco-friendly paradise that preserves many of the historic features. There are now several vacation homes here made with natural wood and stone. These materials contrast with the cement and steel that strengthen the design. Even the old barracks have been converted. This is where modern luxury and historical beauty come together. The conversion project began in 2009. The building shell has since had a full thermal renovation. There’s also a new roof and insulation in the basement. Inside, there are high ceilings, classic furnishings and big windows. There’s also a wellness area with a sauna landscape, treatment and relaxation rooms and an insect hotel on the grounds. The hotel building even has its own environmental management system. These vacation homes have space for guests, children’s rooms, kitchens, dining areas and living rooms — all the comforts of home. The design includes spacious rooms where the natural world and beautiful architecture shine. As stated in a press release, “Owner and managing director Dr. Clemens Ritter von Kempski brought his personal interest in sustainable issues to the table from the very beginning and realised his vision of operating the hotel in an eco-friendly way.” + Green Pearls Images via Green Pearls

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This old farm is now an eco-friendly modern vacation escape

This outdoor furniture line uses upcycled rice hulls that outperform wood

September 29, 2021 by  
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Michigan-based furniture manufacturing company Grand Rapids Chair Company has unveiled a sustainable addition to its repertoire of personalized chairs and tables. The Bowen Collection is a classically framed  table  with a twist — its top surface material is made using an ultra-durable blend of upcycled rice hulls that would have otherwise gone to waste . This agricultural byproduct of rice farming, called acre, actually holds up better than traditional wood, according to the company. Acre mimics the style of wood while providing upgraded weather, pest, water and UV damage resistance. It’s also guaranteed not to rot, crack or splinter. Acre is extremely lightweight and free from phenol,  formaldehyde  and adhesive that could off-gas into potentially harmful VOCs. Related: Designer Lucas Couto joins Precious Plastic for recycling project Veteran designers for the company, Tim Stoepker and Sara Gesink, are responsible for the collection’s aesthetic. “We landed on the picnic style slat design which we felt really spoke well to the community and the togetherness aspect of a picnic table, but higher end,” said Gesink while describing the design process. “With the hoop leg, it could visually fit inside in different environments versus going picnic style with the leg,” added Stoepker. The tables are manufactured locally in the Grand Rapids facility with rice hulls produced in Mississippi to minimize the company’s  carbon footprint. Buyers can choose between three heights for the Bowen table, including dining, counter and bar sizes, as well as pedestal and communal designs that come in 11 different stains colors. Additionally, the  steel  base for the pedestal design comes in 150 different powder coats. For those interested in using their table in an area that gets a lot of sun, there’s an option for adding an umbrella hole that fits any standard-sized umbrella in the center. Prices start at $1,006 for the pedestal table and $2,507 for the communal table. + Grand Rapids Chair Company Photography by Dean Van Dis

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This outdoor furniture line uses upcycled rice hulls that outperform wood

Greta Thunberg slams global leaders for their "blah, blah, blah"

September 29, 2021 by  
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Eighteen-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg has condemned global leaders for their lack of action to address the climate crisis . The outspoken activist has dismissed their words as empty talk.  Thunberg quoted U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson , saying, “This is not some expensive, politically correct, green act of bunny hugging.” She argues that global leaders have failed to live up to promises they made. Related: Rainn Wilson launches climate change web series featuring Greta Thunberg At the Youth4Climate summit in Milan on Tuesday, Thunberg called on world leaders to issue and commit to more stringent pledges. She also highlighted that carbon emissions continue to rise, despite many countries pledging to cut emissions. According to the U.N., carbon emissions are  on track to rise by 16% by 2030 . This is contrary to global environmental goals of reducing emissions to keep global heating below 1.5 degrees Celsius.  “Build back better. Blah, blah, blah. Green economy . Blah blah blah. Net zero by 2050. Blah, blah, blah,” Thunberg said in a speech. “This is all we hear from our so-called leaders. Words that sound great but so far have not led to action. Our hopes and ambitions drown in their empty promises.” Her speech comes as global leaders prepare for the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow on Oct. 31. High polluting countries such as the U.S. and China have been challenged to deliver tougher pledges to stop global temperatures from rising. While Thunberg agrees that there is a need for dialogue among global citizens, she has expressed her worries about the lack of action . She notes that, for over 30 years, global leaders have issued climate reform pledges without any meaningful action. “Of course we need constructive dialogue,” said Thunberg. “But they’ve now had 30 years of blah, blah, blah and where has that led us? We can still turn this around – it is entirely possible. It will take immediate, drastic annual emission reductions. But not if things go on like today. Our leaders’ intentional lack of action is a betrayal toward all present and future generations.” Via The Guardian Lead image via Anthony Quintano

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Greta Thunberg slams global leaders for their "blah, blah, blah"

This vineyard suite is tucked into a Tuscan UNESCO world heritage site

July 21, 2021 by  
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Recently unveiled in the Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco in Val d’Orcia,  Italy , part of a UNESCO world heritage site, the first unit of a luxury vineyard suite project was recently unveiled to the public. Known as Casa Ojalá, the guest suite has a few whimsical features like retractable beds, hidden furnishings, a merry-go-round terrace, roof portholes and a series of pulleys, gears and ropes. With over $1 billion worth of development expected by 2025, the hotel will embrace the surrounding nature and ensure eco-friendly,  sustainable architecture  in its design. Some of the environmentally-focused features include sustainable wood selection, fabrics made from  recycled plastic  and the inclusion of handmade Italian ceramic pieces created by local artisans. Related: Latvian wellness resort honors traditional spa rituals The resort will also include a bio  garden  with over 180 plant species inside, and the entire property will be plastic-free. Future plans include using photovoltaic panels, a rainwater recovery system and a black water depuration advanced biological plant. “We are proud to launch, starting in Italy in synergy with Castiglion del Bosco, to offer its guests of exception an absolutely unique chance of enjoying and discovering the wonders of the resort,” said Italian architect Beatrice Bonzanigo, President of Casa Ojalá. “I consider the Luxury of the Casa that I invented, a form of happiness for the guests of the best Hotels around the world. A sort of revival of handcraft as the root of evolution. Beyond the automatism of travel and living of our times, based on virtuality and hyper technology.” Once completed, the resort will offer 42 suites, 11 villas, two restaurants, a spa and a cooking school. At 5,000 acres in total, the estate will also encompass the historic Brunello di Montalcino  organic  winery and a private member’s golf club. + Casa Ojalá Images courtesy of Casa Ojalá

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This vineyard suite is tucked into a Tuscan UNESCO world heritage site

Minka Solar Pods provide versatile off-grid work or chat hubs

July 21, 2021 by  
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The worlds of business and leisure are changing at an exponential rate, and keeping up with the times means making space for slowing down. London-based design studio Duffy London understands the need for comfortable and functional gathering spots with off-grid functionality as an alternative to the local coffee shop or boardroom for small get-togethers. Building on the prior success of its indoor Japanese-inspired Minka Pods and Retro Pods, the company has released the outdoor-only Minka Solar Pods, which are designed to break up open spaces with cozy seating for up to four people. Related: KOGAA upcycles construction waste into a plant-filled coffee hub The finished look is modern and sleek, and it can function as a work hub, complete with four USB ports and acoustic panels that stifle distracting noises nearby. Minka Solar is 100% powered by the premium photovoltaic panels and lithium-ion battery integrated into the design, so it can be placed anywhere from the center of a city boardwalk to an off-the-beaten-path location. The main construction material is high-grade walnut and oak wood veneers derived from sustainably sourced forests under the supervision of the Forest Stewardship Council . The stations also include powder-coated mild steel for a durable finish. Even though they are open on the sides to allow for free-flowing air and to maintain a connection with the surrounding environment, Minka Solar Pods are weather-resistant to offer protection on rainy days. “We wanted to design a piece of communal furniture that can meet the needs of the modern working and municipal environment,” explained Chris Duffy, founder and director of Duffy London. “Indoor or outdoor, our Minka PODs serve as highly adaptable, non-defined spaces, that act like mini-hives for human interactions.” The standard Minka Solar Pod comes in several different color and finish options, each changing the final look with a range from neutral grays to striking black and gold. Each pod is custom-made when ordered, and every component is handmade by local artisans and in-house craftspeople. Duffy London asks customers to allow 12 weeks for delivery. + Duffy London Images via Duffy London

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New Potted Carbon planter captures CO2 with style

July 20, 2021 by  
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As worldwide anxiety about the  climate crisis  soars, conscious consumers are embracing the idea of carbon tech, or ways to turn excess CO2 into marketable products. Which is probably why the new Potted Carbon planters attained full Kickstarter funding in less than 36 hours. The new planters look like off-white stone speckled with black. But they’re really porcelain mixed with organic waste diverted from landfills. Since landfills accounted for about  15%  of the U.S.’s annual  methane  emissions in 2019, diverting waste into pottery — or just about anything else — could help make a dent in emissions. Related: Carbon to Value Initiative launches business accelerator for carbontech startups This organic waste basis for the planters is called OurCarbon™. Bioforcetech has developed a technology to sanitize carbon and lock it into place for thousands of years. The company developed the material as a soil amendment, material additive, filter and colorant, and is devising other uses. Since it’s already used in DEN Sustainable soil , an OurCarbon™ planter seems the perfect complement. A six-inch nursery pot fits snugly into the handmade Potted Carbon planter. Or, if you need to upsize the container for your four-inch nursery  plant , the Potted Carbon planter gives it space to grow. Each planter comes with DEN sustainable soil. How does the pot trap  carbon ? When fired together in a kiln, porcelain and OurCarbon™ become inseparable. The secret ingredient is grit, waste silica that’s seen as a nuisance in the waste industry. During firing, grit melts into a glass-like material, which solidifies as it cools, and works as the binder that sticks porcelain and OurCarbon™ together. The pot features a flat vertical face with indentations on opposite sides as a subtle homage to the handles on ancient vessels. In addition to aesthetics, the indentations let you suspend a  nursery  pot on the rim without fully potting it, leaving room for drainage underneath. OurCarbon™ partnered with  Sum Studio  and Oakland-based design studio  Break  to design the Potted Carbon planter. Bioforcetech, the company behind OurCarbon™, is looking at other ways to use this promising material, including as a black pigment for coloring plastic , rubber, paint and other materials, and as a black dye for textiles. + OurCarbon Photography by John Ross Thomas

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New Potted Carbon planter captures CO2 with style

MVRDV unveils futuristic hotel whose rooms can be configured in countless ways

October 24, 2017 by  
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Could flexible architecture be the future of urban design ? Prolific Dutch architects MVRDV just unveiled one very colorful hotel whose nine rooms can be transformed into a variety of configurations. The funky hotel – called (W)ego – is an example of how flexible architecture can help urban areas adapt to diverse needs quickly and effectively — whether it’s making room for growing families, providing student housing, or creating shelters for refugees. The 30-foot-tall hotel is the center of the firm’s Dutch Design Week installation called The Future City is Flexible. In it the firm proposes a new urban design model that is suited to the “users’ most elaborate fantasies.” The hotel has a total of nine rooms, each of which is designated by ultra-vibrant colors and quirky features geared to a variety of tastes. Related: Fully-furnished shipping containers form unique prefab hotel in Manchester The life-sized installation allows visitors to negotiate with each other in order to find the perfect living space of their dreams. The interactive method is based on the idea of creating a participatory process in order to achieve true happiness, “Through gaming and other tools, (W)ego explores participatory design processes to model the competing desires and egos of each resident in the fairest possible way,” explains MVRDV co-founder Winy Maas. The hotel, which is currently on display in Eindhoven, was created in collaboration with The Why Factory , the firm’s own research lab that studies how cities across the world will deal with issues such as climate change and population growth in the future. + MVRDV + The Why Factory Via Dezeen Photography by Ossip van Duivenbode

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MVRDV unveils futuristic hotel whose rooms can be configured in countless ways

This Airbnb alternative lets you stay in modern homes by top architects around the world

October 23, 2017 by  
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Architecture aficionados take note – a new Airbnb-inspired platform is offering stays in stunning modernist homes around the world. Started by two savvy architects, PlansMatter offers an impressive catalogue of beautifully designed homes to choose from such as Christian Müller’s earth-rammed Villa Vals in Switzerland or Frank Lloyd Wright’s Kinney House in Wisconsin. The rental platform is the brainchild of Connie Lindor and Scott Muellner, two architects who share a love of beautiful design . The service allows the team to spread that love by enabling architecturally-inclined travelers to explore new destinations while experiencing firsthand what its like to wake up in some of world’s most exquisite homes. Related: 8 inspiring tiny Airbnb homes for a taste of living small Muellner explains, “Even though the importance of design is becoming increasingly evident, often times we only experience the thoughtful design of our physical environment at a product design level, or in public architecture. To experience world-class residential architecture by actually staying in it for a few days, or ideally more, is incredibly moving. This experience really lets us understand the positive impact great architecture can have on our day-to-day lives.” Their vacation rental options are certainly impressive, including works by big name architects such as Olson Kundig , Bohlin Cywinski Jackson , Christian Müller and Frank Lloyd Wright . There are even quite a few options for the eco-minded traveler looking for off grid options such as the itHouse by Taalman Architecture. + PlansMatter Via Artsy Images via PlansMatter

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