These Dutch designers are harvesting stardust from rooftops

October 10, 2017 by  
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Did you know that 37,000 to 78,000 tons of stardust falls on the earth’s surface every year? The dust is made up of micrometeorites that make it through the earth’s atmosphere – and now two Dutch designers are collecting this rare material from rooftops in the Netherlands. Kirstie van Noot and Xandra van der Eijk are exploring ways to utilize these mini meteorites as a precious resource that literally falls from the sky. Kirstie and Xandra believe that stardust could become a new resource for a world that is quickly using up its own natural resources: “As terrestrial resources are depleting and rare earth metals are arguably indispensable for our way of life and our survival as a species, we are in dire need of alternatives,” explains van Noot in her website. To salvage stardust, the pair first collects matter from the rain gutters and roofs of houses. They then incinerate the matter and use magnets to pull out particles for inspection. By studying the shape and composition of these particles, the pair is able to identify which ones came from outer space. The designers recently displayed their star dust exhibition, “As above, so below” at this year’s London Design Festival. The exhibition included the star dust itself as well as a solid cube made of meteoric material. + Dutch Invertuals Collected + Kirstie van Noot + Xandra van der Eijk + London Design Week Coverage Photography by Ronald Smits Photography

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These Dutch designers are harvesting stardust from rooftops

Alphabet X to beam wireless service to Puerto Rico with a fleet of balloons

October 10, 2017 by  
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Help is coming to Puerto Rico in the form of balloons. Alphabet X’s Project Loon — a former Google enterprise — recently received an emergency license from the FCC to equip the island with mobile data via high-altitude weather balloons. According to the FCC, 83 percent of Puerto Rico’s cell sites remain inoperable since Hurricane Maria — a category 4 storm — devastated the island. The US Virgin Islands hit by the same storm will also receive assistance. The next step for Alphabet X is to partner with a telecommunications service to bring the experimental service directly to the region, reports Engadget . A similar arrangement in March was tested in Peru earlier this year after extreme rains and flooding hit the nation. “We’re grateful for the support of the FCC and the Puerto Rican authorities as we work hard to see if it’s possible to use Loon balloons to bring emergency connectivity to the island during this time of need,” said Libby Leahy, a spokesperson for Alphabet X. “To deliver signal to people’s devices, Loon needs be integrated with a telco partner’s network—the balloons can’t do it alone. We’ve been making solid progress on this next step and would like to thank everyone who’s been lending a hand. “ Related: Project Loon: Google to Test Balloon-Powered Internet in California’s Central Valley Gizmodo reports that Caribbean deployment is expected to take more time than the successful run in Peru. This is because X was already testing in Peru when the flooding struck. The company has until April 4, 2018 to fly the balloons. It is unknown how many territories will be covered by the experiment. Via Gizmodo , Engadget Images via Project Loon

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Alphabet X to beam wireless service to Puerto Rico with a fleet of balloons

14 spectacular lamps unveiled at the London Design Festival

October 6, 2017 by  
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Lighting designers are constantly pushing the envelope with new materials, technologies and applications – and this year’s London Design Festival was awash in innovative designs. From an air-purifying algae chandelier to a lamp powered by melting ice and a series of pendant lights made from mushrooms , read on for our favorite finds from this year’s shows. Exhale Chandelier by Julian Melchiorri When is a chandelier more than just a chandelier? When it’s literally alive! Julian Melchiorri ‘s ‘Exhale’ chandelier is filled with algae that absorb CO2 and release fresh oxygen into any interior space. It’s also incredibly beautiful, with delicate green ‘leaves’ that optimize sun exposure to help the algae grow. Frost Light by EDHV Studio EDHV Studio’s Frost Light is powered by melting ice! A chunk of ice is set on a block of solid aluminum, and as it melts it generates enough electricity to power a small LED for 3 hours. Reflection Room by Flynn Talbot Flynn Talbot’s Reflection Room is mind blowing. One side of the mirrored hallway is bathed in orange light, while the other is lit in blue. Where the two sides meet, a gradient of color is born. Fuchsia Lamps by Macmaster Design Macmaster Design ‘s new Fuchsia lamps look like hanging, flowers in bloom – and they’re made from FSC-certified black walnut and white oak. Voronoi III Lamp by Tala Tala just launched their largest sculptural light yet at the London Design Festival. The Voronoi III is inspired by patterns found in treetops, and its LED filament is modeled after the Fibonacci sequence. Tree Lights by Tamasine Osher Tamasine Osher ‘s gorgeous hand-turned Tree Lights are made of salvaged wood harvested from naturally fallen trees. The delicate patterns are caused by naturally occurring fungus that develops over a span of 2-3 years. I.Rain Helene Chandelier by Blackbody and Haviland Blackbody teamed up with Haviland to unveil a spectacular chandelier made from 145 OLED lights. Each light is nested within a porcelain cup embellished with “Matignon” white with gold patterns. Morphe Lamp by Crea-Re These beautiful lamps by Crea-Re look almost like colored stone – but they’re made from paper mâché! Maria Fiter crafts each lamp using recycled newspaper, natural pigments, and ecologically certified water-based glue. Lungplant by Tim van Cromvoirt Tim van Cromvoirt ‘s luminous Lungplant slowly expands and exhales like a living creature. He designed the lamp to reduce stress and create a meditative environment that encourages you to become aware of the tempo of your own breathing. Thea Kuta Lamp by Elisa Bortolussi These Thea Kuta lamps emerged out of Elisa Bortolussi’s desire to use yarn as an alternative tool for painting. The lamps are handmade from 100% wool, and their precise geometry and depth of color is dazzling. Mycelium + Timber Lamps by Sebastian Cox and Ninela Ivanova These lamps are made of mushrooms! Sebastian Cox and Ninela Ivanova found a way to pair mushroom mycelium with freshly cut wood waste to create a collection of sustainable furnishings. Stacked Glassware Lamps by New Citizen Design These beautiful pendant lights from New Citizen Design appear to be sculpted from glass – until a closer look reveals that they’re made of cups, bowls and plates! Designers Mayan Pesach and Sander Wassink salvage old glassware and combine it in unexpected ways – and each piece is unique. Panam Panama lamp by Lea Baert Lea Baert’s Panam Panama project transforms old fan grills into stunning lamps. Baert worked with communities of Panamanian craftspeople to develop the design using locally-sourced fibers. Upon returning to France, she updated the project with materials sourced locally in Paris. Atlas Light by Ladies & Gentlemen Studio Ladies & Gentlemen teamed up with Seattle-based artist and glass designer John Hogan to create the Atlas Light. This handcrafted lamp consists of an iridescent glass sphere flecked with gold leaf and set on a brass base. + London Design Week

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14 spectacular lamps unveiled at the London Design Festival

Taste the future with IKEAs SPACE10 LOKAL hydroponic food pop-up in London

September 12, 2017 by  
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Ever wondered what the future of food looks like? IKEA’s SPACE10 lab believes food production will be smarter and more efficient, and they’re going to show us how with their LOKAL pop up in Shoreditch. Set to launch during the London Design Festival next week, the six-day LOKAL pop-up will be an interactive public event that lets the public “enjoy a taste of the future” with their high-tech hydroponics farm and gastronomic workshops that sustainably serve up delicious and nutritious food, right where it’s grown. Hydroponics is at the heart of LOKAL. The highlight of the pop-up will be a hydroponics farming system with artificial lights and computerized automation that grows food optimized for freshness, nutrients, and taste. SPACE10’s system can grow vegetables three times faster than traditional methods with 90 percent less water, less waste, and without the need for soil and sunlight in a much more space-efficient footprint. Modified LED lights allow for year-round indoor growing and the system will be run solely on renewable energy in the future. In addition, smart sensors on the system facilitate machine learning so that healthier food can be grown faster while the data is fed into Google Home. “People [can] basically talk to the plants and hear how they are doing, if they need anything or simply let kids and grownups learn about sustainable food,” said Simon Caspersen of SPACE10. Related: Incredible Algae Dome absorbs sun and CO2 to produce superfood and oxygen The six-day LOKAL pop-up program is open to the public and features five parts with a mixture of hosts starting with SPACE10’s LOKAL Salads, where visitors can find a futuristic salad bar that provides meals of hydroponic microgreens topped with delicious locally sourced ingredients. Hirsch & Mann will host the tactile Meet Your Greens section that playfully educates about the benefits of locally sourced food and hydroponics. Technology Will Save Us ’ Grow Your Greens Workshop is a hands-on activity for kids where they’ll learn to grow their own take-away plant hydroponically. The Food Preservation Workshop hosted by Farmdrop focuses on the latter half of the food cycle with lessons on reducing food waste and how fermentation preserves food. SPACE10 will also host SPROUT, an experiment to make local farming more accessible to people with voice technology. The LOKAL pop-up will run September 18 to September 23—you can find more details on their Facebook event page . + LOKAL Pop up + SPACE10 Images via SPACE10

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Taste the future with IKEAs SPACE10 LOKAL hydroponic food pop-up in London

Rammed-earth walls clad an observation tower to blend into a Belgian nature reserve

September 12, 2017 by  
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Mother Nature has reclaimed a former gravel extraction area in Maasvalley Riverpark, a 2,500-hectare nature reserve straddling the Belgium-Netherlands border. To help visitors fully experience the revitalized area, De Gouden Liniaal Architecten designed a small observation tower that blends into the landscape with its rammed earth walls. Built of locally excavated materials, the Observation Tower Negenoord is the first public earthen building in the Benelux region. The 46-square-meter observation tower is located on a small hill in the heart of the former gravel mine, Negenoord. Although the tower features a sandblasted concrete core, it is clad in external walls built of locally sourced ochre-colored earth, clay, and gravel created with rammed earth building techniques and stabilized with mortar made of volcanic rock. Over time, the external walls will slowly erode away to reveal the gravel aggregate; the gravel content is also visible in the sandblasted concrete core. “To guarantee the quality of the construction, the design team was supported by an international team of experts: Cratterre/ Vessières&Cie/ BC Studies,” wrote the architects. “The earth-consultants analyzed different local materials, tried different mixes and evaluated them on compression force, abrasion, color and appearance. The chosen mix consisted of 20% gravel, 40% ochre-colored earth, and 40% clay , stabilized with Trasslime. Through its materialization, the building tells us about the location it’s built. and becomes strongly anchored in its environment.” Related: Giant timber periscope tower offers lakeside views to everyone — even those with disabilities Roughly triangular in plan, the observation tower features three staircases with landings that offer different views of the landscape. The rammed earth construction took seven weeks to complete, with about 20-meters-cubed of rammed earth finished every week. + De Gouden Liniaal Architecten Via ArchDaily Images by Filip Dujardin

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Rammed-earth walls clad an observation tower to blend into a Belgian nature reserve

Pentatonic launches new brand of modern furniture made with nothing but trash

September 8, 2017 by  
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Trash never looked so good. Pentatonic has launched a new brand of modern, modular furniture made with nothing but repurposed waste materials . But – unlike similar brands – their commitment goes beyond simply recycling . Hit the jump for a closer look. Pentatonic is launching their brand with AirTool Chair and AirTool Foil Table , as well as glassware made from smartphone glass. Their website lists the trash that went in to each piece; for example, 96 plastic bottles and 28.4 aluminum cans went into an AirTool Chair with a plyfix felt seat, along with some old food containers and industrial waste. 1,436 aluminum cans and 190 CDs or DVDs were used for an AirTool Foil table. Pentatonic says they do not use additives, toxins, glues, or resins. Related: Eco-friendly DIY modular furniture can be reassembled over and over into different pieces Pentatonic, which has offices in London and Berlin, sourced 90 percent of their trash locally; the remaining 10 percent came from places like Taiwan, which is home to the world’s largest concentration of wasted smartphone glass, according to the company. Users don’t need any tools to put together the modular Pentatonic products. The company also sells the individual components online in case a consumer loses a piece or wants to design their own furniture with Pentatonic pieces. Consumers also become part of the supply chain when they return old, used pieces to the company: Pentatonic lists a buy-back value on their website which they describe as a guaranteed sum customers will receive if they want to get rid of a product. Pentatonic will transform those used goods into new pieces of furniture. Pentatonic’s products are available to buy on their website . If you’re in London , you can check out their products in person at a popup store in Shoreditch East London at 2 Chance Street from September 15 to October 12. They’ll also be present at the London Design Festival , September 18 to 24, in the Design Frontiers exhibition at Somerset House. + Pentatonic Images courtesy of Pentatonic

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Pentatonic launches new brand of modern furniture made with nothing but trash

Scotland to phase out new gas and diesel cars by 2032

September 8, 2017 by  
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We’ve recently seen a movement of governments banning new petrol and diesel cars – within the past year the Netherlands , France , and India have all announced plans to move away from the polluting vehicles – and now it appears Scotland is jumping on the emissions-free bandwagon. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon recently laid out the new Program for Government , which includes a target of phasing out the need for the dirty cars by 2032. The country also aims to fast-track the development of an electric vehicle (EV) charging network. Scotland’s Program for Government, which touches on issues like social security, childcare, and prison sentences, also draws attention to environmental issues. Perhaps its boldest goal is phasing out new diesel and petrol cars and vans in around 15 years. Scotland will promote other forms of travel like EVs by adding more charging stations, and pledged to double their investment on biking and walking from £40 million to £80 million, or from around $52.7 million to around $105.5 million, to boost air quality . Related: Britain to ban new diesel and petrol cars in 2040 Announcing the program, Sturgeon said, “We live in a time of unprecedented global challenge and change. We face rapid advances in technology ; a moral obligation to tackle climate change …We must aspire to be the inventor and the manufacturer of the digital, high-tech, and low-carbon innovations that will shape the future, not just a consumer of them.” She also announced the government plans to fund a North Sea carbon capture and storage project. And Scotland has already been winning in renewable energy this year. Between January and June, wind power provided 124 percent of household electricity needs in the country. Via the Scottish Government and EcoWatch Images via Wikimedia Commons and Gabriel Rodríguez on Flickr

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The prefab house of the future is made from recycled, reusable, and sustainable materials

May 5, 2017 by  
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This prefab home by Arup Associates is made from recycled, reusable and sustainably sourced materials . The Circular Economy Building was designed as a prototype for this year’s London Design Festival and built in only two weeks. The project revisits the archetypal house and reinvents it with refined prefab construction techniques and sustainable materials. The prefab clearly show its Circular Economy elements by revealing them visually– visitors can observe the layers of the envelope – including the demountable SIPS panels and the structural steel frame , which creates enables extension and future adaptation. The design aims to demonstrate that flexible, sustainable architecture can be highly compatible with a comfortable modern lifestyle. Related: Arup’s timber prefab Sky Believe in Better Building wins the 2014 Wood in Architecture Award The architects worked closely with Arup’s engineers to marry pleasant spatial solutions with sustainable building techniques. This informed the choice of finishes and fittings throughout the interior. Even the carpets, supplied by Desso on a take-back scheme, can be replaced when worn out and sustainably refurbished and reused . Related: London’s new Design Museum opens this week inside a renovated post-war modernist building The building’s superior acoustic performance is ensured by using an acoustic wall system built entirely from recycled plastic bottles . A high-tech automation system uses sensors to monitor the interior environment and adjust the skylights , blinds and lights. The building’s flat-pack construction utilizes custom-made panels standardized through several computational iterations. + Arup Associates Via v2com Photos by Simon Kennedy

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The prefab house of the future is made from recycled, reusable, and sustainable materials

These kaleidoscopic vases turn a single flower into a bouquet

September 28, 2016 by  
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Saltik is a part of Form & Seek , a collective of young designers with the mission of creating new ways of looking at the world. The OP-vase collection features a unique pattern of carefully crafted cuts to magnify the beauty of the flowers placed underneath. Each piece is cut by hand in Istanbul, making each colorful vase one of a kind. Related: Hamanishi Design combines 3D modeling and traditional craftsmanship to create beautiful flower vases The glass structures fit around flowers in a traditional vase, mimicking a kaleidoscope in the way they distort the image. A single flower becomes a vibrant bouquet to the observer, including those visiting the London Design Festival last week. By intensifying the simple elegance of nature’s blossoms, OP-vases could easily make their way onto many gardeners’ and decor-lovers’ wish lists. +Form & Seek , Bilge Nur Saltik +London Design Festival Images via Form & Seek

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These kaleidoscopic vases turn a single flower into a bouquet

These maintenance-free, self-watering plants use biomimicry to flourish indoors

September 27, 2016 by  
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The Pikaplant Jar is the perfect accessory for the black-thumbed gardener, as it never needs watering. The high humidity atmosphere is contained inside the sealed jar, creating a sustainable recycling of air and water. The coffea arabica plant featured in the design is indigenous to Ethiopia’s western highlands, yet the company claims one of the original prototypes in its Amsterdam office for over 12 months. Related: Gorgeous self-watering green walls add life and fresh air to any room Also in the Pikaplant family is the Tableau tray, a successfully funded Kickstarter project. A steel base holds three ceramic pots and a water reservoir, creating an open-air and self-watering masterpiece. Pikaplant One is the company’s stunning vertical garden , equipped with a passive irrigation system. The three shelf-high installation uses biomimicry , borrowing from the wet-dry cycle of ground water and trusting the plants to know how much water they need and when. Pikaplant Jars were located at designjunction at the London Design Festival 2016 this year, in its new King’s Cross location, along with Blackbody’s fierce FIRE RING chandelier . +Pikaplant +London Design Festival Images via Inhabitat, Pikaplant

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These maintenance-free, self-watering plants use biomimicry to flourish indoors

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