Uninspired basement reborn as a chic and light-filled bistro

May 9, 2018 by  
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A poorly lit basement space has undergone a tremendous transformation at the hands of Italian design firm Studio DiDeA . Now home to Palermo’s trendy bistro Cento61, the renovated space combines natural lighting and greenery with eye-catching materials to bring attention to a venue tucked below ground in an early twentieth century building. Formerly an old restaurant with no character to speak of, the site includes a 1,400-square-foot interior that opens up to a large external courtyard . According to Studio DiDeA, the client asked for “a special place with an informal atmosphere that could become a meeting place for Palermo’s people to eat, drink, share and coming back”. To create an airy and attractive atmosphere, the designers brought the outdoors in with potted plants that hang from the ceiling and a color palette that evokes the sky with different shades of blue. Related: HHF Architects’ renovated a group of crumbling buildings to help revitalize an entire neighborhood A white iron grid used in the interior and exterior tie the two spaces together. Inside, the white grid also forms a neutral backdrop for a variety of materials that include timber durmast panels, Calacatta marble , and Niagara blue inserts. “The result is geometric-patterned wall surfaces that match the cobalt-blue sofas and the light blue and yellow colored chairs, adding vibrancy and a sense of playfulness to the otherwise simple space,” wrote the architects. The outdoor dining area—which, like the interior, seats 40—was designed around a 200-year-old Cycas plant and is outfitted with vibrant yellow and blue wire chairs. + Studio DiDeA Images via Studio DiDeA

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Uninspired basement reborn as a chic and light-filled bistro

Rome is banning all oil-burning cars by 2024

March 1, 2018 by  
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Rome is jumping on the diesel-banning bandwagon – the city just announced plans to ban oil-burning cars within the city by 2024. That’s huge news, because roughly two-thirds of new cars sold last year in Italy were diesel, and Rome has struggled with poor air quality. The news comes on the heels of a court case in Germany that enabled cities to ban diesel vehicles . Rome is one of the most congested cities in Europe due to a constant stream of tourists on decidedly un-modern streets. Rome also lacks any major industries, which means that a majority of the air pollution plaguing the city is caused by vehicles. That pollution doesn’t just harm the health of people in the city, but it also causes serious damage to the ancient buildings and monuments. Related: German cities get the green light to ban diesel vehicles Rome has tried to limit pollution before. In the past the city has experimented with limiting older cars and limiting cars with even or odd plate numbers on alternating days. Neither tactic has done much to help, because many people just flout or skirt the laws. The decision was announced by mayor Virginia Raggi on Facebook . Via AutoBlog Images via Deposit Photos ( 1 , 2 )

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Rome is banning all oil-burning cars by 2024

This modern hiking hotel blends into the dark alpine forests of Italy

February 23, 2018 by  
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The darkened wood façade of the award-winning Hotel Bühelwirt is tinted to complement the moody, dark green of the surrounding forest. Pedevilla Architects designed the hotel as an extension of the breathtaking alpine landscape in South Tyrol, Italy. While designing the space, the architects sought to create harmony with the environment and give every room a breathtaking view of the landscape. The 20-room hotel references traditional hiking hotels of the region. Rectangular forms meet an asymmetrical saddle roof and feature diagonally protruding bay windows that offer expansive views of the mountains. Each room in the hotel features stunning views, strengthening the connection between guests and the surrounding landscape. Related: 17th-century farm transformed into amazing hotel in the hills of Norway The minimalist interior features accents that add warmth and a feeling of coziness to the space, while creating focus on the outdoor environment. This is achieved through the use of locally sourced materials such as larch wood . Handcrafted copper lamps and locally manufactured curtains reflect a strong regional connection between the design of the hotel and its locale. + Pedevilla Architects Via Dwell Photos by Gustav Willeit

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This modern hiking hotel blends into the dark alpine forests of Italy

Dubai tests the world’s first autonomous mobility pods

February 15, 2018 by  
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10 passengers can fit inside Dubai’s new autonomous mobility pods—the first of their kind in the world. The city’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is working with Next Future Transportation on the first tests of the electric units at the World Government Summit, and it seems they were a success. They can operate for three hours with the help of a battery, or charge up again in six hours. Self-driving pods could soon be roaming the streets of Dubai. Six people can sit and four can stand inside the units, which move at around 12 miles an hour. The pods are nine-feet-long, seven-feet-wide, and nine-feet_tall. Related: Dubai police unveil Star Wars-esque electric hoverbikes The pods are designed for travelling short- to medium-length distances, in dedicated lanes, according to Gulf News . Two pods can be coupled in just 15 to 20 seconds, or can be detached in around five seconds. Prototypes tested in Dubai were manufactured in Italy, according to RTA director-general Mattar Al Tayer. Next Future Transportation’s website envisions passengers hailing one of the pods via a smartphone app , and while aboard calling for service modules that could then couple with the module in which a person is riding so they could purchase a drink or go to the bathroom. The RTA press release did not mention if Dubai will offer those services. Al Tayer said of the pods, “It echoes the Dubai Autonomous Transport Strategy aimed at converting 25 percent of mobility journeys in Dubai to autonomous transportation by 2030…The success of initial tests of these units will bring about a breakthrough in transportation systems that offer innovative mobility solutions and ease snarls in the city.” + Next Future Transportation + Roads and Transport Authority Via Gulf News and India Today Images via Dubai Media Office Twitter

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Dubai tests the world’s first autonomous mobility pods

Venice’s canals go dry following weeks without rain

February 5, 2018 by  
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Venice has historically had a problem with too much water inundating its canals, but thanks to a combination of low tides and a lack of rain over the last few weeks, the sinking city’s waterways have turned into channels of mud. Indeed, unusual weather patterns have caused Venice’s water levels to plummet by more than two feet (60cm), rendering a number of channels completely unusable. And with no way to move through the city, many locals have left their boats and gondolas to languish in the muck. The Independent reports that dip in water is the direct result of low tides caused by the super blue blood moon paired with unseasonably dry weather. This, however, is not the first time the Italian city has seen its canals go dry; in 2016, water levels fell by 2.16 feet (66cm), and in 2008 and 1989 levels dropped by 2.95 feet (90cm). The canals are expected to return to normal when the rain returns. Related: Italy is giving away hundreds of historic castles and villas for free  While the phenomenon is surely alarming, flooding remains the biggest threat to the city.  Quarternary International published a report last year forecasting that Venice could disappear by the end of the century as a result of rising sea levels caused by climate change . The Mediterranean Sea is in fact predicted to rise by 4.59 feet (140cm) before 2100. The city itself is also sinking at a rate of about 1-2mm a year. Via Independent UK Images via Wiki Commons and Flickr

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Venice’s canals go dry following weeks without rain

8 ripple effects of the circular economy in 2017

December 29, 2017 by  
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From Apple to Cremona, Italy, to Unilever, here’s how industry, agriculture and cities cleaned up their acts this year.

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8 ripple effects of the circular economy in 2017

The sustainability year 2017 in review, in haiku

December 29, 2017 by  
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This Year of the Rooster was stressful for those devoted to sustainability. It may help to take one syllable at a time.

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The sustainability year 2017 in review, in haiku

Next year, resilience will become the new normal

December 29, 2017 by  
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The riskiest 20 percent of U.S. counties are economic powerhouses. Having valuable property that is not resilient and in the path of disaster is unsustainable.

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Next year, resilience will become the new normal

Mirrored nativity in Italy invites passersby to reflectliterallyfor the holidays

December 29, 2017 by  
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The holiday season is a time for reflection—a tradition that Italian studio thesignlab took to its literal meaning with the installation of a nativity crib clad in mirrored panels. Located in the center of Tuscany’s Piazza San Michele, the contemporary pavilion’s use of mirrors invites passersby to observe and celebrate the diversity of the people around them. The reflective building, named Welcome Difference, appears to disappear in the historic plaza during the day but calls attention to itself at night thanks to a glowing light display. Welcome Difference was created as part of Andare oltre si può’s annual XMAS LIGHT program, now in its fifth iteration. The mirrored installation is a modern interpretation of the traditional nativity scene with the central figures of the story reduced to simple glyphs. At night, these characters and the accompanying symbols light up. Related: Mirror-covered ‘Mirage’ house disappears into the California desert “It is a magical nativity scene in which everyone can be reflected in the Nativity family,” said Welcome Difference creator Domenico Raimondi. “Visitors can reflect, reflect, look inside but above all see who stands next. With Welcome Difference, the differences are presented, flanked, shown and invited to reflect on the theme of Christmas . We firmly believe that we must not be afraid of differences and differences, especially in this period.” Welcome Difference was unveiled on November 24 and will be displayed until January 8, 2018. + thesignlab

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Mirrored nativity in Italy invites passersby to reflectliterallyfor the holidays

Overheard in sustainability: The funniest moments in 2017

December 29, 2017 by  
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These stories illuminate the lighter side of a flood of bad news about record emissions levels, political inaction and lapses in corporate responsibility.

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Overheard in sustainability: The funniest moments in 2017

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