Vellabox delivers natural, artisan candles to your door

November 13, 2020 by  
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Subscription boxes can be a great way to treat yourself each month or surprise a loved one with a thoughtful, curated gift. As we spend more time at home than ever, these monthly boxes can break up the monotony of daily life, too. With sustainability and affordability in mind, Vellabox delivers candles and eco-friendly goodies to your door, and it is a perfect little act of self-care. Plus, who doesn’t love the coziness of a freshly lit candle this time of year? Vellabox is a Columbus, Ohio-based company that offers handmade, natural wax candles in its subscription boxes. Each month, new scents are available in 4- or 8-ounce glass jars with metal lids that are 100% reusable or recyclable . Prices range from $10 to $30, with the $10/month box offering a 4-ounce candle and sustainable product, the $20/month option offering an 8-ounce candle and gift, or the $30 box offering a 4-ounce and an 8-ounce candle plus the surprise gift. Related: How to make soy wax candles for a cozy, autumnal home The Vellabox  packaging  is simple and sustainable. The cardboard boxes have no packing peanuts or bubble wrap; instead, the candles are secured in cloth bags in perfectly sized boxes to keep them safe. Every element is reusable or recyclable. The only plastic in my first box was the packaging for the sunflower seed butter. I tested the Ignis Box ($20/month) and the Vivere Box ($30/month) and was honestly impressed with both. The Ignis Box included a large Pumpkin Spice candle by Aster Candle. I’ve smelled a lot of pumpkin spice candles in my day, and I loved that this one struck the balance between too spiced (I’m not a huge fan of the overpowering scent of cinnamon) and too sweet. Truthfully, this one was less potent in smell and didn’t dissipate throughout my home as much as the other candles I tested, but it still smelled lovely. The company, Aster Candle, is based in Rhode Island; the owner, Catherine Kwolek, hand-pours each soy candle, and the  cotton  wicks are lead-free. My Ignis Box also included a package of 88 Acres Dark Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter. While the taste wasn’t exactly my cup of tea on its own (coming from someone who definitely enjoys a spoonful of peanut or almond butter on the regular), I blended it into a  dark chocolate-cherry smoothie  as recommended on the card included in the Vellabox package, and it tasted great this way. The second box had two candles by Lustre + Bloom. The larger of the two was an Aspen Woods scent. I’m picky about woodsy scents, as they can often be too strong or too musky for my taste. Honestly, I was bummed when I saw that scent in the box — that is, until I unscrewed the lid and took a whiff. It smelled like a walk through a  forest  in the best way. All the elements you’d expect here — leaves, moss, bark — blend beautifully with a touch of spice. Lighting it made a dreary day in the city feel slightly more in tune with nature. The second, smaller candle was a scent called Greenhouse. I wasn’t sure what to expect; I’ve definitely never encountered a candle with the scent of a  greenhouse , but it turned out to be my favorite of all the Vellabox candles I tested. Greenhouse reminded me of the very specific smell of eucalyptus in the shower, although the scent profile is technically “agave, aloe, chrysanthemum, green leaves.” It’s earthy and peaceful. This candle was the strongest of all three; even sitting across the room with other candles lit, I could only smell Greenhouse. Lustre + Bloom is a natural candle company based in Denver, Colorado. Mandy Candice, the shop owner, started making  non-toxic  candles after her son was born. She wanted to ensure she was only burning candles that were safe for the family. With these two candles came a bundle of Lunchskins, which are compostable, toxin-free sandwich bags meant to replace  single-use  plastic bags. When I was heading into the office every day, I always packed lunch and often used reusable silicone bags for my sandwiches. I actually have no immediate need for sandwich bags these days, but I’m excited to try these out, perhaps on a picnic or long drive. So far, I love that they have a cute avocado print across the bag. Although I received these boxes as editorial samples, I’ve already subscribed to the Vivere Box (I’m a sucker for natural candles, what can I say). I also have a few people on my list that I’ll be sending gift subscriptions for the holidays. Overall, I am thrilled with the candles. I loved all three scents despite being picky about candles, and the smells, especially Greenhouse, carried better than many of my other candles and wax melts. Although I was a little iffy on these particular bonus gifts , I am looking forward to seeing what other surprises are included in my future boxes. + Vellabox Images via Paige Bennett / Inhabitat

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Vellabox delivers natural, artisan candles to your door

Mercedes-Benz releases lightweight yet powerful eScooter

November 3, 2020 by  
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Mercedes-Benz has long been a top name when it comes to innovation. Most recently, this is evidenced by the newly released eScooter, a zero-emissions scooter that is light, foldable and portable to help cover the miles between the parking garage or bus stop and the final destination without contributing to air pollution . With an electric motor providing 500W power, the eScooter is powerful enough to climb grades, yet convenient enough to keep in the trunk of a car. It can get you where you need to go with a quick acceleration of up to 20km/h, which is the top limit allowed in Germany, where the eScooter was born. It may not go as fast as a car, but the 7.8 Ah battery offers an impressive range of up to 25 kilometers without a recharge. Related: Mercedes Benz presents a luxury electric car Both front and rear suspension and wide rubber tires allow the electric scooter greater traction and stability over uneven cobblestones or on smooth pavement. For added comfort and security, the kickboard is wide enough for both feet and comes with a non-slip coating. The handlebars are also road-ready with an easily adjustable height, right-handed acceleration and left-handed breaking. In addition, there is a foot break, front and rear lighting and side reflectors for safety. There’s even a classic bell to warn of your arrival around a corner or intersection. Plus, because you wouldn’t expect any less from Mercedes-Benz, there is a centrally mounted display, which makes it easy to monitor speed, battery level and riding mode at a glance. With the quick release of a foot lever, the eScooter folds in half for garage or trunk storage. You can also easily take it on public transportation for a convenient way to move between the station and the office. The Mercedes-Benz eScooter is part of a growing line of vehicles the company is scheduled to release over the next two years in an effort to provide Mercedes-Benz quality with more sustainable designs and less emissions. + Mercedes-Benz Images via Mercedes-Benz

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Mercedes-Benz releases lightweight yet powerful eScooter

Hauser & Wirth gallery, where adaptive reuse and art thrive

November 3, 2020 by  
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New York’s West Chelsea neighborhood has a distinct character that residents have worked to preserve over the years. The neighborhood is full of historic buildings and architecture that showcases America’s design past. But West Chelsea has also become a home for innovation, art and culture. The new Hauser & Wirth building in West Chelsea celebrates this culture by preserving the community’s history and allowing art to flourish all in the same space. Selldorf Architects designed the space, which resides in the West Chelsea Arts District. Working in collaboration with Hauser & Wirth, Selldorf Architects has created multiple adaptive reuse projects in New York. The new Hauser & Wirth building has a contemporary facade composed of concrete blocks and zinc panels. The concrete blocks were sustainably sourced and partially made with recycled waste glass and aggregate. Additionally, glazed openings fill the interior spaces with light. Big, open spaces inside provide plenty of room for art installations. Gleaming polished concrete runs throughout the building, and walls of white plaster provide a bright, clean background for bold, imaginative art displays. The ground floor’s 16-foot glass door can be folded and opened up completely, giving the world outside a view of the amazing art within. The second floor has 12-foot glass doors that open up the same way. Another opening, a glazed roof hatch, resides on the fifth floor. This hatch serves two purposes: to bring natural light into the space and to allow large artworks to be lifted by crane into the building. A bar and event space on the second floor hosts artist appearances and public gatherings. Appropriately, the first project displayed in the building was called “Artists for New York.” Artists donated pieces to help raise funds for a group of 16 non-profit visual arts organizations in New York impacted by COVID-19. + Hauser & Wirth Images via Hauser & Wirth

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Hauser & Wirth gallery, where adaptive reuse and art thrive

Investors call on major US polluters to clean up lobbying activities

October 29, 2020 by  
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Investors call on major US polluters to clean up lobbying activities Cecilia Keating Thu, 10/29/2020 – 00:10 Carbon intensive companies in the U.S. are facing growing pressure to clean up their lobbying activity, with a host of institutional investors this week issuing an urgent call to 47 of the largest greenhouse gas emitters to disclose how their corporate advocacy aligns with the most ambitious climate goals of the Paris Agreement. BNP Paribas Asset Management, Boston Trust Walden, California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) and the New York City Comptroller’s Office are among institutional investors which have signed an open letter calling on greater climate lobbying transparency and accountability from their U.S. portfolio companies, in a move spearheaded by the Climate Action 100+ initiative. The letter, sent to 47 company chairs and chief executives, calls on emissions-intensive firms to align all direct corporate lobbying activity and indirect lobbying activity managed by trade associations with the Paris Agreement goal to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, noting that any advocacy inconsistent with climate goals presents a raft of regulatory, economic, reputational and legal risks for investors. “The private sector cannot address the full range of impacts from climate change without strong public policy designed to help stabilize the climate. Companies should establish the Paris Agreement’s goals as their North Star when meeting with regulators and legislators,” said Adam Kanzer, head of stewardship for the Americas at BNP Paribas Asset Management. “Their lobbying activities should be consistent with the Paris Agreement and the best available science, well governed and transparent.” It is just the latest intervention from Climate Action 100+, which is backed by more than 500 global investors representing $47 trillion of assets worldwide and aims ramp up climate ambition from companies it has identified as collectively responsible for up to 80 percent of global industrial greenhouse gas emissions. Companies targeted by the campaign span a number of polluting sectors, including oil and gas, consumer goods, power and transportation, and have been identified as “systematically important” to the net zero transition by the campaign. Companies have an important and constructive role to play in enabling policy-makers to close the ‘ambition gap’ which would also contribute positively to the long-term value of our investment portfolios. Investors signing this week’s letters have called on the 47 U.S. companies to leave trade associations unable or unwilling to ensure their advocacy activity is compliant with global climate goals. While trade associations will not always speak for all of their members on some issues, climate change on the other hand represents “a unique challenge that requires alignment at all levels of an organization,” the letter argues. Companies therefore have a responsibility to their investors to encourage climate-friendly government policies, the letter emphasizes. “Currently, there are critical gaps between the pledges and commitments national governments have made and the actions required to stave off the worst effects of climate change,” the investors write. “Companies have an important and constructive role to play in enabling policy-makers to close the ‘ambition gap’ which would also contribute positively to the long-term value of our investment portfolios.” Climate Action 100+ is also working on a report set for publication next year aimed at benchmarking how 161 of the world’s most polluting companies are faring on climate action, with Paris-aligned corporate lobbying a “key indicator” in the metric, it said. The letters come as firms worldwide face growing pressure from investors to ensure that corporate engagement with policymakers helps advance a resilient, net zero economy. Shareholder proposals that demand companies disclose how their climate lobbying aligns with the Paris Agreement reached a record high in 2020, with Chevron shareholders approving such a proposal in a landmark vote in June. In Europe, meanwhile, oil firms such as Equinor, Shell, BP and Total have published the results of internal audits of their trade association memberships following long-running investor pressure, detailing where groups’ climate policies were misaligned with their internal goals. There also have been instances of companies exiting trade groups over disagreements over environmental policy in recent years. Unilever, Nestle and Mars left the Grocery Manufacturers Association in 2018 over disagreements on sustainable food policy, while Coca-Cola and PepsiCo cut ties with the Plastic Industry Association one year later over green policy issues. “The urgency of the climate crisis means that companies must not only take bold in-house actions to reduce emissions to net-zero and improve governance of climate risk, they must also look beyond their four walls and publicly advocate for federal and state policies to mitigate climate change,” said Ceres CEO and president Mindy Lubber, a member of the Climate Action 100+ global steering committee. “Investors are looking at those advocacy efforts and if corporate trade association lobbying matches what companies are publicly stating.” Pull Quote Companies have an important and constructive role to play in enabling policy-makers to close the ‘ambition gap’ which would also contribute positively to the long-term value of our investment portfolios. Topics Finance & Investing Risk & Resilience GreenFin Investing Greenhouse Gas BusinessGreen Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Photo by  worradirek  on Shutterstock.

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Investors call on major US polluters to clean up lobbying activities

The durable Solo New York backpack can accompany all of your adventures

September 28, 2020 by  
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Back in July, Inhabitat introduced readers to the Solo New York brand, a sustainable fashion company making bags out of recycled plastic water bottles. Since then, we have had the opportunity to use the popular Re:vive Mini Backpack ourselves, testing it out on more than a few outdoor adventures. With the environmental tolls of fast fashion becoming more and more apparent, sustainability has certainly become a buzzword in the textile and fashion industries. Solo New York’s recycled fabric production starts with discarded plastic bottles. Through an environmentally friendly process, the plastic bottles are finely shredded and re-spun into durable and lightweight recycled PET polyester yarn. According to Solo New York, this recycled material reduces energy use by 50%, water use by 20% and air pollution by 60%. Related: Each purchase of this bag made from recycled plastic helps plant trees The Re:vive Mini Backpack is just the right size for a day trip. We took one on a hike down to McClures Beach in Point Reyes, California in the height of summer. Despite its seemingly small size, it easily held a small beach towel, a large water bottle, keys, wallet, sunglasses and a tube of sunscreen with room to spare. The short fabric key clip built into the top of the bag helped keep us from digging around in the bottom for keys (always a plus), and the bag itself was so lightweight that it was easy to forget it was even on. When a sandwich mishap produced a small stain on the outside of the backpack , a simple dose of spot-cleaning made it good as new — a great characteristic if you plan on using the backpack in your everyday life. Another feature we noticed was the versatility of the design; the heathered gray material on the outside and the subtle black camo on the inside are just as appropriate for a big city subway or the office as they are for exploring a national park. Apart from aiding our fight against plastic pollution, this backpack also proved itself as a great conversation starter. Once people found out that it was made from recycled plastic bottles , most couldn’t believe that the fabric could be so soft and similar to other popular textiles like cotton or polyester. The sturdiness of the plastic fiber is apparent in its durability as well, so it is easy to tell that the bags are designed to last a long time. The mini backpack measures 14″ x 9″ x 4″ and weighs only 0.57 pounds. Priced at $24.99, it is affordable, too. Along with the aforementioned key clip, there are also adjustable shoulder straps and a front zippered pocket to hold more quick-grab items like cellphones and wallets. According to the company, the first run of the Re:cycled Collection was responsible for recycling more than 90,000 plastic bottles, and the line is still continuing to expand with new bags. As of September 2020, the collection features four backpack versions priced from $24.99 to $64.99, a laptop sleeve, two carry-on-size luggage pieces, a briefcase, a tote and a duffel. Solo New York was founded by John Ax, who arrived to the U.S. in 1940 with his family. They only had $100 and the clothes on their backs. As a skilled craftsman, he began rounding up leather pieces and scraps that were destined for the trash from local tanneries to turn into sellable goods. His small company, which eventually became known as the United States Luggage Company, thrived for decades before rebranding as Solo New York. Today, the company has already set solid, transparent goals to become even more sustainable in the future. The goal is to eliminate plastic from all packaging by the end of 2020. Hang tags are already printed on 100% recycled and biodegradable material with a recycled cotton string and a completely biodegradable clasp. The Solo New York headquarters on Long Island takes advantage of New York’s average of 224 sunny days per year with 1,400 rooftop solar panels (producing enough energy to power 87 homes). Plus, the company has a zero-tolerance plastic water bottle policy for its employees, instead offering filtered smart fountains and water dispensers throughout its locations. Solo New York has also partnered with the United States National Forest Foundation, pledging to help aid in reforestation by planting one tree per every bag purchased from the Re:cycled collection. Customers also have the option of taking the “Green Pledge” and promising to say no to plastic bottles for the following 30 days. For every pledge signed, Solo NY will plant a second tree. Overall, we think any of the bags from this sustainable collection would be a great gift option for the Earth-lover in your life, especially for the upcoming holiday season. Even for someone who hasn’t found their stride in sustainability quite yet, the gift of a Re:cycled Collection bag or backpack is sure to be pretty eye-opening as to how far recycling can really go. Even better, if more people pivot to eco-friendly bags, that means we can help cut down on the number of plastic items being manufactured and distributed globally, leading to fewer toxic chemicals released into the atmosphere, less resources spent and less waste produced overall. + Solo New York Images via Katherine Gallagher / Inhabitat Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by Solo New York. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.

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The durable Solo New York backpack can accompany all of your adventures

The Olympic House sets a new green building standard

September 16, 2020 by  
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The International Olympics Committee has a brand-new home in Lausanne, Switzerland . The stunning new Olympic House brings together 500 employees who were working at different offices scattered throughout the city. Now, these employees will work in an award-winning building that features all the latest green technology in a truly breathtaking design. Olympic House’s design centers three values: movement, flexibility and sustainability. These values show in every facet of the design. View the building from another angle, and suddenly the design looks completely different. The sweeping, elegant design sets the standard for all future buildings. The Olympic House boasts a LEED v4 Platinum building certification, with the highest score ever given (93 of 100). Minergie P. and SNBS platinum certifications further prove this building as one of the world’s most sustainable offices. Environmental concerns influence the design in more ways than one. The building connects to a beautiful park and fits perfectly with that setting. After all, this isn’t an ordinary office building. This office building houses the Olympics committee. The Olympics brings together nations and people from all around the world; that’s why the campus design allows for public enjoyment as well. As one of the most sustainable buildings ever created, the new Olympic House sets a standard for all other buildings to follow. The building even includes a green roof and multiple terraces, plus a fitness center for employees to use. Low flow taps and toilets help reduce water consumption, and rainwater capture helps provide the building with water. Meanwhile, solar panels power the Olympic House. Through green design, the Olympic House lowers carbon emissions, conserves resources, provides a healthy environment for employees and maintains green spaces. At the heart of the Olympic House, the Unity Staircase features a curving, twisting and awe-inspiring design. Hopefully, the building’s incredible design and multiple green features will inspire others to create more sustainable buildings that improve the environment, rather than damage it. + 3XN Via Architizer Images via 3XN

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The Olympic House sets a new green building standard

Policy for a Circular Economy: Part 1

September 15, 2020 by  
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Policy for a Circular Economy: Part 1 How should diverse corporate stakeholders — such as brands and packaging producers — help shape the U.S. policy landscape around plastics, recycling and solid waste management? This two part policy session, organized in collaboration with the The Recycling Partnership, will focus on the role that brand and packaging producers can play in forging a stronger policy environment in the U.S. to create more circular outcomes. The steady growth of public attention around plastics and packaging has led to a revitalized policy focus in the U.S. on recycling and solid waste management in 2020. Historically, brands and packaging producers have played an antagonistic role in the U.S. packaging policy landscape. However, the emergence of a circular economy opportunity and the urgency of science-based action are creating the conditions for value chain engagement and collective participation in the policymaking process. Speakers Dylan de Thomas, TRP Nina Butler, More Recycling Sarah Peery, Office of Senator Rob Portman This session was held at GreenBiz Group’s Circularity 20, August 25-27, 2020. Learn more about the event here: https://events.greenbiz.com/events/circularity/online/2020 Watch our other must-see talks here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDIkTxibMLM&list=PLyVZcHL_zmn6pie1MKrS3… OUR LINKS Website: https://www.greenbiz.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/greenbiz LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/greenbiz-group Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/greenbiz_group Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GreenBiz Holly Secon Mon, 09/14/2020 – 23:29 Featured Off

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Policy for a Circular Economy: Part 1

A disused factory becomes an office with a landscaped bamboo roof terrace

September 11, 2020 by  
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Located in Shenzhen, China, the If Factory utilizes a sustainable design that transforms an old and disused factory into a creative mix of office spaces. While the heart of the building contains a public stairway with an inclusive view of the inside, the landscaped bamboo roof terrace is an even more impressive token of the project’s combination of sustainability and community. Rather than demolish the original factory before rebuilding the office space, a project that would require extensive resources and environmental strain, the architects at MVRDV set out to renovate instead. The result is a celebration of old and new, with a simple focus on cleaning out the original building while reinventing the older components of the structure. Related: An old Brooklyn sugar refinery becomes creative office spaces For example, the architects chose to use new, transparent painting techniques to prevent the older spaces from further aging. This results in the important preservation of the original building’s history and exposed concrete frame while maintaining more modern principles of sustainability and the circular economy. New walls and balconies are made of glass. In an effort to promote exchanges between colleagues, the exterior walls are set back from the building’s frame to allow for circulation. The grand staircase is made of wood to separate the design from the surrounding concrete and glass, and it weaves its way artistically between each floor. MVRDV included windows built into the staircase so that workers can peek into other offices as a commitment to transparency and collaboration. The public roof terrace, known as “The Green House,” includes a green bamboo landscape that is arranged to form a natural maze. This unique design intentionally divides the rooftop into different sections that all contain different programming, including a dance room, a dining area and space for reading, aimed at relaxation and community. + MVRDV Via ArchDaily Images via MVRDV

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A disused factory becomes an office with a landscaped bamboo roof terrace

Hollandse Nieuwe crafts a vibrant, eco-friendly workspace with VR

September 10, 2020 by  
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Amsterdam-based architectural practice Hollandse Nieuwe has enlisted the help of virtual reality to create a dynamic and colorful workspace for civil servants. Commissioned by the local government as part of the city’s current policy to provide homes and semi-public workplaces for civil servants, the architects designed a flexible office space conducive to collaboration, health and creativity. The 1,650-square-meter office development was completed in 2019. To meet the government’s brief for a semi-public workspace open to all civil servants, the architects took cues from a grand cafe for the design of the ground floor. To promote social activity, the building features a plaza-like area that hosts diverse meeting places as well as a catering facility and kitchen that provides high-quality coffee. Related: Old coffee roastery to be reborn as a net-zero carbon office in London In the extended part of the plaza is the ‘superflexzone,’ an area comprising workspaces as well as flex-spaces that can be used as overflow for rentable units and civil servants interested in “hot desking,” or staying in the building for just a short period of time. The office also has a conference center for formal meetings. Although the office space follows an open-floor plan , the architects have clearly delineated the busier zones from the quieter areas while bright color schemes aid in way-finding. Proper insulation provides pleasant acoustics and indoor comfort as well. VR technology was also used to communicate the vision to the client for optimal results. The project follows the architecture firm’s goals of sustainability and recycling. Elements from the original interior, for instance, have been repurposed for the design of the new interior. The materials and finishes are all environmentally friendly. Well Standard principles have also been followed, and the existing pillars were covered with a new layer of foil to make them look fresh. Plant motifs are woven throughout the design to create a connection with nature. + Hollandse Nieuwe Images via Hollandse Nieuwe

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Hollandse Nieuwe crafts a vibrant, eco-friendly workspace with VR

This LEED Platinum office will gracefully evolve over time

September 8, 2020 by  
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New Delhi-based practice  Architecture Discipline  recently completed The East India Hotels Corporate Headquarters, a LEED Platinum-certified office space housed within the Oberoi Office Tower in Gurugram, India’s finance and technology hub. Dynamic, avant-garde and modern, the workspace design aims for functionality and comfort with full-height high-performance glass that lets in natural light and an open-plan layout conducive to flexibility. Architects engineered the office to be future-proof; it can gracefully transform and evolve without compromising its design identity.  Spanning an area of 10,000 square feet across seven floors, the East India Hotel Corporate Headquarters consolidates several  offices  into a single location within an urban regeneration district in the heart of Gurugram. The program not only includes workspaces for Arjun Oberoi, Managing Director of East India Hotels, and his Projects Development Team, but also an office for the Executive Chairman Prithvi Raj Singh ‘Biki’ Oberoi, the renowned hotelier behind the Oberoi brand. As a unique addition to the Managing Director’s office, the space includes a tabletop made from a decommissioned Cessna aircraft wing. “Today’s buildings are evolving landscapes; work, leisure and domestic activities are becoming interchangeable, leading to the creation of open-ended flexible buildings,” Akshat Bhatt, Principal Architect at Architecture Discipline, said in a press release. “ Adaptable frameworks with well-serviced and well-lit spaces that can be used for multiple activities in the short term – offer the possibility of a long-life span for the building and a variety of possible long term uses.” Related: New International WELL Building Institute HQ achieves Platinum Floor-to-ceiling glass surrounds the office to provide panoramic views of the city. For respite from the urban jungle, the architects inserted an internal glazed  courtyard  landscaped with an olive tree and geometric planters. A luxurious palette of high-end natural materials dresses the office, from Carrara marble tabletops to hardwood floors. High-performance glass and heat-reflective blinds that mitigate solar heat gain help reduce the office building’s energy footprint.  + Architecture Discipline Images via Architecture Discipline

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This LEED Platinum office will gracefully evolve over time

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