This carved wood bench hides an unexpected surprise

April 13, 2017 by  
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This simple-looking bench hides a two-fold surprise. A closer look reveals that the ‘tufted’ bench is actually carved out of solid wood – and when you sit down it’s bouncy and soft! Valentijn Rieb and Andrea Schimmer perfectly replicated the iconic form of a Chesterfield bench while marrying the look of wood with the comfot of a springy seat. Chester-Block-Hocker updates the classic Chesterfield bench with carved beach wood blocks. The soft, bouncy element comes from the inner support structure of the bench. Thanks to springs located under each diamond-shaped chunk of wood, this bench serves as a cushy seat. The legs of the bench are upholstered with leather to make the transformation complete. Related: Max Lamb’s “Exercises in Seating” is a primitive investigation of materials at Milan Design Week This design is the result of modern technology meeting manual labor and traditional craftsmanship. To realize Chester-Block-Hocker, the blocks were CNC milled and shaped by hand. Made with the utmost precision and a great attention to the detail, this bench offers a soft touch and a surprising material experience that will intrigue you each time you take a seat. The Chester-Block-Hocker won the Baars & Bloemhoff “Master of Materials” prize and is on show at the Masterly Dutch exhibition at Palazzo Turati in the 5VIE design district at Milan Design Week 2017 . + Milan Design Week images by Maria Novozhilova for Inhabitat

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This carved wood bench hides an unexpected surprise

Honda steps up with new green car strategy

April 13, 2017 by  
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Honda’s green car strategy has taken criticism over the past few years for its inability to keep up with the venerable Toyota Prius . Well, the automaker is stepping up with their introduction of the new Clarity Electric and Clarity Plug-in hybrid recently – at the New York Auto Show. The new Clarity Electric and Clarity Plug-in hybrid will be sold alongside the Clarity Fuel Cell , which is already on sale. With all three models, Honda hopes to be able to sell at least 75,000 Clarity vehicles in the first four model years. The Clarity will also help Honda reach its goal of having two-thirds of its vehicles electrified by 2030. Related: 2017 Honda Clarity fuel cell vehicle is ready for the mainstream The Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid will have a 42-mile electric driving range, which is still shy of the Chevy Volt, but longer than the Toyota Prius Prime . Once the battery is depleted, the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid uses a 1.5-liter Atkinson cycle 4-cylinder engine to give it an overall driving range rating of over 330 miles. The Clarity Plug-in hybrid’s electric motor generates 181-horsepower electric motor with 232 lb.-ft. of torque and is mated to a 17-kilowatt hour (kWh) battery. It will only take 2.5 hours to fully recharge it using a 240 volt outlet. The Clarity Plug-in Hybrid will have EPA fuel economy rating of 105 MPGe. The Honda Clarity Electric is powered by a 161-horsepower electric motor with 221 lb.-ft. of torque that is mated to a 25.5-kWh battery pack. The Clarity Electric will only have a driving range of around 80 miles, but it can by fully charged in just over three hours at 240 volts or up to 80 percent in just 30 minutes using a DC fast charger . The Clarity Electric will have a 111 combined MPGe rating. The Clarity Electric’s driving range is a bit disappointing, since we now have other electric cars with a much longer driving range. Still, Honda expects the Clarity Plug-in hybrid to be the sales volume leader out of the three Clarity models. Images @Honda + Honda

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These 3D-printed off-grid tiny houses can withstand hurricanes and earthquakes

April 13, 2017 by  
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These 3D-printed off-grid homes manufactured by Ukrainian startup PassivDom are not only 100% self-sufficient – they can also withstand hurricanes and earthquakes. The “gadget houses” are completely powered by the sun , and they’re available as fully furnished modules that can be controlled by a smartphone. PassivDom ‘s homes use solar power to satisfy all the needs of their occupants – including climate control (heating and cooling) and air quality. Each house features state-of-the-art engineering including an air recuperation system, a heat pump for heating and cooling with a remote-controlled thermostat hub, a HEPA system, a photovoltaic off-grid system powered by LiFePO2 batteries, a gray water filtration system with heat recovery , heat energy storage, and a boiler and water tank. Related: 7 charming off-grid homes for a rent-free life The homes’ impressive performance makes them versatile enough to suit any climate and topography. An industrial 3D-printing robot creates each house layer-by-layer using printing materials like carbon fiber , fiberglass , and polyurethane – all of which are easy to recycle. Because the structures don’t have foundations, they are easy to transport and assemble in any configuration. + PassivDom

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These 3D-printed off-grid tiny houses can withstand hurricanes and earthquakes

5 surprising products made from hemp

April 6, 2017 by  
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Hemp is a sustainable supermaterial with a wide range of applications that go far beyond hacky sacks and beaded bracelets. An experimental project called Fabric-Action explores exciting new uses for hemp – including modular gardens, skateboards, swings, and even air purifiers . Each design emphasizes the intrinsic qualities of this natural, sustainable and fast-growing material while showing how hemp can fit the latest production techniques such as 3D-printing, CNC technology and laser-cutting. Click on for five intriguing hemp products from the Fabric-Action show at Milan Design Week 2017. Agri-Hemp , designed by Michele Armellini and Marco Grimandi , is a modular indoor gardening system. Agri-hemp pots of different sizes are realized in thermo-formable woven hemp, a new material inspired by traditional hemp fabric. The system is completed by vertical wooden legs designed to support the hemp pots. Delta-9 by Gabriele Basei is a skateboard made out of waterproof hemp that is decorated with textile inserts typical of Umbria’s style. Kinesis by Ekaterina Shchetina e Libero Rutilo is a swing made out of three different types of hemp. Suspended on traditional hemp ropes, the swing features a seat made out of Canapalithos, a pressed hemp panel, and knobs made of 3D-printed hemp plastic. Carlotta Antonietti, Laura Tardella and Marzia Tolomei ‘s Paidia is a suspended cradle that utilizes several of hemp’s key attributes. Hemp is antibacterial, resistant to moisture, heat-insulating and light, so it’s the perfect material for this baby product, which is made out of hemp felt and lined with hemp fabric. Once your newborn grows up, Paidia can be easily transformed into a soft basket for toy storage. Soft by Enrico Azzimonti is an air purification system entirely made of hemp-derived materials. The project integrates the use of digital technologies such as 3D-printing to create tubular textile hemp filters that purify indoor spaces. These designs were presented at Milan Design Week 2017 and can be seen at Fuorisalone 2017 in Universita Statale di Milano. + Milan Design Week images by Maria Novozhilova for Inhabitat

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Zaha Hadid Architects 3D prints an experimental structure with the help of robots

April 6, 2017 by  
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Robots are revolutionizing architecture and Zaha Hadid Architects is hopping on board to show what that technology can do for custom building design. The world-renowned architecture firm unveiled Thallus, a beautifully ornate experimental structure created with the help of robots for Milan Design Week’s White in the City. The sculpture was programmed and executed by the firm’s Computation Design (ZHA CoDe) research group. Located at Milan’s Brera Academy, Thallus joins a series of temporary installations all created for White in the City , a project that explores the color white as a symbol of health, sustainability, and serenity. Thallus is named after the Greek word for flora and features a tapered shape that opens up at the top like a flower or unfurled leaf. Six-axis robotic 3D printing technology was used to create the sculpture, made up of continuous and repeating loops. The nearly three-meter-tall Thallus was 3D printed from premium polylactide plastic . Related: MINI’s tiny innovative home for three purifies the air in Milan “The design explores differential growth methods through expansion and diffusion arising from a single continuous seed curve guided iteratively via simulation parameters while constrained to a reference surface,” writes the firm. “Density gradation and direction of growth have been defined by parameters such as proximity to boundaries, angled direction of rulings, as well as structural requirements.” Thallus is on display at the Pinacoteca di Brera from April 4 to April 9, 2017. + Zaha Hadid Architects Images by Luke Hayes

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Pavilion made from 300 pairs of blue jeans just popped up in Milan

April 5, 2017 by  
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Here’s something we’ve never seen before: a structure made entirely of pants! Starchitects Diller Scofidio+ Renfro just unveiled a sprawling pavilion made from 300 pairs of blue jeans in Milan. The installation is called Linking Minds , and it re-interprets the idea of using ready-made modules (in this case pants) in architecture. The surreal jean canopy soars over the historic Palazzo Litta in Milan. While the individual pairs of pants represent the human scale of urban life, the meshed twisted structure points to a sense of community and the collective nature of architecture. Liz Diller engaged with the historical Palazzo Litta in 5VIE during Milan Design Week 2017 to reinterpret one of the most basic architectural elements: the roof. Formally, Diller’s suspended structure resembles the 3D-printed twisted mesh typically used for festivals. However, in this case the structure is realized with an unexpected, simple but iconic material: denim. Jeans are one of the most ubiquitous garments around the world, however they’re also very private and intimate items that we wear in direct contact with our skin. Related: 14 conversation-starting chairs that push the boundaries of design Jeans are also a curious object in terms of structure. Having two legs and one waist, it has an implicit structural logic that allows various combinations and spatial patterns. Connected waist-to-waist and cuff-to-cuff, and filled with air, the Linking Minds installation is a visually dynamic work of art and architecture that is one of the main landmarks of Milan Design Week 2017 . Diller Scofidio+ Renfro + Milan Design Week

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Design duo Raw Edges brings interactive Herringbones installation to Milan 2016

April 13, 2016 by  
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For Milan Design week 2016, London-based, Israeli-born designers Raw Edges collaborated with 5VIE Art + Design to create “Herringbones,” an unusual and eye-catching exploration of wood, colored dye, and herringbone motifs, all while putting visitors in the driver’s seat of design. Visitors were invited to dye pine planks by dipping them in buckets of colored dye, and then arrange them into beautiful patterns in a group design experience. Read the rest of Design duo Raw Edges brings interactive Herringbones installation to Milan 2016

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Award-winning biodegradable agar packaging could replace plastic

April 12, 2016 by  
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A group of designers from Japan have created a prototype design that could completely change the way we deal with product packaging. The design group, AMAM, calls their project Agar Plasticity, which explores the use of a seaweed -derived substance called agar as a biodegradable substitute for conventional plastic packaging. The group found that by boiling certain types of algae and dehydrating the resulting soup, it’s possible to create a variety of shapes and textures that could replace plastic film or foam packaging. For example, the frozen solution takes on a soft, cushioning structure, and when it’s compressed, it forms a plastic-like film. Read the rest of Award-winning biodegradable agar packaging could replace plastic

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The world’s largest water fight to continue amid a devastating drought

April 12, 2016 by  
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Every year Thailand makes a splash with the world’s largest water fight. Half a million people flock to the country for Songkran, the New Year festival that’s celebrated with everything from water guns to hoses to elephants spewing water. This year, however, officials are asking participants to curb water use in the face of the worst drought in more than 21 years – though some critics claim the celebrations shouldn’t take place at all. Read the rest of The world’s largest water fight to continue amid a devastating drought

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The world’s largest water fight to continue amid a devastating drought

Stephen Hawking announces plan to explore Alpha Centauri for alien life

April 12, 2016 by  
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Stephen Hawking is making big news today. Teaming up with Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, the famous astrophysicist announced the official launch of Starshot today, a space exploration initiative centered around a postage-stamp sized satellite called StarChip designed to ‘listen’ for alien life. The effort seeks to send these tiny satellites all the way to Alpha Centauri, the closest star system to the Solar System – a mere 4.3 light years away from Earth. Read the rest of Stephen Hawking announces plan to explore Alpha Centauri for alien life

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