Artist converts old city bus into public swimming pool

September 12, 2019 by  
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As the the last vestiges of summer are upon us, the residents of one French region can still squeeze out a little summer fun thanks to French artist Benedetto Bufalino . The artist, who is known for converting old automobiles into fun and functional objects, has recently presented the northern French region of Artois with a new public swimming pool , converted out of an old bus. Accommodating up to ten swimmers at a time, The Bus Pool offers locals a respite from late summer heat. The installation is part of a local program, “operation odyssey”, which hosts various events throughout the summer to attract visitors to the area of the Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin, an UNESCO World Heritage site . The pool was unveiled in late August and will be installed in three local towns until it finds a permanent home. Related: This 18th-century London townhouse hides a swimming pool under a glass floor Adding to his portfolio of transforming discarded vehicles into something fun and useful, the artist salvaged an old Tadeo model bus from the local transport graveyard. Once he completely gutted the interior seats and flooring, the next step was removing an entire side panel. Tipping it over onto its side, he then retrofitted the interior body of the bus with a custom shell so that it would be able to hold water. The finished product is a colorful swimming pool that measures almost 30 feet long and almost 8 feet wide. The pool holds up to 10 swimmers at a time and even boats a lifeguard station at one end. Water temps are kept at around 82 degrees at the swimming pool . The Bus Pool is the latest addition to Bufalino’s long portfolio of public art installations. In 2016, the French artist turned an old cement truck into a giant disco ball . + Benedetto Bufalino Via Designboom Drone photography by Romain Hayem

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Artist converts old city bus into public swimming pool

Engineers invent origami-inspired self-watering pots that are made from 100% recycled materials

August 26, 2019 by  
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The summer months are a wonderful time to go exploring unknown parts of the world, but traveling for weeks on end means certain death for most house plants, until now. A team of plant-loving engineers have designed an innovative self-watering plant pot. POTR Pots are flat pack plant pots designed to self-water plants and are made from 100% recycled materials . POTR Pots were invented by Scottish designers, Andrew Flynn and Martin Keane, who happen to also be serious plant lovers. According to Flynn and Keane, who have just recently kicked off a Kickstarter campaign featuring their innovative design, the prototype is the plant pot for the 21st century. Related: Recycling can get kids free books in southern Italy The team embarked on their invention by creating an eco-friendly design using 100% recycled materials, which can be recycled at the end of the pots’ life span. All of the materials used in the design, mainly recycled polypropylene , were sourced from nearby locations to reduce the project’s overall carbon footprint. Using recycled polypropylene means that the pots are not only eco-friendly , but incredibly flexible and durable. The pots won’t break into a million bits like regular clay pots if dropped. Additionally, the material allows for folding origami hinges , which enable the product to be flat-packed. To open the pots, just pull on the Bobbiny recycled cotton cord and the pot is ready for use. Before adding in the plant itself, two ends of the cord must be looped under the inner pot stand and  inserted into the plant’s soil. The cotton cord allows the plant to suck up water when thirsty. Besides being incredibly practical and user-friendly, the pots, which come in various sizes, are incredibly eco-friendly. According to the designers, the POTR pots have almost 100 times less CO2 than clay or concrete plant pots, due to the use of recycled materials as well as the flat-pack design which reduces transport costs. + POTR Pots Via BBC Images via POTR Pots

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Engineers invent origami-inspired self-watering pots that are made from 100% recycled materials

Energy-efficient home in Whitefish was inspired by the region’s agrarian vernacular

July 29, 2019 by  
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Whitefish, Montana is known for its spectacular natural scenery, and now a family of four has a beautiful new home that reflects the region. Using an existing barn as inspiration, CTA Group designed the Railway Residence, an impressive, 3,500-square-foot energy-efficient home, to frame the surrounding views from virtually any angle. Tucked into an idyllic landscape of 4.5 acres in the eastern outskirts of Whitefish, Montana, the Railway Residence is surrounded by the mountain ranges to the north and east, connected by the historic Great Northern Railroad, which was inspiration for the home’s name. This amazing, natural setting set the tone for the design, both in its aesthetic and its energy performance. Related: A modern, energy-efficient home is built around a beloved madrone tree From a distance, the barn-like gabled roof and extension pay homage to the agrarian vernacular architecture found throughout the region. But the traditional volume conceals a savvy blend of contemporary features that create a soothing, sophisticated home with an impressive number of energy-efficient features. Clad in light-hued cedar siding, the wooden exterior is a nod to the wooded areas that surround the home. This pleasing envelope contains a strategic, energy-saving profile including ultra tight insulation that provides a 50 percent improvement over code minimums. Additionally, the use of prefabricated wood trusses allowed the structure to be sealed and insulated as well as naturally ventilated. Adding to the tight thermal envelope, the home was also installed with an abundance of high performance glass doors and triple-pane windows. The interior spaces are divided into four spaces arranged around a central glass walkway. The social areas, including a spacious living area, home office and music studio along with a garage and storage, are located on one side, while the private sleeping areas are on the other. The interior design, comprised of no-fuss, sophisticated furnishings, was meant to put the focus on creating a comfortable, bright living space where the family could enjoy the incredible views from anywhere in the home. The concrete flooring was installed with radiant in-floor heating that’s paired with a heat recovery ventilator to significantly reduce energy usage, especially in the chilly Montana winters. Bright windows placed underneath the many roof eaves allow natural light inside while the eaves provide shade from solar gain in the hot summer months. Adjacent to the main home, a separate barn, original to the site, was restored and is now a backdrop for the homeowner’s photography business. + CTA Group Photography by Gibeon Photography via CTA Group

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Energy-efficient home in Whitefish was inspired by the region’s agrarian vernacular

Steel-framed treehouse slated for Malaysian national park

July 19, 2019 by  
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Visitors to the Taman Tugu National Forest Park in Kuala Lumpur will soon have a playful steel observation tower to take in the immense tropical forest. Designed by Daniel Tiong, Nature’s Catalog consists of three cubed steel frames which interlock vertically to create multiple level, open-air platforms that rise up to through the tree canopy. Recently named the winner of the Greenovation Gazebo Design Competition, the Nature’s Catalog design will be installed along a newly opened forest trail in Malaysia’s National Forest Park, Taman Tugu. The location is an idyllic tropical stetting where hikers on the trail will be soon able to enjoy the beautiful views from the tree canopies. Related: Awesome two-story treehouse is half jungle gym and all childhood dream come true The observation tower is comprised of three steel cube-like framed with open sides, creating a series of open-air platforms that rise up vertically from the ground. To get to the structure, a roped off trail leads from the hiking path. A perforated split staircase leads visitors to the first level platform, which then rises up through the middle platform. There, a sunken courtyard provides a nice space for large groups. A fun cat ladder leads up to the top of the observation deck , allowing for prime views of the lush tropical landscape. The multiple platforms were all purposely laid out in tight configurations, and at differing heights, creating private reading or contemplation spaces, open terraces, as well as courtyards, reading areas, a meditation room, etc. Additionally, the tower’s platforms are made out of perforated panels so that the forest trees and vines can grow unobstructed through the slats over time. Due to the natural, remote location, all of the building materials, which are minimal apart from the steel frames themselves, will be delivered by hand and assembled on site in order to reduce impact on the existing landscape. + Daniel Tiong Photography by Steven Ngu Ngie Woon, Daniel Tiong

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Steel-framed treehouse slated for Malaysian national park

Custom camper van lets nomads immerse themselves in infinite adventures

July 17, 2019 by  
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Although Calgary-based Yama Nomad  claims that its cool camper vans are “Not your mom and dad’s RV,” its custom-made tiny homes on wheels are perfect for anyone needing a little adventure in their lives. The latest model, the Christopher Wallace, is a 2018 Mercedes Sprinter van with a sleek black facade and an amazingly functional and comfortable interior. Yama Nomad builds custom van homes to rent or buy, but if you have the dough, splashing out on their incredible Christoper “land yacht” model would just about guarantee a lifetime of adventure. Related: This camper van features not just one, but two sleeping pods in its cozy interior The 2018 Mercedes Sprinter van conversion features a 170” wheelbase that provides enough room for smooth and comfy tiny home living while the 4X4 is tough enough to take on or off the road. The cab area has two handmade leather seats that make those long journeys comfortable from the get-go. The main living space is comprised of a lounge/dining area, sofa area, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. Tiled floors, all-white walls, large windows and skylights create a modern, light-filled atmosphere . In the living area, a small sofa bench with a swivel table pulls triple duty for eating, working or simply lounging about and enjoying the views. Overhead cabinets and shelving allow for plenty of storage. The kitchen is equipped with all of the customary amenities, including a farmhouse sink with a pull-down faucet, a dual burner cook top and a refrigerator and freezer combo. Across the aisle, the compact bathroom features a shower with a removable showerhead and a composting toilet along with a small skylight. The bedroom is located at the back of the van and features a custom platform bed accessible via removable ladder. This small space is outfitted with plenty of storage as well as dimmable LED reading lights, and once again, a lovely overhead skylight. Of course, no adventure vehicle would be complete without storage for equipment. The back of the Christopher features a gear garage with enough space for two bicycles, snowboards, fishing gear, crash mats and more. A rooftop rack offers extra space for larger pieces, such as kayaks. The space also holds the 91-liter fresh and gray water tanks so that the converted RV is adventure-ready at every moment. + Yama Nomad Via Curbed Images via Yama Nomad

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Custom camper van lets nomads immerse themselves in infinite adventures

Impossible Foods tests a fish-less fish protein

July 17, 2019 by  
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The alternative protein industry is booming and even predicted to take over the animal-based meat market in the next two decades. Leading plant-based protein brand Impossible Foods recently announced it is experimenting with a fish-less seafood product and expects it to be on shelves soon. The company is best known for patties made from heme-based protein that have surged in popularity and are even available on the Burger King and White Castle menus. Impossible Foods is currently experimenting with using alternative and lab-grown proteins that can be genetically modified to have a seafood-like taste and texture thanks to the heme. Heme is made from fermenting a genetically modified yeast and then injecting it with genetic material from soy plants. Related: Cell-based meat could replicate and replace shrimp, lobster and crab So far, heme protein is the most successful because of its seafood-like flavor. Impossible Foods used it to make a broth that tasted like anchovies and was part of a paella recipe. Apparently, the results were excellent. The company’s mission is to eliminate meat from diets in order to save the environment from the devastating meat industry. Agriculture is responsible for 9 percent of all greenhouse gases , and 4 percent of that is directly from livestock. Impossible Foods’ plan is to have a replacement or alternative protein for every animal-based meat option available by 2035. Impossible Foods is not the first to experiment with a fish-less seafood product. In fact, Good Catch already has an alternative tuna product in Whole Foods, Wild Type has a salmon product grown in labs and Gardein offers fish-less filets at retailers like Kroger and Target. “The only way we can succeed is to make fish from plants that is more delicious than the fish that’s strip mined from the ocean,” Pat Brown, chief executive of Impossible Foods, said, highlighting the devastating impact that overfishing has on ocean ecosystems and fisheries . The United Nations estimates that 60 percent of the worlds fisheries are overfished. + Impossible Foods Via People Image via Impossible Foods

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Impossible Foods tests a fish-less fish protein

Experimental design-build festival takes over Californian desert

July 16, 2019 by  
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For the second year in a row, design lab Space Saloon has just wrapped up an exciting avant-garde art festival deep in the Southern Californian desert. Aimed to foster innovative design-build and hands-on education, the art festival , named Fieldworks, is an experimental outdoor campus where young artists can learn new techniques and showcase their groundbreaking designs. This year’s festival took place within the expansive desert landscape in the San Bernardino mountains between Joshua Tree, Palm Springs and Los Angeles. According to Space Saloon, the desert was the perfect place to host the open-air campus thanks to the wide open landscape that offers virtually no physical limits. Related: A magical field of solar-powered lights takes over a California landscape Like the first year’s event, Landing , Fieldworks was a week-long program where teams of students and designers live and work together, collaborating on site-specific installations that seek to question the relation between art and the environment. Led by Office Kovacs + Kyle May, Architect and MILLIØNS (Zeina Koreitem and John May), Fieldworks allowed students to attend various workshops that focus on subjects that differ from traditional techniques and processes in an attempt to broaden the students’ artistic horizons . The workshops showcase a range of experimental material, from coding exercises and sound mapping to performances and interactive installations. Using these workshops as guidance, the students developed new art projects, which could include any number of formats, including performances, videos, interactive coded programs, sound installations or immersive objects. One of the standout designs from this year’s event is DOTS, a pink and white framework with various connected platforms that could be used for an almost infinite number of interventions, especially as a flexible, temporary shelter . Another innovative project is Gymnasium 1, an outdoor communal bathing facility made completely out of hempcrete that aims to show that the carbon-negative material can be used in place of traditional concrete construction. The student projects from Fieldworks will be exhibited in Los Angeles in the fall. + Space Saloon Via Archdaily Images via Space Saloon

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Experimental design-build festival takes over Californian desert

Former restaurateurs convert an ancient bread oven building into a charming Airbnb cottage

July 11, 2019 by  
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Airbnb has any number of unique properties, but this luxurious cottage in an idyllic French village looks scrumptious enough to eat. Perhaps that’s because the luxury tiny home rental, now listed on Airbnb , was once an ancient bread cottage. Owner James Roeves and his wife renovated the old building with the utmost of care, recycling and incorporating reclaimed materials whenever possible to convert the structure into a boutique retreat. Located east of Toulouse, Vallée de Gijou is tucked into the region’s Haut Languedoc Park, an idyllic area comprised of rolling hills and lush forests. The area is perfect for those wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life while enjoying an authentic French agritourism experience . Related: This tiny Victorian cottage on a wildflower meadow belongs in a fairytale Formerly a structure used for its bread oven, the compact cottage has been renovated carefully to update its living space while retaining the structure’s original features. According to the owner, James Roeves, he and his wife renovated the structure, doing most of the work themselves. From the start of the adaptive reuse renovation, the project was focused on reclaiming as many materials from the original structure as possible. In the end, the bed, window sills, sideboards, shutters, bedroom floor tiles, wardrobe and front walls were all part of the original building. However, to bring the cottage into the 21st century, the process also required some modern touches. To keep the interior warm and cozy during the winter months, the structure is tightly insulated , and the windows are double-glazed to reduce heating costs. A bright, modern kitchen has all of the amenities a home chef could need. Beyond the kitchen, a comfortable living room features a sofa and chair along with a flat-screen television. This space also includes a small table that was made out of recovered wood planks . At the heart of the living area is a wood-burning Esse Bakeheart that has its own oven, a cooking plate and a grill that slides into the firebox for char-grilling. Of course, for those guests who prefer to leave their oven mitts at home, the owners are former restaurateurs who are happy to provide full catering prepared with fresh local produce. The rest of the home is just as lovely, with a spiral staircase leading up to a spacious bedroom. A queen-sized bed sits in the middle of the room, which has a spacious vaulted ceiling with exposed wooden beams for an extra dose of charm. + Converted Bread Oven Tiny Home Via Tiny House Talk Images via James Roeves

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Former restaurateurs convert an ancient bread oven building into a charming Airbnb cottage

France announces eco tax on plane tickets

July 11, 2019 by  
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The French government announced that it will roll out a tax on all international flights departing from France starting in 2020. The small tax will generate a predicted $200 million USD in revenue every year that the government will invest into cleaner transportation technology and infrastructure. Depending on the cost of the flight, the tax could cost anywhere from $1.70 to $20 USD per ticket. The eco tax will not apply to domestic flights within France nor flights arriving in the country from international origins. It will also exclude flights traveling to overseas territories still under French rule. A spokesperson from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) dismissed the utility of the tax, stating, “National taxes will do nothing to assist the aviation industry in its sustainability efforts.” Instead, the spokesperson, Anthony Concil, recommended national governments should help airline corporations invest in cleaner fuels and more advanced technology . In fact, shares in AirFrance, Ryan Air and EasyJet all went down after the announcement was made. Related: Airplanes’ contrail clouds are more harmful than their carbon emissions On the other side of the coin, environmental activists are somewhat content that the announcement is at least a step in the right direction and a nod to the role the transportation industry will have to play. According to Andrew Murphy from Brussels-based Transport and Environment, “This alone won’t do much, but at least it’s a recognition by the French government that more is required.” Germany, Italy and England already have similar eco taxes. In England, the additional fee can be up to $214 USD, and it generates a total of $3.7 billion USD annually. Other European countries are also looking to reverse a longstanding tax break for airline fuel that effectively subsidizes the industry’s use of fossil fuels and misses a significant opportunity for government tax revenue. Via AP News Image via BriYYZ

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Sustainable floating dairy farm in the Netherlands is home to 40 blissful bovines

July 9, 2019 by  
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Years of urban development in the harbor area of the Merwehaven in the Netherlands have led to decline of traditional trade in the area, especially in the agricultural sector. However, thanks to the Dutch firm, Goldsmith Company , the harbor is now home to a floating dairy farm that brings sustainably-sourced milk and dairy products to the locals. The Merwehaven area is a bustling port that drives most of the region’s economy. However, due to the ever-growing nautical presence, the agricultural sector in the area has been diminishing for years. With the addition of the floating farm, the locals are now able to appreciate locally-sourced, sustainable milk and other dairy products. Related: An Australian dairy farm is updated with solar-powered ‘grass-to-gate’ facilities According to the architects, the design of the floating farm is based on nautical principles. Built on three connected concrete pontoons and coming in at a whopping 21,527 square feet, the structure’s layout, structural principles and materials were carefully designed to enhance the farm’s buoyancy and stability. The production of fruits used to produce yogurt is found on the bottom floor, which is equipped with a rain and wastewater recycling system . The  upper factory floor houses the milk and yogurt processing, feeding system and manure handling and retail. The upper, open-air floor is where 40 blissful bovines live in a covered cow garden. The area is equipped with a manure cleaning robot, along with a milking robot. In fact, the garden boasts state-of-the-art systems that were strategic in enhancing the animals’ welfare , including as a series of green towers that ensure cooling. In addition to the animal-centered architecture and technology, the farm was also built on full-cycle sustainability principles . Urban waste flows are upgraded from residual product to create feed for the animals. Brewers grains, potato scraps and grass clippings from the nearby Feyenoord football stadium are used to create a daily feast for the bovines, who in return produce healthy sustainable milk to sell back into the local market. + Goldsmith Company Via Archdaily Photography by Ruben Dario Kleimeer

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Sustainable floating dairy farm in the Netherlands is home to 40 blissful bovines

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