New biofabricated clothing made from algae goes through photosynthesis just like plants

October 25, 2019 by  
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There are a products that completely revolutionize the fashion industry for their eco-friendly approach and innovative vision. Although the fashion industry has made strides over the past few years in terms of sustainable clothing production, there is still a long ways to go. Thankfully, a handful of designers are coming up with incredibly innovative solutions to really change the concept of eco-fashion . One such visionary is Canadian-Iranian designer Roya Aghighi , whose new line of clothing, Biogarmentry, is made from algae that turns carbon dioxide into oxygen via photosynthesis. Made in collaboration with University of British Colombia (UBC) and Emily Carr Univeristy, the Biogarmentry line is a revolutionary design within the world of eco-fashion . While most sustainable designers are searching for fabrics that don’t harm the environment, Aghighi went straight to the environment for her unique fabric, using living, photosynthetic cells in its design. Related: SAOLA offers sustainable sneakers sourced from algae and recycled plastic The biofabricated textiles are made with a type of single-cell green algae called clothichlamydomonas reinhardtii. To create a solid textile, the algae is spun together with nano polymers. The result is a light, woven eco-textile akin to linen that photosynthesizes like plants. Currently a designer in residence at Material Experience Lab in the Netherlands, Aghighi explains that her inspiration for the design was to cut out the search for high-quality fabrics that don’t harm the planet, instead opting to create what could be the fabric of the future. “Biogarmentry suggests a complete overhaul rather than tinkering at the edges,” she said. “The living aspect of the textile will transform users’ relationship to their clothing, shifting collective behaviors around our consumption-oriented habits towards forming a sustainable future.” In addition to its sustainable design , the textile is also easy-to-maintain. To keep it clean, the garments just need to be watered once in a while, just like real live plants. When the garment has reached the end of its life cycle, which, for the moment, is just a month, it can be used for composting. + Roya Aghighi Via Dezeen Images via Roya Aghighi

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New biofabricated clothing made from algae goes through photosynthesis just like plants

Research finds heart attacks and strokes surge on high pollution days in England

October 25, 2019 by  
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A new study published by King’s College London (KCL) reports that elevated levels of air pollution contribute to increased spikes in cardiac arrests, stroke admissions and asthma hospitalizations. The sobering news has been described as a health emergency, prompting calls for the British government to commit to more enforceable sustainability targets and improved air quality standards. The research team surveyed data across nine cities: London, Birmingham, Bristol, Derby, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Oxford and Southampton. London had the largest uptick of health incidents because it experienced more high pollution days. For the English capital city, an additional 124 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, 231 stroke admissions and 193 asthma hospitalizations occurred on days registering higher pollution levels. The collated data clearly revealed a cause-and-effect correlation. Thus, increased air pollution from wind direction and wind strength conclusively affected people’s health in just a short period of time while similarly having implications on life expectancy. Related: For 2019, the 10 worst cities for air quality are in California and Arizona Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, said, “London’s lethal air is a public health crisis — it leads to thousands of premature deaths in the capital every year, as well as stunting the development of young lungs and increasing cases of respiratory illness.” The research results were published ahead of the British National Clean Air Summit , which was hosted by UK100 , a British network of local government leaders. In response to the study findings, the British National Health Service (NHS) tweeted that almost a third of preventable deaths in England “are due to non-communicable diseases specifically attributed to air pollution .” Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS, further explained, “Since these avoidable deaths are happening now — not in 2025 or 2050 — together we need to act now. For the NHS, that is going to mean further comprehensive action building on the reduction of our carbon footprint of one-fifth in the past decade. So our NHS energy use, supply chain, building adaptations and our transport will all need to change substantially.” + King’s College London Via EcoWatch Image via Matt Buck

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Research finds heart attacks and strokes surge on high pollution days in England

Artist suspends a giant cube filled with images of ocean plastic inside a London museum

September 26, 2019 by  
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Architectural and design studio Sam Jacob Studio has unveiled a new installation that highlights the burgeoning threat that plastic waste poses to the planet. Suspended from the ceiling of London’s V&A Museum, Sea Things is a giant, mirrored cube that emits a cartoon-style animated video. The animation takes spectators on a poignant journey from the year the first commercial plastic products were launched to 2050, the year some scientists estimate that the volume of plastic will be greater than fish in the world’s oceans. As part of London Design Festival , Sea Life greets visitors as they enter the V&A Museum’s great hall. Suspended in the air, the massive, transparent cube was inspired by a Charles and Ray Eames textile pattern found in the museum that depicts a pattern of fish and other sea creatures. However, the artist has updated the Eames pattern to reflect today’s growing ocean pollution issue. Along with a bevy of fish, a variety of waste objects found in the ocean these days, namely plastic bottles , has been added floating around in the cube. Related: Artist submerges 24 portraits underwater to raise attention about our plastic waste The animation begins in 1907, the year that one of the first commercial plastic products (Bakelite) was launched. The animation continues through the years, showing how the ocean waters have become more and more polluted with massive amounts of waste. The animation ends in 2050, the year that the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has estimated that the volume of plastic waste in our oceans will be greater than the amount of marine life. During the inauguration of the eco-art installation , Sam Jacob explained his inspiration. “The Eames’ were working in a very optimistic time when consumerism was linked to freedom. For us, now, we’re working in a very different context. Our relationship to things, to production, to ecology is far more difficult and complex,” he told journalists. “So, what we’ve done here is to remake the Eames’ pattern from the perspective of 2019.” While Sea Things is located on the ground floor, Jacob is also exhibiting a collection of ceramic water vessels in the museum’s ceramics gallery. The series reimagines some of the museum’s most historic objects remade in modern materials. For example, a water pot from China’s Ming Dynasty is reproduced in recycled plastic, and a 4,000-year-old beaker from Scotland was remade using bioplastic made from sea shells. + Sam Jacob Studio Via Dezeen Photography by Ed Reeve via Sam Jacob Studio

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Artist suspends a giant cube filled with images of ocean plastic inside a London museum

Hannah Franco and Nancy Taylor celebrate sustainable fashion with poque volution

June 25, 2019 by  
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Friends Nancy Taylor and Hannah Franco were traveling together in Morocco when they got the idea. Nancy couldn’t help but notice that Hannah could fit everything she needed into one backpack, whether they were traveling, trekking or going out to dinner. The result was époque evolution , a sustainable fashion company focused on creating eco-friendly, versatile clothes made from organic, upcycled, deadstock and post-consumer waste recycled fibers. They work with mills and factories that are committed to ethical practices and a smaller collective carbon footprint. To top it all off, the clothes are beautifully low-maintenance (goodbye, dry cleaning and toxic chemicals ). A review of the époque évolution clothing I got a chance to try the best-selling Orion Leggings and the Go To Tank for myself, and let me say I have found my new wardrobe staples. These pants have the power to turn the humble legging from what was previously a simple, lazy solution to a dependable companion for really any activity ( yoga class , traveling, grabbing some dinner and so on). The slit on the bottom gives it an added fashion appeal as well as the ability to show off your footwear in a trendy way. The Go To Tank has a slight opening in the back, which isn’t totally noticeable but provides some much-needed breathability if you’re wearing it to hike or work out. You could easily dress it up, as the merino wool fabric is antimicrobial and thermo-regulating (meaning going straight from the gym to anywhere else is completely doable). Even better, it’s made from deadstock material, meaning the fabric would have otherwise ended up in the landfill . Related: The sustainable wardrobe — it’s more accessible than you think The leggings are crafted from econyl®, a 100 percent recycled nylon fiber made from old fishnets and carpets, and the tank is made from a deadstock wool blend of 80 percent wool merino and 20 percent polyester. Both are machine washable and quick-drying. What’s more, my Orion Leggings and Go To Tank came packaged in a biodegradable mailer from The Better Packaging Co . At $98 and $68 respectively, the leggings and tank may take a chunk out of your paycheck, but once you consider the quality, eco-consciousness and ethical ramifications, you’ll be happy you’ve made the investment. They go with practically everything, so you’ll spend less time choosing what to wear and more time living your life, enjoying the outdoors or exploring. An interview with the founders Check out our interview with the founding members, Nancy Taylor and Hannah Franco, below. Inhabitat: What was the inspiration behind creating a line of clothes using sustainable fabrics? Nancy Taylor: I am incredibly passionate about changing the fashion industry and disrupting its outdated practices. After spending years of my career working in the corporate fashion world and traveling overseas to visit factories, I was hopeful that there was a different model for doing business. Since then, I’ve been focused on trying to be part of the solution, rather than contributing to an already toxic industry. Hannah Franco: It’s time. The industry needs a change, and we wanted to offer a unique take on sustainability. We believe eco can be chic, easy-care and impressively functional. Incorporating these elements, we set out to create products that make shopping sustainably an obvious choice for customers. Inhabitat: What are some of your favorite fabrics that the company works with? Taylor: I’m a huge fan of merino wool in general and am particularly obsessed with our perennial wool fabrication. It’s blended with a recycled poly and it’s also machine washable, which means no dry cleaning! Franco: Nancy took the words out of my mouth — I’m addicted to merino wool. It’s quick-drying and antimicrobial — in other words, it doesn’t stink — and anything that makes my life easier is considered a win in my book. Our new organic cotton is creeping up as a favorite now, as well. Our Oeko-Tex certified Standard 1000-certified finish keeps the cotton looking perfectly crisp all day, and I do love a breezy white shirt. Inhabitat: Fashion is one of the most environmentally damaging industries. Can you talk about the sustainable practices, factories and ethical treatment of workers you implement in your production process? Taylor: It was a big topic of discussion when we first launched — identifying and implementing our parameters for what we have called “responsible” production. This encompasses our raw materials, the factories and the people that produce our clothes, all the way down to our packaging . The hard part was that these choices weren’t always black and white. For example, our evolve soft fabric is not a recycled raw material, but the production mill’s best practices are really amazing and include using state-of-the-art, eco-compatible technologies in a fully solar-powered facility. In the end, it was a better choice than working with a large mill using only recycled raw materials without carefully taking into account their entire environmental footprint. We aim to look at the complete picture and tell that story, educating the customer on why her choices matter. Inhabitat: With fast fashion , another practice negatively impacting the environment, what is the importance of investing in high-quality clothes like your products and moving away from the cheap stuff? Taylor: Investment pieces that last and key staples that women will wear again and again are the focus of our brand. You don’t need more clothes, just the right clothing that functions well. We share this narrative with our customers and show them how to style a piece season after season. Franco: There are already enough clothes out there. We wanted to contribute in an area where we felt the industry could be moved forward — clothing produced more sustainably and offering greater function. When you invest in quality pieces that you wear season after season, you have more time to live your life and focus on better things (e.g., spending time with family and friends, pursuing boss lady career goals) than stressing over a wardrobe. Plus, packing for travel is a breeze when you rock minimalist style. Inhabitat: What is the significance of your clothes being low-maintenance as well? Taylor: We all live incredibly busy lives, and a woman’s clothing should never slow her down. The easier a wardrobe is to care for, the more time this gives her back in her day. Franco: The low-maintenance and versatility of our products go hand in hand. For example, our jet set trouser is a perfect work pant, but it’s also ideal for any travel destination, and you can even hop on the yoga mat in them. Just because a piece of clothing is low-maintenance doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style. You can have both! + époque évolution Images via époque évolution

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Hannah Franco and Nancy Taylor celebrate sustainable fashion with poque volution

One-of-a-kind Wilhelm Lamp is 3D-printed from recycled polycarbonate

April 12, 2019 by  
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Challenged by Milanese design gallerist Rossana Orlandi to “give plastic a second life,” Italian architect Tiziano Vudafieri has created the Wilhelm Lamp, a unique light fixture and tribute to the renowned German industrial designer Wilhelm Wagenfeld. Presented at Rossana Orlandi’s exhibition Guitlessplastic – Master’s Pieces during Milan Design Week, the Wilhelm Lamp reinterprets the Wagenfeld’s modernist glass vase as an enlarged pendant lamp that is 3D-printed from recycled polycarbonate. First launched last year, Rossana Orlandi’s Guitlessplastic project was created to challenge the public discourse around plastic. The initiative has included talks and numerous collaborations between brands, artists and architects invited to showcase responsible uses of plastic through recycling. The Guitlessplastic – Master’s Pieces collection exhibits unique works made out of recycled and recyclable plastic by renowned artists, designers and architects and is currently on show at the Railway Pavilion of the Museum Scienza e Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci in Milan until April 14. As an admirer of Wilhelm Wagenfeld, Tiziano Vudafieri owns a 1935 Wagenfield glass vase as part of his personal collection and used it as the inspiration for the Wilhelm Lamp. Created in collaboration with BAOLAB, LATI and GIMAC, the lamp was 3D-printed into a large, bulbous shape from recycled polycarbonate , a material that boasts high thermal and mechanical resistance. At the exhibition, the translucent pendant lamp is suspended above the 1935 Wagenfeld vase, which is bathed in the lamp’s light. Related: Make your own custom sunglasses from recycled plastic with FOS “Wilhelm Wagenfeld was the only Bauhaus master to apply this movement’s utopia to real life, invading the market after World War II with beautiful everyday objects with innovative designs and affordable prices,” Vudafieri said. “Among his works, I prefer his glass pieces, particularly the vases, with their classic and rigorous, elegant and modern forms. Hence the idea of recycling not only the materials used for the object, but also the design itself, fitting in perfectly with the Guiltless Plastic theme.” + Tiziano Vudafieri Images via Tiziano Vudafieri

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One-of-a-kind Wilhelm Lamp is 3D-printed from recycled polycarbonate

Boxy volumes anchor a beautiful home into a rocky cliffside

March 21, 2019 by  
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When Montreal-based firm YH2 Architecture was tasked with the almost impossible feat of building on an incredibly sloped, rocky landscape, it came up with a solution that goes back to the age of time: building blocks. Using the natural landscape to its advantage, the firm constructed the gorgeous House Dans l’Escarpement out of two concrete “boxes,” one vertical and one horizontal. The ingenious design not only let the project expand vertically but also reduced the footprint of the home on its pristine surroundings. Located in Saint-Faustin-Lac-Carré region of Quebec, the home is tucked into a vast landscape made up of a lush forest and pristine lakes. The particular building location, however, is marked by a very steep cliff that has never been built on because of its rugged topography. Related: “Delightfully surprising” green-roofed island home cascades down a rocky slope When tasked with building on this seemingly impossible site, the architects employed an elementary concept to create an extraordinary home design. The House Dans l’Escarpement’s 3,230 square footage spans over two large blocks. The main entrance to the home is through an elevated metallic gangway that leads into the vertical block, while a horizontal block extends out on the ground floor. Spread out over three levels, the lowest floor of the vertical block houses a sauna and spa area, while the second floor is home to a small office and library. The master suite holds court on the upper level and boasts stunning views of the forest and river below. Connected to the vertical tower on the ground by an all-glass walkway , the horizontal block features an open-plan living and dining area that opens up to the outdoors with an open-air terrace. Driving the inspiration behind the unique design, the connection between the man-made and the natural is felt throughout the interior. Warm mahogany and  Corten steel panels were used to frame the home’s exterior, enhanced in some parts with slabs of exposed concrete, which the architects used to pay homage to the large boulders that make up the home’s setting. Mahogany is also the prevailing material used throughout the interior, giving the home a contemporary cabin feel. Selected for its durable quality as well as rich, warm tones, the wood is used in almost every surface, from the flooring, ceilings and beams to the window frames and kitchen cabinets. The result is a living space that blends in seamlessly with the forestscape that envelopes the home. + YH2 Architecture Via Archdaily Photography by Maxime Brouillet via YH2 Architecture

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Boxy volumes anchor a beautiful home into a rocky cliffside

The FLEXSE tiny house module is built from 100% recyclable materials

March 21, 2019 by  
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A tiny and deliciously cozy prefab  home has popped up in St. Petersburg, courtesy of local architectural practice Smart Architecture Laboratory (SA lab) . The charming compact building—dubbed FLEXSE—is the firm’s first prototype for tiny modular housing and is modeled after a traditional Scandinavian BBQ house. Designed with flexibility in mind, the FLEXSE prototype was prefabricated in a factory, assembled on-site and built entirely of recyclable materials. Defined by its organic elliptical footprint, the FLEXSE was created to accommodate a wide variety of needs. Although the architects decided to use the first prototype as an all-season grill house, they believe the unit could be adapted for use as a guesthouse, a sauna , a cafe, a shop, or for a myriad of other retail uses. Buyers will have the option to customize the building in a variety of finishes and materials. Moreover, the buyer would also have the freedom to place the building in almost any environment, whether on water or on a rooftop, thanks to the wide range of foundations that can be used to support the structure. The recently installed FLEXSE prototype in St. Petersburg measures nearly 330 square feet in size. “During winter or in a cold weather it is cozy and comfortable to cook and chill inside, while in summer the open terrace is a nice place to spend time,” the architects say in their press statement. Related: A modular classroom for environmental education pops up in a Barcelona park Topped with an angled snow-shedding roof, the tiny BBQ house is lined, inside and out, with vertical strips of wood. The minimalist interior is simply furnished with a dining table and chairs that share the space with an open grill that fills the room with a warm orange glow when in use. A large round window and the glazed doors let in natural light . + SA lab Images by Ekaterina Titenko

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The FLEXSE tiny house module is built from 100% recyclable materials

A series of geometric, sustainable treehouses is imagined for the Italian Dolomites

March 5, 2019 by  
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Milan-based design firm Peter Pichler Architecture has unveiled a conceptual design for a series of gorgeous geometrical treehouses for the lush green forests of the Italian Dolomites. The two-story structures are arranged in a modern, vertical design and clad in sustainably-sourced wood. Each treehouse is punctuated with floor-to-ceiling glazed windows to provide breathtaking views of the surrounding forestscape. According to the architects, the stunning treehouses were designed as an addition to an existing hotel . The inspiration came from wanting to create a serene but modern lodging option that would help guests immerse themselves completely in the surrounding nature. Referring to the inspiration as a “slow down” form of tourism, they explained, “We believe that the future of tourism is based on the relationship of the human being with nature. Well integrated, sustainable architecture can amplify this relationship, nothing else is needed.” Related: Stunning wooden Oberholz Mountain Hut branches out of the mountainside like a fallen tree The project includes vertical, diamond-esque volumes with sharp, steep roofs inspired by the soaring trees in the area. The design also calls for using locally-sourced wood for the cladding, which would be painted jet-black to blend in to the nearby fir and larch trees. Large, floor-to-ceiling glass panels that stretch the length of the structure would allow the guests to feel a constant connection to the amazing views. The unique guest homes would vary in size, ranging from 375 square feet to almost 500 square feet in the larger units. Spanning over two levels connected by an internal staircase, the treehouses would hold the living area with a small reading nook that looks out over the forestscape on the bottom level. The sleeping areas and a small bathroom would be on the upper floor, which would also provide breathtaking views. + Peter Pichler Architects Via Archdaily Images via Peter Pichler Architects

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A series of geometric, sustainable treehouses is imagined for the Italian Dolomites

Water pollution inspires the Lake Erie Bill of Rights to improve water quality

March 5, 2019 by  
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Residents of Toledo are fighting back against water pollution in Lake Erie. Residents in the Ohio town voted on a Lake Erie Bill of Rights to help protect the lake from human waste, a move that has been criticized by the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF). The piece of legislation, dubbed LEBOR, basically gives the lake the same rights as humans. If the measure stands up in court, residents will be able to sue individuals and businesses on behalf of the lake. Citizens in Toledo hope this will cut down on water pollution by empowering people to sue anyone who harms the waters of Lake Erie via pollution . Related: 7 ways to conserve water and reduce your water footprint The measure was passed by an overwhelming majority of residents in Lucas County. Over 61 percent of individuals voted in favor of the new law, while only 38 percent voted against it. Poll numbers indicate that only about 9 percent of eligible voters in the county showed up for the special election . While the measure may help improve the water quality in Lake Erie, the OFBF openly criticized the proposal. The organization’s director, Joe Cornely, released a statement after the vote and argued that residents are going to be the ones who end up fitting the bill for the upcoming legal battles. “We were concerned before and remain concerned that farmers , taxpayers and Ohio businesses are now going to spend a lot of time and money fighting legal that eventually are likely to be thrown out of court,” Cornely shared. The bill of rights measure was originally introduced by activists in 2018, but organizers failed to get it on the ballot. The OFBF claims that outside forces are behind the measure and warn that it opens up too many opportunities for lawsuits, especially against farmers in the area. LEBOR is the first bill of its kind to be passed in the United States. Shortly after the measured was voted in, conservationists praised Toledo citizens for sticking up for the environment and fighting water pollution at one of the state’s most iconic sites. Via Ohio’s Country Journal and Vox Image via NOAA and Counselman Collection

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Water pollution inspires the Lake Erie Bill of Rights to improve water quality

UNStudio unveils sustainable vision for The Smartest Neighborhood in the World

March 5, 2019 by  
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In Helmond’s Brandevoort District in the Netherlands, an exciting new development had boldly declared its plans to become “The Smartest Neighborhood in the World.” Known as the Brainport Smart District (BSD), the tech-savvy and sustainable initiative has taken one step closer to reality thanks to the recently unveiled spatial plans created by a design team led by  UNStudio . To be developed in phases across the span of 10 years, the Brainport Smart District will be a one-of-a-kind, mixed-use neighborhood that will adapt to users’ changing demands. Created in collaboration with Felixx Landscape Architects & Planners, Metabolic, Habidatum and UNSense, the masterplan for the Brainport Smart District includes 1,500 new residences and 12 hectares of commercial space. As a “living lab,” the neighborhood will be centered on a central park and promote a symbiotic relationship between the built environment and the landscape; the natural reserves and green space will be sustainably managed to produce food , energy and water while processing waste and providing wildlife habitat. The latest technologies will also be used to ensure the district’s success, from the application of joint digital data management to revolutionary transport systems. One of the most notable differences between the Brainport Smart District and typical developments is the construction timeline. “Design and construction will go hand-in-hand with step-by-step development,” the press release stated. “This new district aims to contribute to the creation of a sustainable and unique living concept, one which embraces experimentation and ‘learning by doing’. Brainport Smart District and the UNStudio team’s ambition is to develop a framework for urban development that will empower and motivate people and innovation.” Related: UNStudio unveils twisting “Green Spine” high-rise proposal for Melbourne The Brainport Smart District includes an area of 155 hectares — larger than 320 football fields — that gives the development ample room to experiment and grow within a flexible grid that can change depending on the users’ needs. The development welcomes both local and international users open to communal ways of life, whether in shared energy generation or land cultivation. The larger goal of the Brainport Smart District will be to raise the bar for mixed-use development, not only with its sustainable approach to materials, energy and climate adaption, but also with regards to improving biodiversity, human health and economic opportunities . + UNStudio Images by Ploomp

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