nat-2 creates a completely vegan sneaker made from coffee

November 20, 2018 by  
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Vegan sneakers? You bet! Most people know that the fashion industry is notorious for contributing to global waste, heavy water consumption and high electrical usage. The shoe industry is no exception with the traditional petroleum-based synthetic soles and a reliance on harsh chemicals. One company, nat-2 , has taken a stand against this rampant pollution with its new coffee sneakers, made from — you guessed it — recycled coffee. The unisex design incorporates natural materials from the top to the bottom, and there are two different styles to choose from, a high-top and a low-top. The leather-looking portion of the shoe comes from PET recycled water bottles, helping to remove post-consumer plastic waste from the landfills. Plus, by replacing leather, nat-2 refuses to subscribe to the environmental problems associated with raising beef and toxic tannery byproducts that pollute the planet. The rich chocolate-colored covering comes from up to 50 percent recycled coffee that provides the suede-like texture. The company reports that the shoes do exude a subtle coffee scent. Related: These sustainable sunglasses smell like coffee and decompose into fertilizer The outsole of the shoe features real rubber, rather than the non-sustainable synthetic rubber that many companies use. To avoid harsh chemicals that not only put workers in danger but also leach into the soil after hitting the landfill, the company uses a water-based glue that is free from animal ingredients. In addition, the insole is made from naturally antibacterial cork , and the upper portion features nat-2’s signature reflective glass for added style. Handmade in Italy in a family-owned, high-tech facility, the sneakers are made in a production process that cuts out much of the carbon dioxide pollution from traditional coal-burning facilities that mass produce the estimated 20 billion shoes flooding the market annually. nat-2 founder Sebastian Thies developed the shoe following the release of another eco-friendly shoe, the fungi sneaker, which is made from tree fungus. The first run of the coffee sneakers is sold out, but more shoes are in production. + nat-2 Images via nat-2

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nat-2 creates a completely vegan sneaker made from coffee

Carbon-neutral home in Australia conceals its energy efficiency with minimalist design

November 6, 2018 by  
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Perth-based firm  Whispering Smith  has unveiled a beautiful, concrete home that combines the best of brutalist architecture with sustainable materials. Built on a very compact infill lot outside of Perth, House A is an affordable and carbon-neutral  home that was built with concrete, reclaimed brick, solar power and an underground water collection system. The 753-square-foot home was strategically designed to make the maximum use out of limited building space. Where many architects would have taken a complicated route to create more out of less, the Whispering Smith team focused on creating a design that would use simple, sustainable materials to create a beautiful space with understated elegance. Related: This super-insulated concrete “cabin” hides a surprisingly cozy interior The home is clad in concrete made out of 65 percent slag, a byproduct of steel manufacturing. Along with the concrete walls, the home was built with reclaimed bricks , which were also incorporated into the surrounding landscape. Concealed from view, a water collection tank is underground and solar panels are installed on the roof. The home’s volume from a distance cuts a stoic figure, with light gray, gabled parapets reminiscent of a traditional barn but covered in concrete. Breaking up the concrete facade is the large,  charred timber entryway topped with a polycarbonate screen. The minimalism  continues throughout the interior, where an extremely neutral color palette was used to enhance the soft, natural light that illuminates the rooms. According to the architects, the interior design was meant to be “raw, but not without warmth, texture and flourish.” The firm further explained, “We made a conscious decision to choose materials that would age well, were simple to understand and construct and didn’t require cladding or extra finishes. We used limepaint, soap finish and linseed oil, because the interior materials were the largely the ‘finish’ themselves. The concrete will never need painting, [it] will only get better as it ages. At dusk, the concrete panels absorb the evening colors and the light and the house almost disappears into the sky, and there’s something really nice about that.” To maximize the compact floor plan, the interior rooms flow seamlessly from one space to another. The main living area is open and airy, with a built-in sofa and white-tiled bench. From this room, large doors slide open to an outdoor courtyard with plenty of space for dining, entertaining and relaxing. A wooden staircase leads up to the second floor, which houses the bedroom and en suite bathroom, the only room in the home with a door. + Whispering Smith Via Dwell Photography by Ben Hosking via Whispering Smith

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Carbon-neutral home in Australia conceals its energy efficiency with minimalist design

A dark, timber home rests peacefully among evergreen pine trees

October 30, 2018 by  
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San Francisco- and Oslo-based firm  Mork Ulnes Architects has unveiled a black  timber home tucked into a forestscape in Norden, California. To connect the home with its stunning scenery, the chalet-inspired Troll Hus was clad in pine tar-treated wood and elevated off the landscape with large concrete pillars for minimal site impact. The massive, 3,300-square-foot family home holds court in the middle of a pine forest , just an hour and a half outside of Sacramento. To blend the home into its pristine natural environment, it was clad in dark wood. The black, timber structure sits high up near the tree canopies, giving off a sense of peaceful solitude among the soaring trees. Related: A cypress tree grows through this hillside home in Los Angeles According to the architects, the inspiration for the design was to create a family home where the residents could reconnect with nature, whether inside or outside the home. They explained, “The design is driven both by the extreme environmental conditions found at a 6,800-foot elevation and a California sensibility of generous indoor-outdoor living.” While the elevation of the home certainly affords stunning views, the pillars are also a strategic feature that provides resilience and passive temperature control . The concrete legs were meant to reduce the impact on the environment and protect the home from snow fall, which can reach up to 800 inches during winter. Additionally, putting extra elevation to the home allows for optimal solar exposure in the winter and shading from direct sun in the summer. The orientation of the house also shields the building from strong winds. On the interior, the living space is clad in light wood paneling, creating a soothing vibe. An abundance of large windows brighten the interior with natural light . The open living and dining layout was designed to offer ample room for entertaining or simply enjoying the views in solitude. A large terrace wraps around one side of the home, further enhancing the design’s strong connection to the outdoors. + Mork Ulnes Architects Via Freshome Photography by  Bruce Damonte

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A dark, timber home rests peacefully among evergreen pine trees

Architects recycle shipping containers into a breezy Dhaka home

October 30, 2018 by  
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In Dhaka, Bangladesh , local architecture firm River & Rain transformed four shipping containers into a light-filled, three-story house spanning 134 square meters. Completed in 2017, the cargotecture dwelling doesn’t hide its shipping container roots yet manages to exude a welcoming and livable atmosphere through strategically cut openings, terraces that emphasize indoor-outdoor living and greenery that grows up, around and through the building. Recycled materials were also used throughout the home, which is named Escape Den after its tranquil setting on the outskirts of the city. Spread out across three floors, the Escape Den organizes the kitchen and dining spaces on an elevated ground floor and places the living room and bedroom areas on the upper levels. Accessed via a side gate off of a dirt road, the property features an entry sequence that begins with a short flight of stairs from the parking pad to a sheltered deck. The deck consists of the dining area and other seating options oriented to face views of the lawn, which takes up approximately two-thirds of the site. The covered deck also connects to a shipping container converted to house a small media room, kitchen and bathroom. The caretaker’s room is located in the back. A flight of stairs traverses the central atrium space — anchored by an almond tree and a veil of green vines that hang from the ceiling — and connects to a glass-enclosed living room. Another flight of stairs leads up to the third floor, where a third shipping container, housing the two bedrooms, is set perpendicular to the bulk of the building in a dramatic cantilever and is topped with a green roof . One of the bedrooms also connects to an outdoor terrace . The green-roofed shipping container can be reached via a spiral staircase. Related: German company converts old shipping containers into gorgeous living spaces “The hefty look of those containers has become dramatically airier with some skillful ensemble of architectural details,” the architects explained. “The floated platforms of the house, intertwining stairs and diverse direction of container placement have made the project more visually eye-catching.” + River & Rain Photography by Maruf Raihan , Hasan Saifuddin Chandan  and Snahasis Saha via River & Rain

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Earthquake-resistant Christchurch Central Library is a stunning symbol of rebirth

October 26, 2018 by  
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Nearly eight years after multiple massive earthquakes ravaged the New Zealand city of Christchurch , Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects have completed the Christchurch Central Library, a “stunning symbol of hope, unity and rebirth” built on the concepts of resiliency and sustainability. Dubbed T?ranga — M?ori for “foundation” — the earthquake-resistant building also pays homage to the deep cultural heritage of Ng?i T??huriri, the local M?ori people, through various artworks as well as with a striking gold facade inspired by the shape of the local harakeke flax. The $92 million library is one of several major public projects aimed at revitalizing the city. Located at Christchurch’s historic Cathedral Square, the Christchurch Central Library spans five stories across 9,500 square meters. To protect against potential earthquakes in the future, Lewis Bradford Consulting Engineers developed a seismic force-resisting system consisting of large-scale concrete walls connected to high tensile, pre-tensioned steel cables that allow the building to sway and then return to its original position. The self-centering mechanism means that the library will sustain minimal structural damage even during large earthquake events. In addition to its earthquake-resistant properties, the building is modeled after the vernacular architecture of the Ng?i T??huriri thanks to close collaboration with the Matapopore Charitable Trust. The organization helped weave the many M?ori references into the library from the building materials to the various terraces oriented for views of significant Ng?i T??huriri landmarks like Mount Grey and Hawaiki. Schmidt Hammer Lassen drew on its extensive experience with library design to create an inviting and light-filled environment centered on a grand, staggered atrium that doubles as a social staircase and gathering space. Related: Shigeru Ban completes incredible cardboard cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand “T?ranga is the kind of multi-faceted project that layers architectural interest with significant cultural relevance,” said Morten Schmidt, founding partner at Schmidt Hammer Lassen . “It has been a privilege to design a project that not only fulfills the need for a new central library , but also one whose mission of restoring the soul of the city includes the deep cultural heritage of Ng?i T??huriri, the local M?ori people.” + Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects Photography by Adam Mørk via Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

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Earthquake-resistant Christchurch Central Library is a stunning symbol of rebirth

A love of theater serves as inspiration for this tiny home

October 17, 2018 by  
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When you have a passion, it is often reflected in your home. So when this San Diego family decided to join the tiny home community with a custom-built model by Portland-based Tiny Heirloom , they used their daughter’s passion for the theater as an inspiration in the design. The tiny home greets its residents with a vibrant red front door. Inside, the design feels luxe with touches of gold and deep red. Intricately hammered metal is the focal point in both the ceiling and the backsplash of the 80-square-foot kitchen. The curved dining table with a shimmering gold top is also a nod to traditional theater characteristics. Functional elements in the space include a full-size oven, stovetop and refrigerator/freezer. The entertainment area adjacent to the kitchen embodies the theatrical vibe with a tufted red velvet sofa and a large, flat-screen television. With only 200-square feet, the home boasts two separate sleeping spaces, including a master bedroom with a double bed, a skylight and two additional windows. A stairway leads to the quarters, lit with a theater-style glow to highlight the lower steps. An additional sleeping loft hosts two more beds for the kids or guests and another skylight perfect for viewing the theater of the stars at night. With a total of nine windows, the entire home benefits from plenty of natural light. Related: This charming, solar-powered tiny home is handcrafted from reclaimed wood Limited square footage does not limit the design elements in the detail-oriented bathroom. Tile inlay is the focal point in the full-size bath and shower, and a flushing toilet is a comfort not found in many tiny homes. The theater theme is not overlooked in this room either with a vintage – and chandelier-style light fixture above the large sink. Interior shiplap walls and cedar materials offer a comfortable, homey feel while built-in shelving allows ample room for storage and displays. Altogether, this tiny home is certainly a show-stopper. + Tiny Heirloom Via Curbed Images via Tiny Heirloom

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Studio Roosegaardes laser light art tracks floating space waste in the sky

October 12, 2018 by  
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A dazzling neon green light show is illuminating the night skies in Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde’s latest large-scale art installation, the Space Waste Lab Performance. Created as part of the Space Waste Lab , the performance uses real-time tracking information to render the space waste floating above our heads visible with bright green LEDs that follow the movement of the drifting waste. The series of live installations kicked off on October 5 in the Dutch city of Almere and aims to call attention to the problem of space waste as well as sustainable upcycling solutions. According to Studio Roosegaarde, there are currently more than 29,000 items of space waste  — approximately 8.1 million kilograms worth — floating around the earth. Classified as objects greater than 10 centimeters, the waste comprises anything from parts of broken rockets to chipped-off satellite pieces. The drifting junk poses a danger to current satellites and can disrupt digital communications, however there is no clear plan on how to fix the growing issue. In response, the Dutch design studio launched Space Waste Lab with support from the European Space Agency to bring attention to the issue and find ways to upcycle the waste into sustainable products. The Space Waste Lab Performance that launched early this month marks the first phase of the living lab. Created in compliance with strict safety and aviation regulations, the large-scale light show uses cutting-edge software and camera technology to track pieces of drifting space waste in real time with high-powered, neon green LEDs that project a distance of 125,000 to 136,000 miles. “I’m a strong believer in cooperation between technologists and artists,” said  ESA Director Franco Ongaro about Space Waste Lab. “Artists not only communicate vision and feelings to the public but help us discover aspects of our work which we are often unable to perceive. This cooperation is all the more important when dealing with issues like space debris, which may one day impact our future and our ability to draw maximum benefits from space. We need to speak in different ways, to convey not just the dry technological aspects of technology, but the emotions involved in the struggle to preserve this environment for future generations.” Related: Daan Roosegaarde unveils mind-expanding 295-foot SPACE installation in Eindhoven Space Waste Lab will be open to the public at Kunstlinie in Almere until January 19, 2019 and is complemented by the “Space @ KAF” exhibition next door. The Space Waste Lab Performance will be exhibited after sunset on the nights of October 5 and 6; November 9 and 10; December 7 and 8; and January 18 and 19, 2019. The surrounding street and commercial lights will be turned off at those times to enhance the experience. Phase 2 of the program begins after January 2019 and will study ways to capture and upcycle space waste. + Studio Roosegaarde Via Dezeen Images via Studio Roosegaarde

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Studio Roosegaardes laser light art tracks floating space waste in the sky

Eco-friendly Scarborough Home is designed to follow the sun

October 9, 2018 by  
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Set into a steep hillside in Christchurch , the Scarborough Home makes the most of its challenging location by embracing site-specific design. The modern family home is the work of New Zealand architectural practice Borrmeister Architects , which capitalized on the property’s stellar ocean views with a pavilion-like design. Modestly sized at 250 square meters, the breezy, passive solar dwelling also boasts environmentally friendly features including solar panels, rainwater retention tanks and a sculptural roof designed to follow the arcing path of the sun. Building on an extremely steep hillside required the architects to implement a strict 1.2-meter grid that informed the massing of the three-story Scarborough Home. On the basement level, stone walls anchor the home to the ground and appear like a natural extension of the rock face. In comparison, the upper two levels take on a more pavilion-like feel with massive walls of high-performance glass sheathed behind cedar sliding screens to mitigate unwanted solar gain. A lightweight, sail-inspired roof tops the building and is supported by two tree-like timber and steel structures. The open-plan living areas — including the kitchen, dining area and lounge — as well as a study and bathroom are placed on the top-most level. Three bedrooms, bathrooms, a sauna and the laundry room are located on the floor below. Outdoor living is emphasized with large connecting decks, a swimming pool, an outdoor shower and a vegetable garden. Related: Post-earthquake passive solar home is built around resilience “The brief was for a relaxed, playful home open to the sun, capturing the views to the beach and to the uphill park, whilst also providing shelter from the prevailing winds and incorporating easy driveway access and parking,” the firm explained. To meet the client’s wishes for an environmentally conscious home, the architects used locally sourced, low-maintenance, natural materials for construction. In addition to solar roof tiles and a  rainwater harvesting system, the Scarborough Home includes automatic overhead louvers and an ultra-low emission log burner. + Borrmeister Architects Images by Sarah Rowlands

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Eco-friendly Scarborough Home is designed to follow the sun

A giant tree grows inside CRAs renovated farmhouse proposal

October 9, 2018 by  
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Italian design office Carlo Ratti Associati has unveiled designs for the Greenary, a renovated farmhouse that will be designed around a large, leafy, 50-year-old Ficus tree. Rising to a height of nearly 33 feet tall, the perennial tropical plant will anchor the main living area while the various living quarters will be arranged around the upper canopy. The adaptive reuse project is the first step in CRA’s competition-winning master plan and factory for Mutti, one of the leading tomato brands in the world. Located in a bucolic region in Italy’s “Food Valley” close to the city of Parma in northern Italy, the new Mutti master plan “strives to integrate nature and the built environment,” according to the architects. The Greenary will serve as a private residence located a few hundred meters from the new Mutti factory, a massive building that will process up to 5,500 tons of tomatoes a day. Both buildings will be designed around the concept of biophilia and connection with nature. “The Greenary is not a treehouse or a house on a tree, but a house designed around a tree,” explained Carlo Ratti Associati in its project statement. “Life unfolds in sync with that of a 50-year old Ficus, a perennial tropical plant housed in the middle of the farmhouse south hall. All around the tree, a sequence of interconnected rooms creates six domestic spaces — three above the entrance, three below it — each of them dedicated to a specific activity: from practicing yoga to listening to music, to reading and eating together.” Related: Thousands of tomato-sauce jars to turn into “tomato architecture” at Mutti In addition to the Ficus tree, which thrives in indoor environments, the house will feature a mainly timber palette, from the structural beams and stairs to the various furnishings. Large windows will flood the interior with natural light while framing views of the rural surroundings. Completion for the master plan is slated for 2023. + Carlo Ratti Associati Images via Carlo Ratti Associati

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A giant tree grows inside CRAs renovated farmhouse proposal

This itsy-bitsy treehouse in Norway offers the ultimate off-grid escape

September 28, 2018 by  
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For those looking to get away from it all, Glamping Hub offers a tiny treehouse perched high above the treetops in a remote area of Norway. The wooden cube with an all-glass front facade allows guests to disconnect completely while taking in some seriously breathtaking panoramic views of the majestic fjords. Located near Sandane, Norway, this minimalist treehouse offers the perfect retreat for those looking to escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. The cube-like structure is perched among the treetops and surrounded by lush greenery. The environment, as well as the tiny cabin, allows guests to immerse themselves in the natural surroundings. Related: Stay in a dreamy treehouse inside an ancient English forest Guests visiting the treehouse will enjoy the chic, glamping style of the lodging. There is a double bed as well as a cozy floor mattress for lounging around. For quiet reading or napping time, a comfy hammock is the ideal spot for relaxation. The bathroom is compact but functional with a toilet and sink. Linens, towels and toiletries are provided. There is also a small kitchenette where guests can prepare their own meals. At the heart of the tiny cabin is a seating area with two comfy armchairs and a small table. Looking out through the floor-to-ceiling glazed facade, guests can spend hours soaking up the stunning views of the fjords. For those wanting to explore a bit, there are plenty of outdoor activities available year-round in the area: hiking, biking, canoeing, bird watching and much more. + Glamping Hub Via Apartment Therapy Images via Glamping Hub

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