Eso Studio creates modern wallpaper using all-natural dyes

February 12, 2021 by  
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Wallpaper has a history that spans thousands of years . For centuries, paper wall coverings have evolved in design, prints and technology. Taking the craft on a sustainable ride, a studio based in Grand Rapids, Michigan has created a collection of wallpaper using natural dyes and biophilic design principles. Eso Studio, made up of a trio of co-workers, friends and business partners with a common goal, started out as 9-5 textile designers. They then began experimenting in natural dyeing on the side by extracting pigments from plants and botanicals. The team launched Eso Studio in 2017 to focus their efforts on natural textile colorings, including full-time development of a new wallpaper line, called Biophilia. Related: Artist revamps dingy interior of a 1962 Airstream with vibrant florals Starting out, the company focused on materials sourced from the owners’ own yards and kitchens. Onion skins (deep rust), avocado stones (pale pink), walnuts and flowers were turned into dye materials. The next step took the team into the community, where they realized co-owner Hannah Amodeo’s family restaurant was a great resource for natural materials, plus they could help reduce waste for the restaurant. Similarly, they reached out to local florists to source spent flowers and give them a second life at Eso Studio. The trio’s background in textile work originally had them making and selling naturally dyed silk scarves and home textiles , so it was an organic transition into wallpaper. The company emphasizes “slow and timeless design. Following the principles of biophilic design, the intent of the collection is to bring the ethereal and restorative power of nature into interior environments.” With this goal in mind, the Biophilia collection includes a range of styles from bold or subtle to large or small in scale. There are a variety of colors, textures and characteristics stemming from natural dyes . “Playful designs like ‘Tiger Eye’ and ‘Blueberry Crumble’ are excellent patterns for an accent wall or an eclectic vibe,” the company said of the varying options. “Textural and subtle, ‘Birch’ and ‘Dawn’ evoke a more atmospheric feel.” The functional design of the wallpaper also breaks from interior design tradition, with 5-, 8-, 9-, 10- and 12-foot panels that contrast the standard 30-foot continuous rolls. This allows for easy material calculations and installation while reducing consumer waste. Eso Studio’s Biophilia Collection is found in showrooms across the U.S. and internationally and is also available online. + Eso Studio Images via Eso Studio 

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Eso Studio creates modern wallpaper using all-natural dyes

Bitcoin uses more energy than all of Argentina

February 12, 2021 by  
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Bitcoin is a huge energy hog. And  Tesla’s  recent announcement that it had bought $1.5 billion bitcoin — and will soon accept the cryptocurrency as payment for its cars — will only encourage more energy usage. Inhabitat reported on Bitcoin’s out-of-control energy use in 2018. Back then, we noted that  Bitcoin  was on track to use as much energy as Austria by the end of the year. In 2021, Bitcoin has already surpassed Argentina’s energy use, according to a Cambridge University study. To put this growth into perspective, the population of Austria is about 9 million, while Argentina has approximately 45 million residents. Related: Bitcoin is expected to consume enough energy to power Austria by the end of 2018 Since the Tesla announcement, Bitcoin has hit a record high in value. More value means more high-powered computers sucking up energy to power the Bitcoin machine. “It is really by design that Bitcoin consumes that much  electricity ,” Michel Rauchs, a researcher at The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, said in BBC’s Tech Tent podcast. “This is not something that will change in the future unless the Bitcoin price is going to significantly go down.”  Rauchs co-created the online tool that estimates Bitcoin’s energy use. At 121.36 terawatt-hours (TWh) a year, the tool showed that Bitcoin has surpassed the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates, as well as Argentina, in energy use and may soon edge out Norway. To contextualize this, the Cambridge study noted that this is enough energy to power every kettle in the U.K. for 27 years. “Elon Musk has thrown away a lot of Tesla’s good work promoting energy transition,” said David Gerard, author of “Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain,” as reported by BBC. “This is very bad… I don’t know how he can walk this back effectively.” Gerard suggested that a carbon tax on cryptocurrencies could perhaps balance out some of the impact of the giant  computers  that work 24/7 solving puzzles to verifying transactions. Via BBC Image via Pexels

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Bitcoin uses more energy than all of Argentina

Subway commuters are exposed to dangerous amounts of air pollution

February 12, 2021 by  
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Millions of commuters who use underground subway systems in the U.S. are exposed to dangerous rates of air pollution , according to a recent study. The study, which sampled air quality in 71 underground stations across the U.S., has revealed air pollution during the morning and evening rush is nothing short of disastrous. The cities that are most affected include New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Washington, D.C. The researchers focused on measuring the level of PM2.5 within these underground transit systems. The recommended safe level of PM2.5 in the air is 35 micrograms per cubic meter. In the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) system, the researchers recorded 251 micrograms per cubic meter. The Washington, D.C. system was another highly contaminated train service, recording 145 micrograms per cubic meter. Related: Air pollution caused by fossil fuels kills millions The worst-case scenario was recorded at Christopher Street station in Manhattan. The station helps connect New York and New Jersey with its rapid trains. But, unfortunately, at a rate of 1,499 micrograms per cubic meter, the station’s pollution was found to be 77 times that of the air outside. According to Terry Gordon, professor at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine and a co-author of the study, the amount of pollution in New York is the most alarming. “It was the worst pollution ever measured in a subway station, higher than some of the worst days in Beijing or Delhi,” Gordon said of Christopher Street station. “New Yorkers, in particular, should be concerned about the toxins they are inhaling.” The study’s researchers said that a person commuting daily on these systems is exposed to a higher risk of certain health conditions. They noted that a daily commuter at Christopher Street has a 10% higher risk of cardiovascular disease. After analyzing the collected samples, researchers realized that the particles contain iron and organic carbon . The carbon is mainly produced from the breakdown of fossil fuels and is linked to respiratory conditions when inhaled. “This is an important contribution, especially to our understanding of the disproportionate burden of air pollution faced by low-income communities and communities of color,” said Gretchen Goldman, research director of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “As the scientific community works to better understand exposure and potential health effects of air pollution in the urban environment, I hope local decision makers use this valuable work to inform the best ways to address the known racial and socioeconomic inequities in air pollution exposure in U.S. cities.” Via The Guardian Image via Wes Hicks

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Kudmai Collection repurposes vintage fishing boats into unique wood flooring

July 7, 2020 by  
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The Sacred Crafts, a San Diego-based brand focused on adding character to the home by sustainable methods, is giving new life to old wooden ships. The company’s new line, dubbed the Kudmai Collection after the Thai word for “reborn,” is a beautiful example of environmentally friendly reuse that also celebrates cultural history. Rather than creating new materials (and new waste), the company is dedicated to harvesting old materials that were once useful and meaningful for its pieces instead. The wood used for the Kudmai Collection comes from vintage and decommissioned Thailand boats, which have been retired from service and are no longer needed. Related: Costa Rican eco-lodge is made of reclaimed wood from a 100-year-old home The boats are deconstructed and the wood is designed for indoor flooring, but it can also be utilized for outdoor flooring and wall paneling with the proper treatment. Each plank is made of 4mm reclaimed ironwood and reclaimed acacia wood with an added base of 15mm sustainable eucalyptus plywood. Kudmai is available in three main colorways, which are customizable depending on needs and lifestyles. “Carbonized” uses a natural wood treatment that adds heat and pressure to enrich the wood’s natural minerals, meaning it doesn’t require staining and won’t change color over time. “Blonde” is the lightest of the three, with a subtle medium- to pale-yellow hue and a natural sheen that will help brighten a space. “Nude” provides a deeply rich, reddish-brown color with added warm vintage appeal. The flooring comes with a 10-year residential warranty and can ship to any country globally. There are two finishes available: low-sheen satin and high-gloss piano. While giving new life to materials that would otherwise become trash, the flooring also helps tell the stories of sailors and destinations that the fishing boats experienced throughout their service on the water. Because each piece of upcycled wood is unique in terms of age and seasoning, depending on its exposure, Kudamai floor boards become a true one-of-a-kind addition to any home. + The Sacred Crafts Images via The Sacred Crafts

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Nina+Co sustainably furnishes a zero-waste London restaurant

May 1, 2020 by  
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In an industry notorious for food waste, award-winning chef Douglas McMaster has achieved the seemingly unattainable —  Silo , the world’s first zero-waste restaurant. For Silo’s second outpost in London, local interior design studio  Nina+Co  teamed up with McMaster to craft an interior that reinforces the restaurant’s sustainable ethos with locally sourced natural materials and innovative design aimed at minimizing environmental impact. Launched in Australia in 2011, Silo was heralded as the world’s first  zero-waste  restaurant. Its success spurred the creation of a branch in Brighton, U.K., followed by a second venue in east London that opened during the fall of last year. The long-anticipated London branch is located on the upper floor of the renovated White Building, within an old cocoa roasting factory with large steel-framed windows and exposed steel trusses. In contrast with the industrial setting (the approach begins with a canal-side cast-iron staircase next to a graffiti-covered bridge), Silo’s interiors are surprisingly elegant and minimalist.  “A few pioneering and high-quality materials, a very crafted process, and a zero-waste mentality form the basis of the design,” said Nina Woodcroft, founder of Nina+Co, in a press release. “The aim is to close the loop, with an interior composed from waste or thoughtfully sourced,  natural materials , that will either biodegrade or easily disassemble for repurposing in the future. Following Silo’s post-industrial ethos, we opted to work with local crafts people using age-old techniques, as well as harnessing innovative materials and technologies.” Related: A zero-waste, self-sustaining home of the future Recycled materials are featured throughout the restaurant interiors, beginning with the host stand built from offcuts of timber laminated into a tree stump-like shape. Natural cork harvested by hand lines the floors, while natural,  biodegradable  woolen fabrics were used to upholster the seats, and linen was used for the wardrobe curtain. Thirty bespoke lights crafted specially for Silo by Nina+Co were produced by a local potter with crushed glass wine bottles from the restaurant, and a pendant light near the entrance was made from foraged seaweed.  + Nina+Co Images via Sam A. Harris

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New study takes nuanced look at bug decline

May 1, 2020 by  
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While scientists have observed the worldwide decline of  insects  over the last decades, a new study shows that the big picture is more complicated than they thought. The study, published in  Science , drew on data from 166 surveys from 1,676 sites. Some of the broad findings were that, while the number of land-dwelling insects is going down, freshwater bugs are increasing. And if you’ve noticed a decrease in bugs splattering your windshield, you’re right. “Our analysis shows that flying insects have indeed decreased on average,” said Jonathan Chase of the German Centre for Integrative  Biodiversity  Research, one of the study’s authors. Insects are extremely diverse, with many species filling key roles on the planet, such as recycling nutrients, aerating soil and pollinating  plants . The study shows how nuanced and mysterious insects are, with many hiding away under the soil, in tree canopies and on riverbanks. Surprisingly, even when bugs live close together geographically, some populations can be thriving while nearby members of the same species are floundering. The study found that overall, terrestrial insects such as ants,  butterflies  and grasshoppers were decreasing by 0.92% per year. This equals 9% per decade. “That is extremely serious, over 30 years it means a quarter less insects,” said the study’s lead author Dr. Roel Van Klink, of the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research. “And because it’s a mean, there are places where it is much worse than that.” Bug decline was particularly severe in Western and Midwestern regions of the U.S., and Europe, especially Germany. The increase in freshwater insects such as midges and mayflies was one bright note in the study — assuming you’re not sunbathing on a lakeshore. Their populations were growing by about 1.08% per year. Freshwater insects were especially trending in the western U.S., northern Europe and  Russia . Researchers credited this population growth to legislation that has cleaned polluted lakes and rivers. “We believe that because we see these increases in fresh water insects, that are related to legislation being put in place, it makes us hopeful that if we put in place the right types of legislation for land insects we can also make them recover,” said Van Klink. Even the terrestrial insects could still make a comeback, Van Klink said. “The nice thing about insects is that most have incredibly large numbers of offspring, so if you change the  habitat in the right way we will see them recover really fast.” + BBC Images via Pexels

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Nature-inspired home uses passive design to stay cool in Taiwan

March 12, 2020 by  
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Just outside Kaohsiung’s city center, Taiwanese architecture firm Chain10 Architecture & Interior Design Institute has completed Comfort in Context, a contemporary new home nestled in a lush hillside. Crafted as a respite in nature, the building is set far back from the road and is wrapped in floor-to-ceiling glazing to take in mountain views. Nature also informed the design and orientation of the home, which relies on cross breezes and strategically located roof eaves to stay naturally cool while minimizing the use of electricity. Though strikingly contemporary in appearance, the design of Comfort in Context relies on age-old passive design principles for providing a comfortable living environment year-round. Oriented east to west, the home features a facade that mitigates unwanted solar gain at all times of the day while taking advantage of southwesterly winds to combat Taiwan’s hot and humid summers. In winter, the neighboring hills protect the building from cold winds. Related: Modular materials make up an eco-friendly restaurant in Taiwan “Nature doesn’t have to be the second thought for an architect in 2020, it must always be his or her first,” the firm explained. “The earth isn’t getting any better and everyone needs to do everything they can to reduce the emissions of their projects.” To further reduce the carbon footprint of the home, the architects planted a number of Taiwanese beech trees around the property. Environmentally friendly recycled materials were also used for the building structure, facade, finishes and interior. By building with the existing landscape to minimize site impact, the architects were able to reduce construction costs. As a result, more resources were diverted to the clients’ most important space in the house: the open-plan living room, dining area and kitchen that occupy a large part of the ground floor. The upper floor contains a spacious master bedroom, secondary bedroom, two atriums and five balconies. + Chain10 Architecture & Interior Design Institute Photography by Moooten Studio / Qimin Wu via Chain10 Architecture & Interior Design Institute

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1971 Airstream gets glossy modern makeover, off-grid power

March 9, 2020 by  
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Although we’ve covered some gorgeous  Airstream renovations  over the years, there’s always one project that really blows our design-loving minds. This beautiful retrofit of a 1971 Airstream by Idaho-based  Traverse Design + Build is simply incredible. Once covered with a rusted out exterior and filled with a dingy avocado-green interior, the 27-foot trailer is now a gleaming contemporary home-on-wheels that can run completely off-grid . Though the team behind Traverse Design + Build had quite a few  Airstream conversions under their belts, when they saw an old 1971 Airstream Overland International for sale, they knew it would be a massive undertaking. The entire aluminum hull was almost entirely oxidized, and the outdated interior (comprised of avocado-green appliances, rotten flooring and yellow walls) was screaming to be put out of its misery. Related: A 1989 Airstream is converted into a modern home on wheels for a family of 6 In addition to the  Airstream’s rundown exterior and interior, all of the trailer’s electrical systems, which had been “modified” over the years, were completely shot. “There were electrical modifications that were done to it which were extremely dangerous,” said Jodi Rathbun, owner and founder of Traverse Design + Build. “We were surprised it never caught on fire, and that no one had been electrocuted.” To begin the arduous  renovation process , the team went to work on the exterior. According to Rathburn, just polishing the exterior to bring out its signature silver shine took more than 160 hours. Once the exterior was set and the hull’s trim repaired, it was time to tackle the interior space. The first step was to gut the interior almost entirely. The dilapidated, nearly 50-year-old trailer had little inside to reuse, but the team managed to retain some of the original elements  whenever possible. For example, they were able to reconfigure some of the existing storage cabinetry and some of the electrical and plumbing systems were able to be repaired. Other than that, the trailer’s interior living space was completely overhauled. To brighten up the space, a fresh coat of all-white paint was used on the walls and ceiling, and engineered maple floors were installed to give a little bit of warmth to the  interior design . The kitchen was built out with white IKEA cabinetry that contrasts nicely with the Tiffany-blue upper cabinetry, which was kept in place as a nod to the trailer’s long history. Throughout the space, the team managed to use ethical, sustainable, and fair-trade items to decorate. Not only did the designers manage to breathe new life into the 1971 Airstream, but they also enabled the trailer to run off-grid. A 510-watt  solar system generates enough power to run off-grid for extended periods. Additionally, there is an on-demand water heater, and LED lighting was installed throughout. The bathroom even features a Nature’s Head composting toilet, again enabling the trailer to be self-sustaining. “We built this so that it could be used off-grid, and away from power and water hookups for extended periods,” said Rathbun. + Traverse Design + Build Via Dwell Images via Traverse Design + Build

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1971 Airstream gets glossy modern makeover, off-grid power

Brazilian home uses solar energy for 100% self-sufficiency

February 6, 2020 by  
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Brazilian firm  24 7 Arquitetura  has set a stunning modern home into a challenging mountainous landscape in Brazil’s Nova Lima region. In addition to the home’s contemporary aesthetic, which is comprised of several exposed concrete blocks, the residence is completely self-sustaining thanks to its massive rooftop  solar array  that generates all the power the home needs. Located north of Rio de Janeiro, Nova Lima is a mountainous region known for its mining sector. The area is marked by rugged low and high-rising topography covered in lush vegetation. Although the undulating landscape presented several challenges for the 24 7 Arquitetura team, the architects managed to use the natural layout to the benefit of the contemporary home . Related: Solar-powered residence in Thailand takes on a sculptural form with cantilevering cubes According to the architects, the solution to the building lot’s slope was to set the home’s main social areas at the highest elevation possible, jutting out of the sloped hill, but above the tree canopy. This allowed the main living area to open up to a large outdoor space with a swimming pool and outdoor lounge area. Building the home into the landscape also led the design to be slightly tilted to the east, which enables the home’s interior to be shaded from the harsh sun rays during the summertime. Additionally, the designers planted two trees in the middle of the home’s outdoor deck to provide additional shade and let  natural light  subtly filter into the living spaces. The first floor of the home was built out to house the garage, laundry facilities and extra storage while the second floor is at the heart of the home. The large open-plan living area opens up to a large deck via massive sliding glass doors, leading to the infinity  swimming pool . The top floor houses the master bedroom with an ensuite bath and open-air balcony space to take in the stunning views. At over 4,000 square feet, the home is a massive structure that requires a lot of energy. Thankfully, this energy is produced by a large rooftop solar array that produces about 1400kW per month. This not only generates enough energy for the home, but also for heating the pool water. + 24 7 Arquitetura Via Archdaily Photography by Pedro Kok

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Calamus unveils worlds safest e-bike at CES 2020

February 6, 2020 by  
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India-based startup  Calamus  recently unveiled the Calamus One Ultrabike, an electric bicycle that they claim is “the world’s safest and most advanced” of its kind. Integrated with elements typically only seen on motor vehicles, the innovative e-bicycle combines safety features and high-end tech into a sleek and beautifully designed package. The Ultrabike was exhibited at the CES 2020 show and is available on Indiegogo for pre-order. Crafted to evoke continuity, the Ultrabike uses 6000 series aircraft-grade aluminum with automotive-grade paint for both the lightweight bike frame and handlebar, which is also part of a one-piece stem and handle design. To emphasize the design’s seamless flow, the removable battery was integrated into the down tube of the frame while all of the  bicycle cables — from the hydraulic brakes to the electrical and electronic cables — have been routed inside the frame. The internally routed cables also make the entire bike weatherproof and improve aerodynamics. Promising a range of nearly 45 miles on a single charge, the Ultrabike is powered by 250w/750w Ultra-drive mid-motors from Bafang and driven by Gates’ carbon belt CDX system for a smooth riding experience. For an improved user experience, each bike will also be equipped with sensors that track motor, battery, and component health to provide real-time diagnoses viewable via a 5-inch TFT LCD touchscreen. A high-performance chip stores and analyzes riding patterns to provide auto gear shifts, while an inbuilt GPS chip offers added functionality. Related: Propella’s lightweight electric bike rides like a regular bike For safety, the designers have added  LED  turn indicators into the handlebars as well as built-in ultrasonic sensors with haptic feedback for blind spot assistance. Security is enhanced with the addition of an ultra-fast biometric scanner for locking and unlocking the bike, geo-tracking and fencing with a ‘Find My Ride’ feature in the case of theft, anti-theft fasteners, an anti-theft alarm, and a patent-pending smart lock that can be accessed using a mobile app to lock and unlock the bike. The Calamus One Ultrabike can be pre-ordered on  Indiegogo . + Calamus Images via Calamus

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