The Haeckels Victorian-style bathing machine has a sauna inside

January 17, 2020 by  
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Is there anything better than self-care by the sea? UK-based skincare brand Haeckels is on a mission to reintroduce the local community of Margate Beach to the healing powers of the ocean. The region has a history of ocean-based health remedies and was home to one of the UK’s first sea-bathing hospitals. The company has built a wood-burning sauna on dreamy Margate Beach, located on the southeast coast of Britain. The idea is to give people more reasons to get outside (even during the colder winter months) while helping users relax and rejuvenate before enjoying the salty seawater just steps away. To help house the sauna, the company built a “bathing machine” structure using traditional materials. Bathing machines were popular from the 18th to 20th centuries as a beachside place for women to change their clothes before heading into the water. The walls were constructed using wood planks, with oak for the wheels and a steel frame; a retracting awning made of waxed cloth pulls up into a door for privacy and security.  Haeckels founder Dom Bridges got the idea from a trip to the popular Blue Lagoon spa in Iceland, where visitors go to bathe in the warm geothermal water surrounded by freezing temperatures. He found the perfect spot to start the project after discovering Margate, an area that had a rich history of sea bathing during the Victorian era, and began constructing the updated version of a traditional bathing machine with the help of a crowdfunding campaign in 2014. Names of the donors who contributed to the campaign, which raised £30,000 (about $39,000 USD), are laser-engraved onto the side of the structure. Bridges teamed up with local craftspeople from Re-Works Studio and Moosejaw Woodworks to complete the project, with a total of 20 people contributing their unique skills. Currently, the use of the beach sauna is free of charge to the public , but the company encourages supporters to contribute funds to the project’s Patreon membership platform to help pay for supplies, cleaning, maintenance and rent. Haeckels has also made the bathing machine available for private bookings for group hire or personal treatments. + Haeckels Via Dezeen Images via Haeckels

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The Haeckels Victorian-style bathing machine has a sauna inside

Airstream unveils new 2020 camper with smart technology

January 17, 2020 by  
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Airstream is a long-standing American legend beloved by many roaming road warriors, but now the iconic campers have been given a sleek modern makeover. The new 2020 Airstream Classics feature an impressive apartment-like interior design scheme that uses a “comfort white” color scheme to create a more contemporary living space that puts the campers once again at the forefront of tiny home design. Although Airstreams come in various sizes and styles, the campers have normally been manufactured with dark wood accents and rough textures that contrast with the campers’ ultra shimmery exteriors. The newly-unveiled 2020 Classics, however, have taken a decidedly contemporary turn that breathes new life into the classic campers. Related: This 1970s Airstream is an off-grid oasis for a family of six Perhaps taking cues from the burgeoning tiny home sector , the reformatted trailers now boast a bright and airy apartment-like layout. The living space is comprised of matte grey curved ceilings with all white walls that contrast nicely with a few black tables. Adding a sense of whimsy to the design, woven vinyl floors with a textured, grasscloth look run the length of the space. Although the campers boast a contemporary design, some things have remained the same such as the abundance of natural light that floods the interior space thanks to Airstream’s signature wide windows. The living space features a comfy living area that faces a small desk that pulls double duty as an entertainment area or office space. Further down the aisle, a contemporary kitchen will please any home cook. Outfitted with white shaker-style cabinetry and German-imported brass hardware, the space also features dark Corian countertops that compliment the grey, white and black color scheme that runs throughout the interior. A dining nook across from the kitchen provides ample space to enjoy a nice spread of home-cooked fare. At the end of the trailer , the bedroom has two single beds with stylish white linens with grey accents. Blackout shades keep the morning sun out while sleeping in, but otherwise, the space is just as bright and fresh as the rest of the interior. Ranging from 30 to 33 feet, the Classic Travel Trailer starts at just $156,400. In addition to its newly-renovated interiors, the Airstream Classics come with all-new Smart Control Technology that lets you control and monitor the trailer’s features from an app . For example, you can turn the exterior and interior lights on and off, extend and retract the awning, adjust the air conditioner or heat pump, and monitor tank and battery levels, all with just the touch of a button. + Airstream Via Curbed Images via Airstream

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Airstream unveils new 2020 camper with smart technology

New Marine Education Center in Malm raises climate change awareness

January 17, 2020 by  
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In Malmö, Sweden, the recently completed Marine Education Center is giving visitors a closer look at the effects of climate change and sustainable technology. Copenhagen-based practice NORD Architects designed the building, which not only provides an indoor-outdoor learning landscape but also visually blurs the boundaries between the built environment and its surroundings. As a beacon of sustainability, the center is integrated with energy-efficient technologies including solar panels, geothermal heat exchangers and rainwater collection systems. Located next to the Öresund strait, the Marine Education Center officially opened in the fall of 2018, four years after NORD Architects won the bid for the project in a design competition. Surrounded by earth berms built up to resemble sand dunes, the single-story building appears nestled into the landscape, while its long footprint emphasizes the vastness of its surroundings. The wave-like protrusions that top the roof add both visual interest and practical purpose; the angled elements are used to mount solar panels , let in indirect daylight and promote natural ventilation. Related: Obra Architects stimulates climate change discussion with a “climate-correcting machine” Beneath the roof are two enclosed areas separated by a large, sheltered walkway. Walls of glass surround the classrooms and gathering spaces to let in light and frame views of the sea, while the use of timber adds a sense of warmth to the interior. The Marine Education Center was designed to be highly flexible and can adapt over time to accommodate new technologies.  “We have developed a learning landscape where education is everywhere,” said Johannes Molander Pedersen, partner at NORD Architects. “It is in the landscape, in the building and in the transition between nature and culture. The center is open for everyone who is interested in the role we as humans play in nature’s life cycle. It allows hands-on learning experience that invites users to explore using their senses in the field, and thereafter analyze and understand their observations of the marine life .” + NORD Architects Photography by Adam Mørk via NORD Architects

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New e-snowmobiles bring eco tourism to the northern lights

November 11, 2019 by  
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Between Norway and the North Pole is Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago and one of the most rugged and northern inhabited areas. With an average January high of 9 degrees and 24 hours of darkness, you might not expect this to be a tourist hot-spot. But the northern lights are drawing bigger and bigger crowds through Svalbard’s dark winter. The trick is making sure that the roughly 75,000 annual visitors don’t overwhelm the environment and culture of the archipelago’s 2,583 year-round residents. One strategy has been to spread tourism out over the entire year, and a new tactic is using electric snowmobiles to explore the area in a more sustainable way. Off the Map Travel, based in England, specializes in Northern Lights travel. Its “Truly Green Aurora Holiday” package has developed the lowest impact Arctic northern lights adventure yet. The team has harnessed Arctic winds to power e-snowmobiles. Off the Map Travel offers the new activity out of Longyearbyen, the Svalbard town where the majority of the population lives. The company recommends this activity from November to January, when the skies over the islands are almost permanently black. Related: Sleep beneath the northern lights in this unique Iceland bubble “Although the northern lights are a natural phenomenon and are never guaranteed, you need clear, dark skies to optimize your chances to see them,” noted Jonny Cooper, Arctic travel expert and founder of Off the Map Travel. “Svalbard’s dark skies and extended aurora viewing are due to the sun’s being at least six degrees below the horizon. This means it can be dark all day, so the northern lights can appear at any time. In effect, the sun never rises.” In addition to the more eco-friendly nature of the e-snowmobiles, they are also much quieter. Unlike the roar of an average snowmobile , the electric variety allows visitors a peaceful and silent experience. “The quiet engine allows for gentle searching of the northern lights, reindeer , ptarmigans and polar foxes,” Cooper said. “Exploring some of the most uncharted areas of our planet has never been more eco-friendly.” + Off the Map Travel Image via Off the Map Travel

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New e-snowmobiles bring eco tourism to the northern lights

Greenland’s ice sheet lost 197 billion tons of ice in July

August 19, 2019 by  
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What melts faster than an ice cream cone on a sweltering summer day? Greenland’s ice sheet. In July, the world’s second biggest ice sheet lost 197 billion tons of ice and increased sea levels by about half a millimeter. On August 15 alone, Greenland’s ice sheet had a major meltdown, losing 11 billion tons of surface ice to the ocean, scientists reported. While it’s not unusual for Greenland’s ice sheet to melt during the summer, it usually starts at the end of May but began weeks earlier this year. Meteorologists reported that July has been one of the hottest months around the world ever recorded. For instance, global average temperatures for this July are in line with and possibly higher than July 2016, which holds the current record, according to preliminary data reported by the Copernicus Climate Change Programme . Related: Iceland will unveil monument for the first glacier lost to climate change According to Ruth Mottram, a climate scientist with Danish Meteorological Institute , Greenland’s ice sheet lost 197 billion tons of ice in July, enough to fill nearly 80 million Olympic swimming pools. Mottram told CNN the expected average of ice melt this time of year would be between 60 and 70 billion tons. What could it mean? All this wacky weather may ultimately result in one of Greenland’s biggest ice melts since 1950. With the melt season typically lasting to the end of August, Mottram said the ice sheet could see substantial melting; however, it might not be as much as in recent weeks. Melting ice isn’t the only issue facing the Arctic, as the area has also experienced wildfires , which scientists said could be because of high temperatures. Since June, Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service has observed more than 100 intense wildfires in the Arctic Circle. The recent wildfires and ice melt in the Arctic Circle could be strong indicators of more climate change -related issues ahead. Via CNN Image via NASA

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Greenland’s ice sheet lost 197 billion tons of ice in July

WilkinsonEyre gets green light for giant geothermal-powered biodome in Iceland

July 23, 2019 by  
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London-based practice WilkinsonEyre has just been granted planning permission for the Aldin Biodomes, a massive biodome complex that will showcase a rich tropical environment and local food production techniques in Iceland’s Reykjavik region. Designed for local consultancy firm Spor í sandinn, the ambitious development aims to be the “world’s first geo-climate biodome” that will also be carbon-neutral . Powered by Iceland’s abundant geothermal energy, the greenhouses are envisioned as a major city landmark in the same vein as Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay, also designed by WilkinsonEyre. Spanning approximately 48,000 square feet, the Aldin Biodomes will consist of a Main Nature Dome and a Tropical Dome. Elevated on a hilltop, the domes are designed to be seen from the city skyline and will catch the eye with undulating forms and glittering glass facades. The complex will be located on the edge of the outdoor recreational area Elliðaárdalur in the center of the Capital region, where it will serve as a new gateway to the largest green area closest to Reykjavik. The domes are oriented toward the northwest for guaranteed views of Iceland’s midnight sunsets during summer and the Northern Lights in wintertime. Related: These beautiful desert biodomes will be 100% self-sustaining The geothermal-powered Aldin Biodomes are envisioned as a year-round attraction offering more than just a welcome escape into a tropical environment during the harsh winters. In the lush Tropical Dome, visitors can enjoy a rich showcase of exotic plants as well as the Farm Lab, an educational environment on local food production. The Main Nature Dome will house a multifunctional space with a reception, an information area, a specialty restaurant, a visitors’ shop and a marketplace that emphasizes Iceland’s fresh products. “The unique and thought-provoking environments of the Biodomes are eye-catching visual landmarks on the city skyline,” said a statement on Spor í sandinn’s website. “Close attention is paid on the choice of materials, their aesthetic qualities and sustainability . Each structure catches and reflects the ever-shifting play of light from day to day and season to season — similarly to the burgeoning plant-life within. Striking colors, forms and textures of the vegetation, and the bustling throngs of visitors, will create a world of magic and a feast for the senses and the imagination.” + WilkinsonEyre Images via WilkinsonEyre

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Cyclo is the packable and sustainable helmet made from recycled plastic

July 23, 2019 by  
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Study after study shows that wearing a helmet saves lives and reduces injuries during an accident, yet some statistics detail a usage rate as low as 17 percent. Users report that a contributing factor to not wearing a helmet is the bulk and inconvenience of packing it around. Fortunately, the next generation of helmet is here, and the construction brings style, safety and a compact, portable design. Currently trending on Indiegogo, the Cyclo helmet was created by a few people who have been in the design realm for a while, with notable careers as engineers at Aston Martin and Boeing. The Cyclo offers users packability never before seen in a helmet. That’s because of the unique design that allows the rounded upper portion to flip over into the lower part of the helmet frame. Released with a durable clip, the movable parts stay securely in place during use. The helmet is built to exceed all U.S., European and Canadian standards. Related: DIY device emits a distinctive sound to keep cyclists safe While packability was a significant goal during the design phase, co-founders Josh Cohen, CEO, Dom Cotton, CMO and Will Wood, design engineer, felt the pull of corporate responsibility . With sustainability becoming a hot topic in every industry, the team decided to incorporate recycled materials into the helmet. By partnering with Plastic Oceans U.K., Cyclo supports efforts to clean up significant plastic pollution in the ocean. As a result, each helmet represents 20 water bottles removed from marine ecosystems. Sparked by a helmet-less ride Cohen experienced while cycling in London, the helmet is aimed at convenience to encourage a higher user rate. Environmentally responsible, portable and safe, the Cyclo can be worn when riding scooters, skateboards, bikes or segways. With the compact design, it easily slides into a backpack, gym bag or work bag. “Josh’s experience of riding in London highlighted a clear gap in the market,” Cotton said. “Helmets are really important but can be inconvenient, especially for urban riders. We’ve created something that will help more people to ride more often and protect themselves and our planet in the process.” Cyclo is currently offering a discount through the Indiegogo campaign , which is ending soon. The team is taking orders now with production set to begin in early 2020, and the first product shipments going out the following spring. + Cyclo Images via Cyclo

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Cyclo is the packable and sustainable helmet made from recycled plastic

Iceland approves killing of more than 2,000 whales

February 26, 2019 by  
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Iceland has just approved the killing of 2,000 whales over the course of the next five years. The country’s government is allowing whaling companies to slaughter 217 minke and 209 fin whales per year until 2025, sparking outrage among environmental and conservation groups around the world. Officials in Iceland believe that killing these two groups of whales is sustainable and based on scientific studies. In fact, the minister of the fisheries department, Kristján Þór Júlíusson, says that minke and fin whales are overpopulated in Iceland’s oceans and hunting them will help reduce overpopulation. Related: Ghost gear is haunting our oceans “Whaling in Icelandic waters is only directed at abundant whale stocks, North Atlantic common minke whales and fin whales, it is science-based, sustainable, strictly managed and in accordance with international law,” a statement from the government read. Not everyone agrees with the ministry’s research. Conservationists say that their conclusion is based on faulty research and that killing whales does not offer any benefits to the country. The Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), heavily criticized the new law, and claims that it does not have support from local residents— many of whom do not use whale products on a regular basis. Whale watching is a huge tourism draw for Iceland. The whale watching industry accounts for $13.4 million of the country’s economy. Hunting whales, meanwhile, brings in around $8 million. While Iceland employs more individuals in whale watching, hunting these ocean faring creatures pays more. Regardless of the justification, hunting whales was banned by the International Whaling Commission back in 1986. The law was put in place because whale populations were on the decline due to hunting. Despite these widely upheld laws, Iceland continues to kill whales on an annual basis — and minke and fin whales are not the only two species caught in the crosshairs. In 2018, a whaling crew out of Iceland called Hvalur hf killed a blue whale, an act in direct violation of international laws . The incident sparked outrage around the world and drew attention to the country’s whaling practices. Undeterred by worldwide condemnation, Iceland has not shown any signs of stopping the hunting of whales over the next five years. Via CNN Images via janeb13

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Iceland approves killing of more than 2,000 whales

BREEAM Excellent-certified office of the future frames Bucharests restored Oromolu Villa

February 26, 2019 by  
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Bucharest-based architecture firm DSBA (Dorin Stefan Birou de Arhitectura) recently completed the Oromolu Office, a futuristic counterpart to its historic neighbor, the recently restored Oromolu Villa. Created as part of the Aviatorilor 8 complex in the heart of Bucharest , the three-story new-build was conceived as the “office of the future” with an eye-catching curvaceous glass curtain wall that helped the project achieve BREEAM Excellent certification. In addition to the triple-laminated facade, the building is equipped with a variety of cutting-edge sustainable technologies, from the implementation of an Advanced Building Management System to the availability of electric car chargers, bike racks and showers on all underground parking levels. The centerpiece and the inspiration behind the Aviatorilor 8 complex is the Oromolu House, a historic landmark built in 1927. The construction of the BREEAM -certified office building was completed alongside the restoration of the historic villa, which had previously suffered from neglect for years. The transformation of the site has restored the landmark building to its former glory. “Oromolu Office is a dialogue between old and new, between heritage and new technologies, a reflection on the glass of the history who yearns to be contemporary,” the architects explain in their project statement. “The innovation factor is defined by the 16m-long canopy and double-ventilated façade with triple-laminated double-curved glass that enhances the quality of the interior space and the flowing green jardinière controls the heat transfer and gives a graceful expression to the whole architectural approach.” Related: Contemporary cabin-like cafe pops up in the heart of Bucharest As a futuristic “smart” building, the Oromolu Office features not only the latest generation HVAC systems, but is also the first building in Romania to use the cutting-edge heating solution that embeds a PE-Xa pipework system in the slurry walls, which also help heat and cool the neighboring historic villa. The energy efficiency and sustainability of the office is further optimized with rainwater collection and recycling, sensor-controlled lights and blinds, low-flow fixtures and the use of recycled construction materials. + DSBA Images by Radu Malasincu and Vlad Patru

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BREEAM Excellent-certified office of the future frames Bucharests restored Oromolu Villa

Net-zero home is designed to blend in with its natural, protected landscape

January 11, 2019 by  
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Located adjacent to designated wetlands, the Tung House by Seoul-based firm Project Architecture  is a net-zero home that combines conscientious landscape design with energy efficiency. Along with a large photovoltaic array and solar water heater panels to provide power and heating, the home uses a number of passive features to achieve its  net-zero energy use . At 2,900 square feet, the Tung House is a fairly large structure but relatively small in comparison with other homes in the area. One of the reasons that the size was restrained is its location. The home is built in Lincoln, Massachusetts on a strictly preserved site adjacent to designated wetlands. The size limitations imposed by the local government presented a challenge to the architects, who met the restrictions head-on with a gorgeous angular design that aesthetically gives the home a unique character while simultaneously achieving net-zero energy use . Related: This net-zero home is inspired by Iceland’s volcanic landscapes At the heart of the design are the geometric features. The roof, which is comprised of various planes, was used to give the home ample space for the photovoltaic array and solar water heater panels . The rooftop solar panels provide sufficient power and heating to the house, and in the summer months, any additional energy is transferred back to the city’s local grid. In addition to making room for solar panels, the multiple roof planes provide several overhangs that shade the interior living space during the warmer months and help provide natural light and heat during the wintertime. Inside, the architects wanted to create an open layout that offered a seamless connection between the living space and the outdoors. From the front door to the upper level, multiple large windows offer views of the serene backyard. Naturally lit by sunlight , a loft-like living room and open kitchen are on the ground floor, which is connected to the upper floors through a mezzanine level. The interior design scheme of all-white provides a contemporary elegance throughout the home, enhanced by the various angular ceilings. + Project Architecture Via Archdaily Images via Project Architecture

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Net-zero home is designed to blend in with its natural, protected landscape

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