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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Kudmai Collection repurposes vintage fishing boats into unique wood flooring

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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Nina+Co sustainably furnishes a zero-waste London restaurant

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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New study takes nuanced look at bug decline

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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Calamus unveils worlds safest e-bike at CES 2020

Passive design helps this home adapt to rainforest climate

January 31, 2020 by  
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Building in extreme landscapes and climates comes with all sorts of complications, but one savvy architect managed to construct a beautiful modern home using the local environment to the home’s advantage. Mexico City-based architectural firm, Paola Calzada Arquitectos  built the contemporary Tabasco Home in the middle of Mexico’s rare rainforest using several passive features to reduce energy. What’s more, the home design was built using several eco-friendly and repurposed materials such as 3,000 recycled  plastic bottles  used for the kitchen. Unlike most of Mexico, Tabasco is mainly covered in thick rainforest. In addition to its humid climate, the area is often plagued by flooding , which causes complications for most construction projects. Related: Solar-powered home takes advantage of cooling ocean breezes in Los Angeles However, the area is pristine and idyllic for those looking to live among nature. Accordingly, the Tabasco house was built strategically using  passive features  so that the homeowners could enjoy a strong connection to the landscape, but feel protected from its harsh climate. Spanning almost 4,000 square feet over two floors, the contemporary home is laid out in an “L” shape. This strategic feature works two-fold. First, the interior of the L shape outside the home allowed the family to enjoy plenty of private outdoor space, including a large terrace, pool and patio. Additionally, the long extension faces north to protect the main living spaces from direct sunlight . As a result of the orientation, the ultra large expanses of glass walls allow for optimal natural light to flood the interior while the living spaces  are protected from solar gain during the summer months. For extra cooling, the home was installed with inverter technology air conditioners that run on solar power , further helping to reduce the home’s energy needs. The home’s exterior is a contemporary blend of reinforced concrete, steel and large expanses of glass. On the inside, the interior design is light and airy, with a distinctly modern touch. Double height ceilings and an abundance of windows provide a sense of spaciousness to best take in the amazing views of the large garden outside, which is planted with native vegetation. The open-layout on the interior opens up the space, letting the family enjoy time together at the large live wood dining table. At the heart of the home, however, is the massive kitchen, which was manufactured using 3,000 recycled industrial plastic bottles. Throughout the interior, exposed concrete walls and natural stone accents give the space a cool, industrial feel that contrasts nicely with the home’s natural surroundings. + Paola Calzada Arquitectos Via ArchDaily Photography by Jaime Navarro

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Cross-laminated timber makes this Scottish home climate resistant

January 20, 2020 by  
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Scottish firm Mary Arnold Foster Architects has unveiled a stunning home made out of several timber “pods” and tucked into the idyllic landscape of the Scottish Highlands. Clad in cross-laminated timber ( CLT ) and covered with slats of charred larch, which provide the home with resilience, the Nedd home was built on concrete pillars and set in between two outcrops to minimize damage to the landscape. Located in the remote village of Nedd in the western region of the Scottish Highlands, the eponymous home design was constructed using CLT and covered in burnt larch to give the structure longevity and sufficient durability to stand up to the harsh mountainous climate . Additionally, the charred wood provides the home with an airtight envelope which enables the interior to require very little heating. In fact, a wood-burning stove usually meets most of the home’s heating needs. Related: Waterstudio unveils the world’s first floating timber tower Made up of connected timber cubes , the Nedd House is divided into three separate volumes. One area houses the central living room, while the remaining cubes house an en-suite master bedroom and a guest bedroom. All three sections are linked by a single corridor, which leads to an ultra-large north-facing window that connects the interior spaces with the  idyllic surroundings . According to the architect, the home design was inspired by the area’s breathtaking views. “I wanted to avoid a wall of glass but instead to frame the large view in two key rooms; the living space and the main bedroom, partly due to the topography of the site,” Arnold-Forster explained. “The other windows frame views of the rocks, heather and grasses.” Contrasting with the dark hue of the exterior, the interior of the home is light and airy thanks to the pale timber walls and ceilings found throughout. Within the main living area, floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors provide direct access to an open-air deck that looks out over the landscape. + Mary Arnold Foster Architects Via Dezeen Photography by David Barbour Photography

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Cross-laminated timber makes this Scottish home climate resistant

This lovely lampshade is made from cabbage

January 10, 2020 by  
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Lighting can set the tone of a room, so a lamp with a natural and compostable lampshade can create a cozy, gorgeous and sustainable setting. In a partnership between Indian designer Vaidehi Thakkar and London-based Nir Meiri Studio, Veggie Lights are just that — lampshades made out of red cabbage leaves that lend a warm glow to any space. A testament to the duo’s dedication to exploring and highlighting sustainable options, Veggie Lights offer a useful and elegant decor option straight from the garden. To create the lampshades, Thakkar developed the process of converting vegetables into a paper-like substance called Fiber Flats. Meiri joined the project with a passion for using organic materials, as seen from previous successes in using both mycelium and seaweed to make lampshades. Related: Algae Lamps are a work of art and natural shade in one Each lampshade in the Veggie Lights line is unique, a result of the natural variations in the leaves. Cabbage leaves may not be in the spotlight for intrinsic beauty, but through the process of separating the leaves and soaking them in a water-based color preservative, the originality of each leaf begins to shine through. The leaves are then shaped and left to dry in high temperatures, so all of the moisture evaporates. At this point, the leaves are either left unfinished, or the edges are trimmed and contoured into a gentle downward curve. The design of Veggie Lights places the bulb and electrical parts in a simple and streamlined base. This allows the light to shine upward into the shade, illuminating the natural veins and color variations in the cabbage leaf. Because the lampshades are naturally biodegradable, they will age and are meant to eventually be replaced. However, the base is long-lasting, so you can replace the shade at the end of its life for a refreshed look without producing waste . + Nir Meiri Studio + Vaidehi Thakkar Via Dezeen Image via Nir Meiri Studios

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This lovely lampshade is made from cabbage

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