Artist suspends a giant cube filled with images of ocean plastic inside a London museum

September 26, 2019 by  
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Architectural and design studio Sam Jacob Studio has unveiled a new installation that highlights the burgeoning threat that plastic waste poses to the planet. Suspended from the ceiling of London’s V&A Museum, Sea Things is a giant, mirrored cube that emits a cartoon-style animated video. The animation takes spectators on a poignant journey from the year the first commercial plastic products were launched to 2050, the year some scientists estimate that the volume of plastic will be greater than fish in the world’s oceans. As part of London Design Festival , Sea Life greets visitors as they enter the V&A Museum’s great hall. Suspended in the air, the massive, transparent cube was inspired by a Charles and Ray Eames textile pattern found in the museum that depicts a pattern of fish and other sea creatures. However, the artist has updated the Eames pattern to reflect today’s growing ocean pollution issue. Along with a bevy of fish, a variety of waste objects found in the ocean these days, namely plastic bottles , has been added floating around in the cube. Related: Artist submerges 24 portraits underwater to raise attention about our plastic waste The animation begins in 1907, the year that one of the first commercial plastic products (Bakelite) was launched. The animation continues through the years, showing how the ocean waters have become more and more polluted with massive amounts of waste. The animation ends in 2050, the year that the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has estimated that the volume of plastic waste in our oceans will be greater than the amount of marine life. During the inauguration of the eco-art installation , Sam Jacob explained his inspiration. “The Eames’ were working in a very optimistic time when consumerism was linked to freedom. For us, now, we’re working in a very different context. Our relationship to things, to production, to ecology is far more difficult and complex,” he told journalists. “So, what we’ve done here is to remake the Eames’ pattern from the perspective of 2019.” While Sea Things is located on the ground floor, Jacob is also exhibiting a collection of ceramic water vessels in the museum’s ceramics gallery. The series reimagines some of the museum’s most historic objects remade in modern materials. For example, a water pot from China’s Ming Dynasty is reproduced in recycled plastic, and a 4,000-year-old beaker from Scotland was remade using bioplastic made from sea shells. + Sam Jacob Studio Via Dezeen Photography by Ed Reeve via Sam Jacob Studio

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Artist suspends a giant cube filled with images of ocean plastic inside a London museum

Kengo Kuma unveils bold timber museum in Turkey that pays homage to the region’s Ottoman heritage

September 17, 2019 by  
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The world-renowned architects of Kengo Kuma and Associates have just unveiled a stunning museum in Turkey. Located in Eskisehir, the Odunpazari Modern Museum features several stacked timber boxes that seemingly rise out of the ground at various angles, paying homage to the city’s Ottoman heritage. Featuring a design led by Kengo Kuma partner Yuki Ikeguchi, the new 48,400-square-foot museum is a light-filled, multilevel space that holds a collection of 1,000 pieces of contemporary art . Although the artworks inside the museum are decidedly modern, the building’s design was heavily influenced by the city’s history. Related: Kengo Kuma suspends a cocoon-like timber dwelling for minimal site impact According to Kengo Kuma and Associates , the timber and stacked volumes of the Odunpazari Modern Museum were implemented into the design to reconnect the area with its heritage. For example, the word “Odunpazari” means “wood market” in Turkish. Using bold, square-edged timber logs as the building’s principle construction material pays homage to the region’s long history of wood trading. In addition to its timber materials , which feature strongly on the exterior and throughout the interior, the museum’s volume is also a nod to the city’s Ottoman history. Most of the homes in the city that date back to the Ottoman empire were built with an upper level cantilevering over a base. Using this design as inspiration, the museum features several stacked boxes that cantilever out over the ground floor base at various angles. Inside the museum, these interlocked boxes create distinct spaces of varying sizes. The larger exhibition rooms on the bottom floor house large-scale art works and installations, while the smaller boxes at the upper levels exhibit smaller artworks. A reception area and atrium are found in the middle of the museum. Clad in timber slats, a massive, central skylight leads up through the floors, welcoming natural light into the interiors of each level. + Kengo Kuma + Odunpazari Modern Museum Images via Kengo Kuma and Associates

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Kengo Kuma unveils bold timber museum in Turkey that pays homage to the region’s Ottoman heritage

Three visions unveiled for the future of La Brea Tar Pits

September 3, 2019 by  
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The Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC) has unveiled three preliminary masterplan concepts for the world-famous La Brea Tar Pits — the only consistently active and urban Ice Age excavation site in the world. Copenhagen-based Dorte Mandrup , New York-based Diller Scofidio + Renfro and New York-based WEISS/MANFREDI were selected as the finalist teams in the NHMLAC-hosted “ideas incubator” in June 2019 and have presented their visions at the museum at the La Brea Tar Pits for public viewing through September 15. All three designs emphasize improving community access to the 12-acre site in addition to the creation of sustainable infrastructure and careful site preservation. Because NHMLAC is in a public/private partnership with the County of Los Angeles , all masterplan visions will emphasize the integration of the county-owned, 23-acre Hancock Park with the 12-acre La Brea Tar Pits site. Although the integration of green space with the museum collections is integral to all three proposals, each campus vision is distinct. Dorte Mandrup suggests interweaving the park, the tar pits and a lush landscape of prehistoric plants and trees as well as a Pleistocene solar pixel mural to emphasize the world’s most recent period of repeated glaciations. Related: $87M wildlife bridge in California will be a haven for mountain lions On the other hand, Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s “light touch” focuses more on museum activities and will feature a publicly accessible dig site supported by a mobile “digital rig” that can anticipate current and future digs in the park, a new light-filled lobby and an “Archive Block” that allows visitors to peer inside the Research Lab. WEISS/MANFREDI’s proposal is centered on the design of a triple mobius pedestrian pathway to connect the La Brea Tar Pits with Hancock Park, which will be surrounded by enhanced amenities. The three proposals are currently on view at the La Brea Tar Pits museum through September 15 as well as on its website . The public is encouraged to provide feedback onsite or online. In addition to public feedback, NHMLAC will consider input from a jury that it has assembled to help the selection of the one firm that will lead the masterplanning effort. + La Brea Tar Pits Images via Dorte Mandrup, Diller Scofidio + Renfro and WEISS/MANFREDI

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Three visions unveiled for the future of La Brea Tar Pits

Could the Florida Aquarium save ‘Americas Great Barrier Reef?’

August 26, 2019 by  
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Researchers at Tampa’s Florida Aquarium announced that they have managed to make a group of coral reproduce two days in a row. This is the first such successful attempt at Atlantic coral reproduction in a lab setting and could have important implications for saving barrier reefs. “Project Coral” is a program the aquarium designed in partnership with London’s Horniman Museum and Gardens . The objective: to create large coral egg deposits in a laboratory and ultimately repopulate the Florida Reef Tract. Related: Can the Cayman Islands save the Caribbean’s remaining coral reefs? Florida’s coral reefs are the world’s third largest barrier reef ecosystem. This phenomenal system, often called “America’s Great Barrier Reef,” extends from St. Lucie Inlet, north of Miami, to the Dry Tortugas, which are west of the Florida Keys. Biscayne National Park and Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary contain about two-thirds of the reef tract. But pollution , climate change and the orange sponge that invades the weakened reefs have destroyed much of the ecosystem. Can Project Coral heal the threatened reefs? “It’s pure excitement to be the first to achieve a breakthrough in the world,” Roger Germann, CEO of the Florida Aquarium, told CNN . “Our team of experts cracked the code … that gives hope to coral in the Florida Reef Tract and to coral in the Caribbean and Atlantic Oceans.” The researchers started working with Staghorn coral in 2014 but then shifted their concentration to pillar coral. Devastated by disease, pillar coral are now almost extinct . Unfortunately, the female and male clusters are too far apart to reproduce. The aquarium’s coral greenhouses use high-tech gear like LED technology and computerized systems to imitate the real reef ecosystem and send out signals to encourage reproduction. The aquarium has proven doubters wrong — it is possible to generate native Atlantic coral spawn in a laboratory. It’s still too early to determine how this controlled experiment will transfer to all the variables involved in repopulating a wild reef. But this success has spurred scientists’ positive attitudes about a happy future for both the reef and Florida’s tourism economy. Germann said, “Now there really is hope … I think we can save it.” Via CNN Image via National Park Service

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Could the Florida Aquarium save ‘Americas Great Barrier Reef?’

Glowing, celestial-inspired shelter communes with nature in Denmark

August 8, 2019 by  
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The Munkeruphus Art Museum on the coast of Denmark has recently gained a striking new addition — the Observatory, an organic pavilion by Danish designer Simon Hjermind Jensen . The commission, which was supported by the Danish Arts Foundation and Knud Højgaards Fond, marks the start of the museum’s long-term vision for integrating art and nature-related projects on its grounds. Crafted with 3D modeling and CNC technology, the curvaceous pavilion has a cave-like interior that encourages visitors to gather within and reconnect with nature. When Jensen received the commission for the project, he started the design process with a 24-hour stay on the site to observe the landscape conditions from dawn to dusk as well as the trajectories of the sun and the moon. The site-specific study inspired the placement of the Observatory as well as the architectural design, which began with a ceramic model he crafted on-site. Related: A mountain refuge in Spain is brought back to life with brickwork Back at his studio, Jensen refined his concept with additional ceramic models before overlaying a construction pattern on top that was 3D-scanned for computer modeling . Finally, the pavilion shell was CNC-cut from plywood and polycarbonate, bent into place and fastened together with custom, leaf-inspired joinery. Thanks to parametric modeling, the Observatory is optimized for strength and material use. Measuring nearly 19 feet in height, the Observatory features an asymmetrical teardrop shape topped with an oculus angled toward the south, framing views of the moon and creating more access to natural light . Inside, the curved interior is weighed down by a gravel floor and includes a built-in wooden bench that accommodates 25 people as well as a concrete podium. The central fire pit, when lit, makes the pavilion glow at night. “Like the characters of our surroundings changes and shift from day to night, the Observatory changes too, especially when a bonfire is lit after nightfall.” Jensen said. “The inside spatial experience changes with the light coming from the ground and, seen from the outside, the upper part glows in a pink color created from the light from the flames.” + Simon Hjermind Jensen Images via Simon Hjermind Jensen

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Glowing, celestial-inspired shelter communes with nature in Denmark

Carbon-neutral science museum in Sweden will be powered by bicycles

July 19, 2019 by  
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Danish architectural firm COBE has unveiled designs for a new science museum in the Swedish university city of Lund that will be powered not only with rooftop solar energy but also with pedal power. Museum visitors will be invited to help generate electricity for the carbon-neutral museum by riding “energy bikes” on its concave roof. Constructed primarily from prefabricated cross-laminated timber, the eco-friendly building will be a sustainable landmark and help cement Lund’s position as a science city on the international stage. Winner of an international competition, COBE’s proposal for the science museum will be located in the heart of the city’s new urban district, Science Villa Scandinavia. The museum will be sandwiched between the high-tech institutions ESS (European Spallation Source) and MAX IV, which are currently under construction and slated to become the world’s most powerful and advanced research facilities within neutron and X-ray research. The science museum’s purpose is to make the institutions’ groundbreaking research more accessible and inviting to both children and adults and to promote general interest in natural science and research. Spanning a total floor space of 3,500 square meters, the two-story science museum will comprise exhibition halls, a gallery, a reception area, workshops, a museum shop, a restaurant, offices and an auditorium. A viewing platform and patio will top the concave 1,600-square-meter roof as will energy bikes and a solar array large enough to meet the museum’s electricity needs. A large, nature-filled atrium will sit at the heart of the museum to help absorb carbon dioxide, boost biodiversity and serve as a water reservoir and overflow canal in case of extreme rainfall. Excess heat from ESS will be used to heat the museum through an ectogrid system. The timber building is expected to reach completion by 2024. Related: Industrial building is reimagined as a zero-carbon paragon for Paris 2024 Olympics “Ambitions for the design of the museum have been sky-high, and we feel that we have succeeded in designing a unique and inviting building, whose open atrium and concave roof lend it a dramatic and elegant profile that stands out and offers novel and innovative ways of using a museum,” said Dan Stubbergaard, architect and founder of COBE. “Moreover, we have made climate, environment and sustainability integral aspects of the process from the outset. By choosing wood as the main construction material, incorporating solar cells, using excess heat and creating an atrium with a rich biodiversity and a rainwater reservoir, among other features, we have achieved our goal and succeeded in creating a CO2-neutral building, if the design is realized as intended. Our hope, as architects, is that we can continue to increase the focus on and improve our ability to create sustainable architecture and construction for the benefit of future generations and the condition of the planet.” + COBE Images via COBE

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Carbon-neutral science museum in Sweden will be powered by bicycles

Imperial War Museums Passivhaus-targeted archive breaks world records for airtightness

June 6, 2019 by  
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Britain’s Imperial War Museum has recently gained a new high-performance archive facility in Cambridgeshire, England that boasts the world record for airtightness with results of 0.03 ach (air changes per hour). U.K. architectural practice Architype designed the new storage building — called the IWM Paper Store — to house some of the world’s most important collections of artworks, photographs, letters and diaries that chronicle the history of warfare in the past two centuries. Engineered to meet Passivhaus standards, the boxy, single-story collections facility is sheathed in ground-to-roof panels of perforated oxidized steel. Having completed a Passivhaus archive before, Architype was tapped to develop a second airtight facility for the Imperial War Museum (the new repository is currently awaiting certification). Drawing on its decades of experience designing beautiful, low-carbon buildings, the practice not only crafted the building to meet stringent environmental conditions for archival needs, but also thoughtfully designed the exterior to complement the existing historic buildings on site at IWM Duxford. Completed January 2019 for an approximate cost of £2.8 million, the rectangular building spans an area of 13,326 square feet to bring together over 14,000 linear meters of IWM’s collections into a central repository. The building can provide for up to 30 years’ expansion of IWM’s unique collections. To stabilize temperature and humidity levels, the architects turned to Passivhaus as a low-energy alternative to a highly mechanized and energy-intensive building system. Related: Architect designs and builds his dream Passive House in New York Working together with construction provider Fabrite, the architects conceived an uninterrupted facade of oxidized steel to complement the color and texture of historic brickwork onsite. “Though simple in form, the oxidized steel facade offers thoughtful detail, consisting of ground-to-roof panels that signify each year of archived collections from 1914 onward,” the architects explained. “Perforations in panels denote the 1 According to current records held by the International Passivhaus Association quantity of collected documentation, with noteworthy years around wartimes being heavily perforated in accordance with the volume collected.” + Architype Images via Richard Ash / IWM

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Tibetan antelope are being decimated to produce opulent shahtoosh scarves

May 2, 2019 by  
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Poachers are taking advantage of a fashion trend to turn Tibetan antelope into expensive scarves. It takes four Tibetan antelopes to make the single opulent wrap known as a shahtoosh, and the hunt is decimating the antelope populations. These scarves, once used as dowry items in India, are seeing an increase in demand by Westerners willing to pay upward of $20,000 a piece. Over the past century, conservationists have measured a 90 percent drop in antelope numbers, mostly due to increasing wool demands . Experts believe there was once a million antelope that roamed the Tibetan landscape, but their numbers fell to around 75,000 in the 1990s. Related: These AI-powered cameras can sense poachers and save wildlife According to National Geographic , population numbers started to recover in the 2000s after China enacted tough laws against trading the antelope wool, but the demand for shahtoosh has increased poaching over the past 10 years. Since 2010, border agents in Switzerland have confiscated 295 scarves, which represent the deaths of more than 1,000 Tibetan antelopes. In light of the alarming numbers, officials are asking for other countries to keep a close eye on shahtoosh trafficking with the hope of curbing some of the fashion demand. It takes a trained eye to identify a shahtoosh. The biggest key in properly locating a shahtoosh is looking for antelope guard hairs. These long pieces of hair are difficult to remove in the manufacturing process and are easy to identify under a microscope. Once it is determined that a scarf is a shahtoosh, the owner is fined a few thousand dollars, and the piece of clothing is confiscated. The shahtoosh trade appears to be less of an issue in the United States, at least on the surface. Since 2007, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has not confiscated a single shahtoosh, though it is possible that the material has simply flown under the radar. Either way, experts do not believe Tibetan antelopes will be able to make sustained recoveries until the demand for the luxurious scarf is significantly reduced. Via National Geographic Image via McKay Savage and Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Tibetan antelope are being decimated to produce opulent shahtoosh scarves

One-of-a-kind Wilhelm Lamp is 3D-printed from recycled polycarbonate

April 12, 2019 by  
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Challenged by Milanese design gallerist Rossana Orlandi to “give plastic a second life,” Italian architect Tiziano Vudafieri has created the Wilhelm Lamp, a unique light fixture and tribute to the renowned German industrial designer Wilhelm Wagenfeld. Presented at Rossana Orlandi’s exhibition Guitlessplastic – Master’s Pieces during Milan Design Week, the Wilhelm Lamp reinterprets the Wagenfeld’s modernist glass vase as an enlarged pendant lamp that is 3D-printed from recycled polycarbonate. First launched last year, Rossana Orlandi’s Guitlessplastic project was created to challenge the public discourse around plastic. The initiative has included talks and numerous collaborations between brands, artists and architects invited to showcase responsible uses of plastic through recycling. The Guitlessplastic – Master’s Pieces collection exhibits unique works made out of recycled and recyclable plastic by renowned artists, designers and architects and is currently on show at the Railway Pavilion of the Museum Scienza e Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci in Milan until April 14. As an admirer of Wilhelm Wagenfeld, Tiziano Vudafieri owns a 1935 Wagenfield glass vase as part of his personal collection and used it as the inspiration for the Wilhelm Lamp. Created in collaboration with BAOLAB, LATI and GIMAC, the lamp was 3D-printed into a large, bulbous shape from recycled polycarbonate , a material that boasts high thermal and mechanical resistance. At the exhibition, the translucent pendant lamp is suspended above the 1935 Wagenfeld vase, which is bathed in the lamp’s light. Related: Make your own custom sunglasses from recycled plastic with FOS “Wilhelm Wagenfeld was the only Bauhaus master to apply this movement’s utopia to real life, invading the market after World War II with beautiful everyday objects with innovative designs and affordable prices,” Vudafieri said. “Among his works, I prefer his glass pieces, particularly the vases, with their classic and rigorous, elegant and modern forms. Hence the idea of recycling not only the materials used for the object, but also the design itself, fitting in perfectly with the Guiltless Plastic theme.” + Tiziano Vudafieri Images via Tiziano Vudafieri

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One-of-a-kind Wilhelm Lamp is 3D-printed from recycled polycarbonate

This camper van features not just one, but two sleeping pods in its cozy interior

April 12, 2019 by  
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While most DIY van conversions end up as just one project, Oxford-based Jack Richens and Lucy Hedges took their passion for transforming camper vans into contemporary homes on wheels and turned it into a career. Their company, This Moving House , has just finished its sixth project, the Jubel Explorer, and it is a doozy. The ultra-compact space has been completely transformed into a chic adventuring vehicle, complete with two innovative sleeping nooks. Constructed on a long wheel base Mercedes Benz Sprinter, the camper van ‘s revamped interior is surprisingly modern and space-efficient. At the front of the van, the driving area has two chairs that swivel around to face a small table with a three-person bench, creating enough space for dining or working. Related: Denver-based company helps you fulfill your van conversion dreams But at the heart of this incredible tiny home on wheels is the kitchen and sleeping space. Although incredibly compact, the kitchen is contemporary thanks to a palette of matte white with wooden trim. A white resin sink sits in front of a light-gray backsplash with a two-burner stove on one side and a countertop on the other. For additional preparation space, larger countertop panels folds out from the cabinetry. Next to the quaint cooking area is a day bed tucked into the very end of the camper van. Beside this bed, a simple staircase leads up to the company’s now-signature pod bunks. Accessed by porthole-style windows, the sleeping pods come complete with fixed full-sized mattress and reading lights as well as the possibility for tailored furnishings, such as a custom mattress and privacy curtains. To keep the space clutter-free, the camper van is outfitted with plenty of storage. The stairs to the sleeping pods lift up to reveal built-in nooks, and the main bed has pull-out drawers underneath. For additional storage, there is an extra-large drawer and room for gear in the back of the van. The Jubel Explorer was also made to be semi- off-grid  with a diesel heater that keeps the interior space warm and cozy. Power comes from a 110AH and 12V electrical system, and the van also comes with a 21-gallon water tank. + This Moving House Via Curbed Photography by Tim Hall Photography via This Moving House

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This camper van features not just one, but two sleeping pods in its cozy interior

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