An elegant car center in Thailand is made from 8 repurposed shipping containers

February 28, 2019 by  
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Thailand-based firm Archimontage Design Fields Sophisticated has repurposed eight old shipping containers into a beautiful car center in the Thai city of Nonthaburi, a suburb of Bangkok. The elegant, light-filled building is made up of four small containers and four larger models, which were arranged strategically to fit into a very compact and narrow corner lot. When the owners of an existing building on the same site approached the architects with the desire to expand their car care business, the designers immediately went to work strategizing the best way to build on the 3,000-square-foot lot, which was quite long and narrow. Accordingly, the team decided to create a custom vertical design that would make the most out of the space without overwhelming the streetscape. Their solution was to use several repurposed shipping containers to create a three-story building that could serve as a flexible, multi-purpose space for years to come. Related: Shipping container food halls slated to revitalize Southern California neighborhoods The ground floor was designed to house the overflow business of the existing car company and for extra storage. Although the space is currently empty, a restaurant and bar are planned for the second floor. The third floor was turned into a light-filled office space. An outdoor staircase lets visitors head up to the upper floors without entering the car storage area. The arrangement of the containers was based on a two-fold strategy: to make the most out of the space provided and to optimize the amount of natural light. The design also revolved around a number of passive features, including metal sunshades that were installed on the west façade and the roof to reflect the sunlight and provide shade from the blaring Thai heat. Additionally, the architects painted the exterior of the building in a matte black, not only as a way of blending it into the urban surroundings but also to reduce solar radiation . By contrast, the interior spaces were painted a bright white that modernizes the industrial design. + Archimontage Design Fields Sophisticated Via Archdaily Photography by Chaovarith Poonphol Photography via Archimontage Design Fields Sophisticated

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An elegant car center in Thailand is made from 8 repurposed shipping containers

Solar-Powered smart home in LA can be remotely controlled with a phone

January 3, 2019 by  
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Los Angeles-based general contractor and real estate development firm LA Build Corp has recently completed a single-family custom home that combines luxury modern design with energy-saving smart home technologies. Located in West Hollywood’s Kilkea Drive, the contemporary dwelling is equipped with a full home automation system that allows the homeowners to control multiple aspects of the house—from the sound systems to the window shades—with a touch of a button on their smartphones. Set on a lot with a spacious backyard, the house on Kilkea Drive takes advantage of its large lot and southern California’s temperate weather with a design that emphasizes indoor/ outdoor living . The open-plan interior is coupled with operable walls of glass that not only flood the rooms with daylight but also provide unfettered views of the backyard that pull the outdoors in. The outdoor terrace appears as a seamless extension of the indoor living area and is a continuation of the home’s material palette and neutral color scheme. Natural materials including San Quentin black beach pebbles, Cedar, ipe, and Kebony Wood—sourced from Delta Millworks—are used inside and out for cohesion.   Building on the popularity of home automation, LA Build Corp installed a full home automation system that allows all parts of the home from the lighting and irrigation to the entertainment systems to be controlled remotely. The air conditioning system operates at 97% efficiency. Rooftop solar panels power the home and heating for the outdoor two-lane lap pool with a spa and a wading pool. Related: Geothermal-powered Halifax home uses automation for energy savings As mentioned in the project’s press release: “This home really epitomizes the Los Angeles lifestyle and celebrates the increase in popularity of home automation and efficiency. By incorporating details such as a living room fireplace with a glass back wall, large open windows, exterior landscaping in the interior, etc., LA Build Corp was able to take California’s year-round lifestyle and build a home that is suited for every season and current to today’s home building trends.” + LA Build Corp Images by Sky Photography LA

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Solar-Powered smart home in LA can be remotely controlled with a phone

A gorgeous houseboat with a shockingly spacious interior can be yours for $375K

November 7, 2018 by  
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Tiny home builders are always popping up with new and ingenious ways to make a small space seem larger, and this gorgeous houseboat is no exception. The amazing interior design will make you forget all about the home’s 510-square-footage. Located on Seattle’s ship canal just minutes from downtown, the charming cottage on the water comes with plenty of unique features, including a Japanese-style, cedar soaking tub, a custom-made elevator bed and an open-air rooftop lounge. The beautiful houseboat, which is currently listed for $375,000 , is clad in a serene blue hue that pays homage to its aquatic environment. Inside, the design is simply jaw-dropping. Light wood panels on the ceiling complement the calming white walls, while large windows naturally brighten the entire space. Throughout the home, unique cork flooring leads from the living room to the kitchen to the two bedrooms, seamlessly connecting the spaces. Related: This whimsical houseboat in Seattle is straight out of a fairytale The interior, which has recently been renovated, uses a number of space-saving techniques  and fabulous furnishings to open up the tiny home. The living room is a welcoming area with a long comfy couch meant for socializing. The sofa and most of the furnishings were kept in neutral shades to keep the atmosphere peaceful. Strategic pops of color here and there add a modern vibrancy to the design. In this home, every room has a strong personality. The kitchen was renovated with rustic, live-edge counters and backsplash. Salvaged slate cabinets were installed to lend an industrial touch to the design. The spa-like bathroom boasts a soothing pebble floor and an aromatic, cedar soaking tub. The two bedrooms also hide a few fun secrets, such as the vertical lift bed that converts one of the bedrooms into an office space or playroom when raised. Throughout the home, ample storage in the walls and stairs helps to avoid clutter. Of course, the heart of the home is found on the upper level lounge with a small sitting area, which leads to an open-air rooftop balcony . This space is perfect for entertaining, al fresco dining or just enjoying the serene water views. + Metropolist Via Apartment Therapy Photography by Diwas Photography via Metropolist

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A gorgeous houseboat with a shockingly spacious interior can be yours for $375K

California becomes the first state to ban animal-tested cosmetics

October 1, 2018 by  
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A new California law banning the sale of animal-tested cosmetics is the first of its kind in the U.S. The California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act was signed by California Governor Jerry Brown on Friday soon after its inception by colleague and Senator Cathleen Galgiani. The regulations will go into effect Jan. 1, 2020, restricting manufacturers wishing to “import for profit, sell or offer for sale” all cosmetics produced with animal testing. Violators will incur a base fine of $5,000, plus $1,000 for each day they continue their illicit activities. Currently, several  animals are manipulated in the cosmetics industry including mice, rats, rabbits and guinea pigs. A large proportion of these test subjects are killed after experimentation, but not before they have been exposed to possibly irritating or even deadly substances. Susceptibility to hazards is determined by force-feeding or causing the animals to inhale chemicals in order to evaluate toxicity levels. Related: LA City Council unanimously agrees to ban the sale of fur The new California law makes the Humane Cosmetics Act, a federal bill that would eliminate the practice of animal testing in the cosmetics industry, all the more significant. The vital legislature was introduced to Congress last year, but has yet to be passed. Unfortunately, the greatest loophole that remains in the groundbreaking law is an exception for products for which no alternative experimentation procedures exist. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been very lax thus far, simply asking companies to “employ whatever testing is appropriate and effective” to eliminate adverse effects for consumers. California joins a list of governments, such as the EU, India, Israel and Norway, that have already adopted such a ban. But some countries, including China , require animal testing on all imported cosmetics. These animal-tested products could also funnel through the California legislature’s loopholes — as long as animals weren’t used to determine the safety of a product for sale in California specifically. While there has been a push in China to move away from animal testing, there is also greater incentive for companies to stop animal testing. Companies hope to avoid having to pay for two sets of testing, one set of animal tests for China and another to be able to sell the same products in the EU or California. “It gives greater impetus for [the cosmetics] industry to push for changes in other countries,” said Vicki Katrinak, program manager for animal research issues at the U.S. Humane Society. “We’re hoping that California will just be the start of resolving this issue.” + The California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act Via The Huffington Post Image via Siora Photography

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California becomes the first state to ban animal-tested cosmetics

Modern LEED Gold home embraces outdoor entertaining in Aspen

August 7, 2018 by  
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Aspen’s historic West End neighborhood is best known for its ornate Victorian houses, but one residence in particular is turning heads for its modern, award-winning design and LEED Gold certification. Local firm Rowland + Broughton Architecture & Interior Design designed the ground-up home — dubbed “Game On” — that splits a historic landmark lot with a neighboring late-19th-century home. The new residence incorporates environmentally friendly and energy-efficient features throughout, from its solar roof tiles on the garage to its sustainably harvested materials palette. Constructed with a traditional gabled form and front porch that mirrors the surrounding architecture, Game On stands out from its neighbors with its clean lines and white-painted exterior. The 4,291-square-foot abode’s contextual design earned approval from Aspen’s Historic Preservation Commission. The minimal design approach carries over to the restrained landscaping as well. “Inspired by the residential vernacular of Aspen’s historic West End neighborhood, this home brings a sense of clarity and elegance to a traditionally ornate Victorian form,” the architecture firm said. “With the clients’ personal and professional lifestyle in mind, the design is intended to accommodate a large number of guests for entertaining yet provides a sense of intimacy for private relaxation. The open plan connects the indoor and outdoor spaces with seamless lift and slide pocket doors. Interiors feature custom built-in and floating furnishings and custom fixtures.” Related: Solar-powered mountain home is a sustainable prototype for Aspen development In additional to solar roof tiles , Game On minimizes its energy footprint with a highly efficient mechanical system, radiant in-slab heating and heat loss control. The sustainable water strategy includes high-efficiency fixtures and an irrigation system as well as a bocce ball court in the backyard that collects and filters all stormwater runoff. The interior is dressed in natural and recycled materials with no VOC paints for a healthy indoor environment. + Rowland + Broughton Architecture & Interior Design Images via Brent Moss Photography

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Modern LEED Gold home embraces outdoor entertaining in Aspen

This giant inflatable dome is made of hundreds of tiny pinhole cameras

February 8, 2018 by  
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Artists often try to get viewers to appreciate different perspectives, but Rhode Island-based design collective Pneuhaus is taking the task literally. They’ve created a giant inflatable “Camera Compound” made of 109 tiny pinhole cameras. The innovative camera obscura – which takes the form of a 20-foot geodesic dome – invites guests to wander inside to get a different perspective on the world they live in. Each hexagonal piece of the dome structure contains a tiny pinhole, which, like a camera obscura , projects an inverted image onto the translucent interior. In this case, the pinholes were covered with a single magnifying glass to focus the incoming light in a way that produces a crisper image than most camera obscuras. The installation’s flexible opaque fabric lets visitors create their own images by distorting the images as they wish. Related: Colossal Camera Obscura frames the picture-perfect Dolomites According to the artists behind the creation, (Levi Bedall, August Lehrecke, Matthew Muller, Zachary Weindel), the interactive photography installation is designed to provide people with a sense of changing perceptions, “Compound Camera offers a more analog perspective on how our surroundings can change the way we perceive the world.” The art installation was recently on display for the Pawtucket Arts Festival in Rhode Island, but its just one of their many pneumatic architectural installations. In 2015, they unveiled an inflatable RGBubble pavilion on the Brown University campus and later, they created a crazy Bubble Dome made up of hundreds of TPU balls . + Pneuhaus Via Core 77 Images via Pneuhaus

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This giant inflatable dome is made of hundreds of tiny pinhole cameras

FEMA contractor failed to deliver millions of emergency meals to Puerto Rico

February 8, 2018 by  
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Millions of meals never made their way to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria , according to Reuters . United States Democratic lawmakers recently said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) awarded a contract of almost $156 million to a one-person company – which delivered 50,000 of an anticipated 30 million meals. The Atlanta-based FEMA contractor Tribute Contracting reneged on their commitment to deliver millions of meals to Puerto Rico after the island faced its “worst natural disaster in 90 years,” Reuters reported. House Oversight Committee Democrats referred to documents revealing the company delivered just thousands of meals. They were terminated for cause 20 days after they won the October 2017 contract from FEMA. This, the Democrats say, led to a “massive food shortage for weeks.” Related: $30M contract cancelled by FEMA after supplies to Puerto Rico fail to arrive Documents show Tribute had issues handling government contracts under $100,000 in the past and were barred from government work until 2019, according to Reuters. Elijah Cummings, representative for Maryland and top Democrat on the committee, and Stacey Plaskett, delegate for the United States Virgin Islands, wrote, “It is unclear why FEMA or any agency would have proceeded with a contract worth $156 million in light of this company’s poor contracting history and these explicit warnings.” Plaskett and Cummings sent a letter to chairman Trey Gowdy, Republican representative for South Carolina, asking him to subpoena FEMA for documents they say it has withheld for over three months regarding the failure to provide millions of emergency meals. They said in the letter their staff spoke with Tribute Contracting owner Tiffany Brown, who “explained that FEMA awarded the contract ‘because I was able to submit a proposal to supply 30 million meals at the cheapest cost.’ She stated that she ‘worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week to try and provide these emergency meals.’ She also explained FEMA knew she could not independently finance the production and delivery of this many meals in such a short time frame.” Gowdy spokesperson Amanda Gonzalez told Reuters although a subpoena was premature, they will continue to review hurricane recovery efforts. FEMA didn’t comment on Tribute but told Reuters when the contract was terminated, the distribution of food on the island “was not affected.” + House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Democrats + Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Letter Via Reuters Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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FEMA contractor failed to deliver millions of emergency meals to Puerto Rico

Two photographers are sailing through Europe in amazing handbuilt houseboats

February 5, 2018 by  
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Collaborative artists Claudius Schulze and Maciej Markowicz are sailing through Europe in two self-built tiny homes. The 2BOATS (Übermut) will serve as traveling studios for the artists while they sail from Hamburg to Paris. Schulze’s houseboat is a wooden pontoon-style vessel, complete with an outdoor disco ball and hammock. Markowicz’s sleek floating studio pulls double duty as a fully functioning camera obscura, capturing the photographers’ journey in real time. Schulze’s houseboat is a wooden platform with an amazing covered deck and rooftop seating area, big enough to enjoy the stunning scenery as they sail through Europe’s waterways. The floating home and studio were made with reclaimed wood panels and a variety of old windows, which flood the homey interior with plenty of natural light. Related: How this photographer escaped the grid with her tiny Teardrop Trailer Markowic’s boat is a more modern vessel, and one that is used for pure photography purposes. Doubling as a camera obscura , the innovative vessel is capturing the photographer’s amazing journey. Once at port, the photographer invites guests on board to experience a real-time projection or see the photographic record of the artists’ journey. Schulze and Markowicz created the floating photography studios to make their way from Hamburg to Amsterdam’s Unseen Photo Fair and Paris Photo event, ending their journey at the Hamburg Triennale of Photography in June. Both artists are posting from their man-made ships. Schulze’s explorations can be found on his Instagram page and Markowicz can be found at ObscuraBus . + Claudius Schulze + Maciej Markowicz + 2BOATS Via This is Colossal Photography by Kevin McElvaney courtesy of Übermut Project

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Two photographers are sailing through Europe in amazing handbuilt houseboats

Melbourne architects turn an old terrace house into a gorgeous light-filled home

January 17, 2018 by  
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Melbourne-based Ben Callery Architects converted a compact terrace house with limited square footage into a contemporary, light-filled home by going upwards and outwards. The renovation introduced a large rooftop deck, and natural light floods the interior, providing a strong connection with the outdoors. The Beyond House also takes advantage of a number of sustainable features including passive heating and cooling, solar power , water harvesting, and repurposed materials. The old row home was previously cramped in between two walls with little light, but by bringing the home design upwards, the architects were able to outfit the top level with a gorgeous open-air deck that allows the homeowners to enjoy a private outdoor space. Although adding this indoor/outdoor connection to the home was imperative to the renovation, the owners were also focused on creating a strong sustainability portfolio for their new home. Related: Low-impact Abbotsford Eco House uses recycled materials wherever possible in Melbourne “The owners are serious about sustainability and wanted the new addition to be naturally comfortable, using the sun for heating, breezes for cooling, water harvesting, solar power, recycled materials (even re-using the old kitchen),” the architects said. “We looked beyond the site constraints and beyond the typical spatial boundaries within a terrace house’s rooms and levels.” The strong connection to the outdoors continues throughout the interior, which was outfitted with strategically placed windows to bring in as much natural light to the living space as possible. In fact, every room in the house has a floor-to-ceiling glass door that provides optimal light, further fusing the indoor with the outdoor. + Ben Callery Architects Via Freshome Photography by Peter Bennetts via Ben Callery Architects

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Melbourne architects turn an old terrace house into a gorgeous light-filled home

New satellite paves the way for full-color, full-motion video from space

January 15, 2018 by  
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British company Earth-i just launched a new prototype satellite that paves the way for the “world’s first full-color, full-motion video satellite constellation.” CARBONITE-2 is a test version of the the Vivid-i commercial satellite constellation, and its imaging system “is designed to deliver 1m resolution images and color HD video clips with a swath width of 5km.” CARBONITE-2 (which the Earth-i team calls VividX2) blasted off from the Indian Space Research Organization ‘s Satash Dhawan Space Center aboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle late last week. Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) manufactured the technology demonstration satellite. In their statement on the launch they said it “will demonstrate a low-cost video-from-orbit solution using Commercial-Off-The-Shelf technologies.” Related: Teen creates world’s lightest satellite and NASA is sending it to space An Ultra High Definition camera on CARBONITE-2 can snap high-resolution images and capture up to two minutes of video. The satellite weighs around 220 pounds, and it will orbit 314 miles, above the planet, moving at around 4.3 miles a second. European Space Agency Earth Observation Programs director Josef Aschbacher said in a statement, “The launch of VividX2 is a significant next development of Earth-i’s constellation, and welcomed by ESA. The Vivid-i Constellation will provide capabilities we haven’t seen before including full-color video, and an assured stream of high-quality data from space to help improve both our planet and lives on Earth.” The company said such images and videos could help governments or businesses monitor assets, track activities or changes, and even “predict future events with more certainty.” Earth-i has already ordered the next five satellites for Vivid-i from SSTL. Via Engadget , Earth-i , and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited Images via SSTL/Beaucroft Photography

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New satellite paves the way for full-color, full-motion video from space

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