Sea Stone Project recycles seashells into mirrors and vases

December 6, 2021 by  
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Every year around seven million tons of seashells are tossed out from aquaculture and fishing industries. Although shells are a natural material, when they are stacked in discard piles, they emit odors and are unpleasant to look at. While some industries such as fertilizer producers tap into this material, Studio newtab-22’s Hyein Choi and Jihee Moon saw the potential for this industry waste in the form of art and interior design products.  Called the Sea Stone Project, newtab-22 has developed a process to grind the seashells into a powder. From there, they add other natural materials such as sand and mineral soil. They complete this process manually to avoid the use of heat, electricity and chemical treatments for a more sustainable process and end product. In its final form, the Sea Stone Project provides a material that is solid and durable like ceramic or porcelain, with a look similar to stone or concrete materials.  Related: Artist 3D-prints biodegradable agar floral lamps Moon and Choi became interested in the material after discovering that the majority of seashell waste was being dumped into landfills or piled near the water’s edge. This is creating a dirty pile that continues to grow without a focus on cleanup efforts to remove it. With a makeup of 90% calcium carbonate, the material is similar to natural limestone, so the designers decided to use it in a similar way.  In addition to producing the environmentally-friendly and sustainable Sea Stone, the project means reducing waste disposal costs and preventing marine pollution . Of course, it also means recycling a natural material into a usable and valuable product.  The finished product can be compared to terrazzo in that each piece has a unique look that varies in particle size and color. No two pieces look identical, resulting in a natural aesthetic. The resulting decorative tiles have been used at a small scale for interior design products such as mirrors, vases and candle holders.  “We are interested in natural, new or overlooked materials,” stated Studio newtab-22 in a press release. “We seek the beneficial and intriguing properties of the materials , trying to bring them into modern life with our design. We aim to critically bring sustainability into society with the outcome of our work. We suggest the possibilities for today and tomorrow, facilitating innovative experiments while following the aesthetically pleasing aspect of nature itself.” + Studio newtab-22  Images via Studio newtab-22 

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Sea Stone Project recycles seashells into mirrors and vases

What will homes in the future look like?

December 1, 2021 by  
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Years and years later into the future, what will homes look like? What would a home look like for people living on Mars? GoodMove and CK Architectural have teamed up to answer these questions. Four different scenarios were considered paired with four different home designs that could become a reality in the not-so-distant future. Using 3D design techniques and years of experience in housing and home design, it’s possible to look into the future and find out how humans might be living decades from now. Related: Virtual pavilion looks into the future of sustainable design “It’s inevitable that our homes are going to adapt and change along with our needs and lifestyles,” said Nima Ghasri, director at GoodMove. “Therefore, we thought it might be interesting to visualize some possibilities and showcase how our homes might look like depending on various future scenarios ranging all the way from an apocalyptic bunker to living on an entirely different planet .” Apocalyptic home If the movies have taught us anything, it’s that apocalyptic fallout is absolutely possible. And if movies have taught us anything, it’s going to involve a whole lot of rubble. And walking. Walking everywhere. But what about the housing in such end times? The home would likely be underground, which makes lighting the home a bit of a challenge. Hatch-style windows and domes are one solution. External vents and tubes will also be used to provide airflow inside the home. Mirrors could be strategically placed to direct and increase the light in the home. Life on Mars How about living on Mars ? In this scenario, part of the home would be underground to protect people inside from the harsh alien environment. Bubble domes will add layers around the home and offer protection. Solar panels outside will provide electricity, while farms inside the domes will provide food. Everything would be made with heavy-duty plastic or glass and titanium. Living on water And in a situation where water is taking over the world in an uncontrollable way, homes will be made with glass or plastic that can hold up pressure and deep water. A dome shape will withstand the pressures of water. Hover home Forget about flying cars. How about a home that hovers in the future? Imagine a drone , but bigger. Giant propellers create airflow to keep the home aloft. And that’s already a super cool design feature. Now imagine sleek good looks and futuristic styling. This is what the future might look like. + GoodMove and CK Architectural Images via GoodMove and CK Architectural

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What will homes in the future look like?

MVMT releases new bracelet made from recycled ocean plastic

November 30, 2021 by  
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In the fight against pollution and environmental waste, there are many levels of similarly-minded people in government, nonprofit, for-profit and community all working towards the same goals. So it makes sense that a name like Surfrider is a perfect match with #Tide Ocean and the fashion company MVMT.  MVMT is an accessories company that’s on an environmental mission. They started in 2013 with the support of a crowdfunding campaign that highlighted the support of consumers looking for eco-friendly products . MVMT released a minimalist-style wristwatch that is solar powered and features a case, strap and buckle made entirely from reclaimed ocean plastic pollution.  Related: Get your vegan jewelry fix with KEVA’s cactus leather line The watch was made possible through a partnership with Swiss-based nonprofit #Tide. Well established with a complete supply chain in place, #Tide upcycles ocean waste into a material many businesses have discovered and incorporated into their products. #Tide starts at the source by training fishermen to collect and properly sort plastic from the waterways of Southeast Asia. With its Swiss partners, #Tide then converts that ocean plastic into a usable plastic material for manufacturers, completing a closed circle of recycling that avoids the need for virgin materials.  On the heels of a successful launch of the watch, MVMT partnered with another notable organization with a central focus on cleaning and protecting the planet’s water: Surfrider. The result is a slim, sleek rope bracelet that makes a subtle statement about the state of the ocean without sacrificing anything in the name of fashion. The Upcycled Rope Bracelet is the newest release by MVMT and represents the company’s mission to provide quality minimalist designs that speak to the consumer and support the planet. “When the design team discovered #Tide Ocean material, a company that repurposes ocean bound plastic and supports local coastal communities, we felt inspired to create a chic piece of jewelry: a wearable reminder to all to do our part in caring for our oceans,” said V.P. of Product and Design Thomas Moran. “Living in California, the ocean is a powerful and life-giving character in our lives. This design is inspired by nautical hardware and the function, durability and utility needed for life in or around the water .”  The Upcycled Rope Bracelet features a simple rope design that is easily adjustable and available in six color options. It’s made entirely of recaptured ocean plastic through the partnership with #Tide Ocean. One percent of all revenue from both the watch and the bracelet is donated to the Surfrider Foundation. The company is also part of 1% for the Planet. Surfrider is a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the world’s ocean, beaches and waves through a variety of initiatives. Not only does it aim to reduce the impact of plastic on the marine environment , but Surfrider also defends from threats to the ecosystem and works with community decision makers to ensure beach access is open and accessible to all. It is also involved in protection of the coastline, working to ensure safe and clean water for animals and humans. Personal Review MVMT offered a sample bracelet so I could get a closer look and share my thoughts. They provided a green/gunmetal color combo as well as a black. The shipment arrived quickly and the boxes are paper-based . I was disappointed to open the box and see a foam insert, but discovered it’s actually a BLOOM algae-based product. BLOOM is the same brand that has provided materials for a range of products, from shoes to surfboards, in an effort to meet the needs of eco-conscious companies moving away from petroleum-based plastics. Back to the packaging, MVMT uses water-based glues and inks to round out the thoughtful design.  The bracelets are simple as promised. Yet, they speak of quality. The detail work in the metal adds contrast to the rope . Rather than the typical material you might see at the end of a hoodie drawstring or shoelace, these connecting pieces appear to be extremely durable. I see no chance of cracking, breaking or peeling. Where the rope meets to complete the circle, the main detail is also a circle (like an O for ocean) with solid connections.  The rope material has the slightest amount of give, so it moves with you while you’re wearing it. My favorite feature is the adjustability. The mechanism slides smoothly and freely, yet remains in place once cinched down to size. This aspect of the design really speaks to the quality of the piece.  Jewelry and accessories are a subjective thing. What appeals to one person may not to another. But for me, these bracelets offer a subtle accessory that makes a bold statement about the environment. Those are two things I’m happy to adorn my wrist with. + MVMT  Images via MVMT Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by MVMT. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own. 

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MVMT releases new bracelet made from recycled ocean plastic

New riverside development in China will be an urban renewal

November 30, 2021 by  
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Architects VenhoevenCS have won a major riverside redevelopment in Shenzhen, China . They hope to protect large areas of land from flooding while also creating a vibrant new urban identity for the Bao’an district. The Pailao River Blueway Project constitutes a new biodiverse landscape along the central Pailoa River, an area under rapid urban development where rainfall intensity is increasing. Architects are using this project to design with the water instead of against it. It includes elements such as ponds, green roofs, urban farming plots, wetlands and soft banks, contributing to a natural sponge effect to absorb excess water from the river . Related: 100-year-old railway yard turned into a green space VenhoevenCS also has their sights set on integrating urban regeneration in the area. They have planned cultural and social spaces, including pavilions and parks for cyclists and pedestrians. The design illustrates their nature-inclusive approach, reshaping how humans and the natural environment interact in designed environments. With experience designing for climate change induced water issues in the Netherlands, VenhoevenCS Architects approached similar conditions currently affecting the subtropical Bao’an Water District in the same way. To redesign the waterway, the team created something called The Blueway Project, which takes into account the landscape far beyond the immediate area. A surrounding network of rivers flows to the sea through denseurban areas. The Blueway Project looked at the urban spaces, re-greening of surrounding natural areas and the flow of the rivers to design a space that holds room for nature. It will have fewer cars moving through the area, so less pavement and parking, but still allows Bao’an to be accessible with mobility hubs and public transportation and a way through for local traffic. The concrete quays of the Pailao River will be replaced by wide, soft banks that absorb water naturally. Various parks will punctuate the riverfront and create space for pedestrians. Bridges for traffic now feature new meeting places and public spaces for gatherings underneath the viaducts. Water levels may ebb and flow here, so pavilions for public gatherings are designed on stilts to accommodate changing conditions. + VenhoevenCS Architects Images via Shenzhen Hope Design Co., Ltd.

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New riverside development in China will be an urban renewal

Innovative i-Mesh fabric takes shape at Expo 2020 Dubai

November 25, 2021 by  
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The construction and textiles industries are two of the most targeted industries for creating waste, toxins and carbon emissions. Innovation in both industries move towards a more environmentally-friendly and sustainable focus. Recently unveiled at Expo 2020 Dubai, i-Mesh is an artistic and creative approach to dealing with hot climates like in the Middle East. i-Mesh is a lightweight, breathable material made in Italy. The new fabric is a product of a start-up company by the same name. For the Dubai Expo , designer Werner Sobek used the material to build an eye-catching and functional canopy that creates a screen between the ground and the sky in the primary walkways of the Expo.  Related: Reclaimed wood raft features an origami paper canopy  Although a textile , it’s being dubbed with the moniker of soft architecture. Stronger than typical fabrics, it will stand up to sun, wind and even sandstorms. The structure at Expo 2020 Dubai is the largest retractable canopy ever built thanks to the innovative i-Mesh material .  “The Dubai Shade Structures perfectly embody the combination of lightweight construction, innovation and design that we seek out in all our projects,” Werner Sobek said.  While i-Mesh allows natural light to filter through during the day, it reflects the heat to offer a reprieve on hot days. At night, the fabric transforms into a projection screen by illuminating distinctive patterns on the material called mashrabiya, a latticework traditionally used in the architecture of Arab countries.  Developed as an architectural material designed to meet a variety of weather-related conditions, i-Mesh’s mission is to provide customizability and minimal waste . The production method limits cutoff waste to 3% compared to the standard textile waste of 25%. The company reports i-Mesh can be removed, stored and reinstalled endlessly, for an advantage over disposable materials. At the end of the life, however, the material is recyclable. According to the website, “The material is made of just two components: fiber and resin. The resin has a thermoplastic origin, therefore both components can be separated and reused.”  This is the first time that a start-up has been awarded an order in Expo project. + Werner Sobek Images via Werner Sobek

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Innovative i-Mesh fabric takes shape at Expo 2020 Dubai

100-year-old railway yard turned into a green space

November 24, 2021 by  
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Parco Romana is an urban-scale redevelopment project in Milan ’s Porta Romana district. The international team behind it includes OUTCOMIST, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, PLP Architecture, Carlo Ratti Associati and Arup. They have just won a competition with its design, beating out 46 other teams representing nearly 330 studios. The Parco Romana design reinterprets a 100-year-old railway yard. It pulls together an urban space that was split by the railyard, reconnecting surrounding neighborhoods with a mixed-use district . Related: Forest Pavilion blends nature with residential development Parco Romana will revolve around a central Great Park, which creates an accessible and multifunctional green space for the neighborhood. The Suspended Forest, a linear elevated greenway to be built on existing railway infrastructure, will feature hundreds of trees overhanging walking paths. A wetland and woodland integrated with community gardens will run alongside the tracks at ground level. The selected team is collaborating with Gross.Max, Nigel Dunnett Studio and LAND for landscape design , Systematica for mobility, Studio Zoppini and Aecom for Olympics Advisory, Artelia on technical advisory and Portland Design for brand and story development. A consortium, including COIMA, Covivio and Prada Holding will develop the park. At the western edge, a mixed-use residential district will temporarily house athletes for the Milan 2026 Winter Olympics . After the Olympics, it will be adapted into a permanent multi-generational residential community. This area also houses a major public plaza with spaces for outdoor exercise, food trucks, co-working and public events. “Parco Romana brings the latest thinking about the 15-minute city to Milan, aiming to provide everything needed for daily life within a short walk from the district’s living and working environments,” said Carlo Ratti Associati. “A focus on pedestrians and cycling minimizes reliance on automobiles and activates new paths to and through the site, forming corridors integrated with new public plazas that act as natural gathering places at the intersection of major pedestrian routes.” Parco Romana will build its community around the values of decarbonization, climate adaption, resilient communities, health and wellbeing, circular economy and biodiversity. The design will make full use of low-carbon construction and renewable energy . + Carlo Ratti Associati Images via Carlo Ratti Associati

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Cariuma teams up with Mike Vallely for 100% vegan shoes

November 16, 2021 by  
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In a partnership between lovers of nature, shoe brand Cariuma has coordinated with Mike Vallely, a legend in the skateboarding world, to develop a 100% vegan shoe that pairs well with a skateboard, a night on the town and at a PETA gathering. Cariuma isn’t new to sustainable materials, but is excited to expand their offerings to include the Mike Vallely x Cariuma sneaker. It represents the first product rolled out with the newest addition vegan suede. According to the company, the high-performance material is, “Tough like [Vallely]. This innovative material is 2.7X more resistant than animal suede, and was formulated and developed to create stellar performance and durability.” Related: Sylven New York has vegan shoes made from apples In an industry plagued with headlines around dirty manufacturing and long-term post-consumer waste , the Mike Vallely x Cariuma sneaker offers an earth and animal friendly option.  Although it clearly has feet on the ground in its concern for the environment , Cariuma didn’t stop at dabbling in environmentally-friendly materials here and there. In fact, they’ve recently achieved B-Corp certification, a process that ensures a dedication to the planet at every step of material selection, production and sales. The company reports being the first skate shoe company to earn B-Corp certification. Tuning into the stylish trends Vallely has influenced throughout his career, the contrasting materials and details on the skate shoe mirrors his not-so-subtle style on the board and in front of the mic as lead vocalist for the band Black Flag.  “The must-have for this shoe was for it to be free of animal-based materials yet still be tough and long-lasting,” said Vallely. “We’ve sourced some excellent materials for this shoe, namely vegan suede and recycled nylon that make the shoe strong, light and give it a reduced carbon footprint.” Durability was an important aspect of the design in an effort to ensure a long and useful life, even standing up to the elements on the street. But the team was able to maintain the longevity quotient in conjunction with a recycled mesh lining and rec y cled webbing, featuring a natural rubber -reinforced outsole.  The shoe also features a plant-based insole made with Mamona oil. The laces, threads and labels are all made from recycled materials. These combined efforts are leading the shoe for Oeko-Tex standard 100 certification. + Cariuma Images via Cariuma

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Cariuma teams up with Mike Vallely for 100% vegan shoes

Aeon is a point between two worlds

November 15, 2021 by  
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From the steel door entrance, to the soft lines, to the stark contrast in the interior design , Aeon is all about embracing and breaking boundaries.  The two buildings that make up Aeon, a hotel and wellness center, repeatedly return to the theme of connected, yet separated. The architects at noa* network of architecture describe the balance as a place “where two worlds meet. Between past and future, between dream and reality, between inside and outside: noa* makes the invisible lines visible, which become part of the full picture and, above all, instead of a separation, a connection between two worlds.” Related: French wood house builds a connection with its environment Aeon sits nestled in the Italian countryside, surrounded by views from the Sciliar, to the Rittner Horn, to the Merano Alps and the Dolomites. The 500 year old farmhouse, inn and barn served as inspiration for the project. In honor of the site’s history, the team focused on minimal site impact with an artificially-created hill that essentially creates an underground connecting tunnel. More visible is a stone above-ground walkway between the two structures.  The layouts and exterior look of the buildings nod to the past as well. “The creation of an ambivalent tension between the centuries-old tradition of the rural complex and an exclusively modern statement was the basic principle underlying the design process,” explained Architect Christian Rottensteiner. The team emphasized the importance of keeping the green surroundings instead of consuming it with architecture. One building houses a public gathering area that includes a restaurant , bar and wellness area. The other building is a hotel with 15 guest suites and between the two is a courtyard. The primary building material was wood sourced from trees on the property. They feature gabled roofs and a striking façade design that appears different from each angle of approach. Uniquely-shaped trapezoid windows offer eye-catching visual appeal, providing natural light throughout the space. Once inside the buildings , the interior design elements take center stage with a stunning use of contrasting blue and creamy white coloring that shifts at eye level. It’s a clear defining line that offers an atmosphere of mystery yet familiarity. “The past has grown like stone, wood and nature,” said Interior Designer Patrick Gürtler about the color choices. “The future, on the other hand, is veiled, mysterious and artificial (i.e. it is intangible like the sky, the night or the ocean). In between is the moment, a sharp, unconditional break, but also a point of contact.” This idea of breaking away while staying connected is seen in the transition when the blue and cream colors flip between the wellness area and the other public spaces.  “We have carefully chosen the fabrics , woods and colors that play both with and against each other at the same time,” added Gürtler. + noa* network of architecture  Photography by Alex Filz and Andrea Dal Negro

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Aeon is a point between two worlds

Apartment complex celebrates 360 views of the Swiss Alps

November 12, 2021 by  
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Through an architectural competition, Apropos Architects were selected by a Swiss family wanting to reconstruct a family home. The family was inspired by the potential to create a larger, energy-efficient residence with five apartments. The construction was both shaped by and designed for the stunning alpine setting . The remarkable building looks out on fertile lowland location within the Swiss canton of Sargans set against the steep alpine peaks. The rooms are orientated to take advantage of the varied views. The design of the house is cut just as a carved stone, with different surfaces of the facades defined in unique plaster surfaces that emphasize the play of light and shadow. Related: Dome-Dotted Whitepod Eco Resort is a Winter Wonderland in the Swiss Alps Found in the local mountains, Verrucano-Schiefer stone has pinkish tone, which influences the choice materials of the façade and interior spaces.  The cement plaster façade with the stone allows the color of the house to change to suit the daylight conditions from mellow grey at dawn to pink-tinted at sunset. It was designed to respect sustainability and ecology , with plenty of natural light filling all the living spaces. As soon as you enter each apartment, a view of the surrounding landscape opens up. The main living room link all the other spaces to maximize the usable floor space. Apropos specified several measures to meet the Swiss ecological standard “ Minergie ,” including external insulation, wood-aluminum windows and a ground source heat pump . The pump is the main energy source and is powered, when possible, by solar energy. Gains from this energy source are used in the building or sold back to the public network. Fresh air is supplied from the roof level and is distributed to individual apartments via a heat exchanger in vertical shafts.  In summer , outdoor screen shades protect against overheating. Installation boxes for exterior shading are hidden in thermally-insulated facades and plastered. To make it earthquake-safe, the construction includes: supportive pillars into the bearing layer of the subsoil to a depth of 16 to 20 meters, waterproof concrete for the lower sections and vertical load-bearing structures and ceilings from monolithic reinforced concrete. As the previous residents and owner have, they open up their own living space to share with others. The tenants of the house were chosen directly by them, in some cases old friends or relatives. Due to the new and old relationships, the house functions as one large organism. Despite having plenty of private space , residents often like to meet, talk or hold events in the shared garden.  The common areas feature durable and valuable materials such as black steel, exposed concrete and terrazzo flooring. Finishes are kept intentionally raw . The materialization reflects the investor’s family traditions together with the context of the local metal industry. Each apartment is sensitively connected to nature via access to a garden or a private terrace. A terrace all around its perimeter and a whirlpool bath on the roof afford the lucky dwellers breathtaking views of all surrounding mountain peaks.  + Apropos Architects Photography by Alex Shoots Buildings

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Apartment complex celebrates 360 views of the Swiss Alps

Park and Polk is a mixed-use building shaped like an H

November 8, 2021 by  
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San Diego , California is the site of a new mixed-use building, located between the Hillcrest and University Heights parts of town at a site that sat barren and empty for ten years. Developed by Jonathan Segal Architect, the building is known as Park and Polk. Park and Polk features 43 residential rental units, seven office studios, ground-floor retail spaces and four low-income units. In contrast to most buildings that offer low-income housing , there was no government support during the build. Instead, Jonathan Segal, being both the architect and developer of the project, absorbed all the costs upfront.  Related: Designing sustainable habitats at the San Diego Zoo The space is a hub of varied activities and the infrastructure supports them all. Public spaces encourage mingling between office, retail and apartment residents. The rooftop features a large common area to prepare and BBQ food while taking in expansive views of the surrounding city. Huge concrete planters house native grasses and large olive trees that filter rainwater.  The overall shape of the building makes an “H” shape, a choice that allows natural light to fill each of the spaces inside. The copious windows also pairs indoor life with exterior views. Passive design elements provide natural ventilation, but the primary energy needs are fully offset by a solar panel system on the rooftop. Individual units also offer outdoor space with decks that allow for views while maintaining privacy. On the ground floor along Park Boulevard, trees line the street where the transition to the glazed commercial area, offering protected seating.  “The western elevation has thin delicate fins that provide lighting and heat control ,” stated in a press release from Jonathan Segal. “When traveling up and down Park Boulevard, the articulating façade is rhythmically changing. Light romantically defines different shadows as the sun passes and the form, which can appear as a solid mass, breaks apart into the individual linear elements. The fins, modeled off of vintage car grilles, were delicately cast in place and taper from only three inches at the face to six inches where they bite into the slab cantilevering off of the building.” + Jonathan Segal Architect Photography by Matthew Segal and Jeff Durkin

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