Meet the artists creating sustainable artwork for Nespresso’s flagship cafes

April 7, 2021 by  
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Nespresso’s parent company, Nestlé, has certainly come under fire for things like bottling water in  California during historic droughts  and sourcing water  near Flint, Michigan  in the past. While the company attempts to offset the environmental impact of its coffee business via a recycling program, Nespresso will also highlight sustainability through art. Nespresso is bringing together four artists from New York, Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco to create sustainable works of art for its flagship cafes. The company has chosen an incredible group of local artists to showcase their work and inspire action. Pieces will be put on display in Nespresso cafe windows and will only use natural and/or sustainable materials. From  New York , sculpture artist and expert in reimagining discarded materials  Kim Markel  is creating a fully biodegradable and carbon-negative display. Markel’s award-winning “glow” collection uses reclaimed plastics to create functional objects like chairs and home decor with stunning sea glass-like translucent colors. Related: Psychedelic installation in NYC spotlights environmental issues with immersive art Tanya Aguiñiga  of  Los Angeles  is incorporating Nespresso’s coffee grounds into the boutique display, which will be the first work she and her studio partners have brought to life since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Raised in Tijuana, Mexico, Aguiñiga uses her artwork to inspire dialogues about identity, culture and gender, while also creating community. The artist’s style has helped museums and nonprofits throughout Mexico and the U.S. diversity their audiences. Miami -based  Morel Doucet  will be fusing his identity as a Haitian immigrant with his passions for environmental justice with a piece titled, “Paradise.” Doucet’s work focuses on ceramics, illustrations and prints to examine things like climate-gentrification, migration and displacement within Black diaspora communities. From  San Francisco ,  Joseph Alessio ‘s installation features Nespresso capsules and a variety of other recyclable items. The idea is to demonstrate the ability to create beautiful things while doing good work for the world at the same time. A typographic illustrator and animator, Alessio is also an accomplished art director and writer. Images via Nespresso

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Meet the artists creating sustainable artwork for Nespresso’s flagship cafes

Designer Lucas Couto joins Precious Plastic for recycling project

March 25, 2021 by  
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Lucas Couto, Senior Industrial Designer at EGGS Design in  Norway , is focused on turning plastic pollution into innovative recycled designs. The designer has teamed up with plastic recycling company Precious Plastic to help reveal the potential of plastic waste in the design space. According to Precious Plastic, the world produces about 300 million metric tons of new  plastic  each year. And since plastic has one of the slowest decomposition rates — close to 500 years — all of that waste has the potential to stick around for generations to come. The company is on a mission to show the world the opportunities of plastic waste, reduce the demand for virgin plastic and create a circular economy based around plastic recycling. Related: KALO’s PVC Bench is made from plastic waste and wood scraps Precious Plastic teaches everyday people how to create their own plastic  recycling  company and turns almost any type of plastic waste into large colorful sheets of new material that can be used to make different types of products (such as furniture and construction pieces). Upcycled plastic sheets come in a variety of colors based on the plastic products used in manufacturing. The community develops tools and machines that recycle plastic and share it with others around the world. Now, the company is collaborating with designer Lucas Couto on a project aimed at engaging the community in designing recycled plastic products. Over three weeks in July 2020, the Recycled Plastic Product series focused on challenges centered around different Precious Plastic Machines. Each week highlighted a different plastic recycling  technology : injection molding, beam extrusion and sheetpress. For example, a stool designed by Couto used extruded beams made from sheets of recycled plastic made up of four separate pieces that fit together. Another  stool  design helps to visualize the sheet press materials. After becoming inspired by the nursery pots around his home, the designer also created flower pots that highlighted the looks of mixed color injection molding while providing a product that would benefit from recyclability. + Lucas Couto Images via Lucas Couto

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Sustainable White Flower Hall designed for school in India

March 25, 2021 by  
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Thanks to New Delhi -based interior decor and architecture firm Envisage, the Mann School in Alipur has a new girl’s hostel featuring sustainable elements like all-natural thermal insulation and solar panels. The White Flower Hall girls dormitory boasts all the creature comforts to build a haven for the school’s female students, helping to make them feel at home during their studies. The firm, started by partners Meena Murthy Kakkar and Vishal Kakkar, specializes in projects from the design process to the building process. The hostel overlooks a central  courtyard  and features dormitory doors that are positioned to face inward toward central corridors to promote socialization and interaction between students. Related: The Akshar Foundation is creating sustainable schools to teach children important life skills Envisage chose to incorporate the main campus color scheme of red and gray for the design of the dormitory, which is located between the executive block and the senior academic wing of the school. Common activity zones, such as the computer lab and game rooms, are located nearby in the basement surrounding the courtyard and the  school  amphitheater. The ground floor houses grades one to four with shared bunk beds for smaller children, while bedroom windows are positioned to provide outdoor views, ensuring an abundance of natural light and ventilation. The building’s facade features  brick  made using local kilns to reduce the project’s carbon footprint, and the terrace houses solar panels to keep electricity costs low. Built in a location known for its severe monsoon season, the central courtyard aligns to the northwest and southeast to catch winds during substantial rain downpours and create proper ventilation. In addition to using locally sourced brick in the building’s construction, the design also features the mud phuska method for  natural insulation . This method combines compacted soil with hay to reduce the ingress of heat by nearly 70%. The property also includes various green spaces via gardens and outdoor terraces to highlight the importance of nature among students. + Envisage Images via Envisage

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Sustainable White Flower Hall designed for school in India

Award-winning school and community complex achieves Net Zero Emissions

March 19, 2021 by  
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Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools and Community Complex recently won a coveted honor in the sustainable design category from the 2020 Boston Society for Architecture Design Awards. The complex is the first in the state to gain both  Net Zero Emissions  and  LEED v4 Platinum  designations, and it uses 43% less energy than the average local school and 70% less than the average United States school. Composed of multiple green and open spaces as well as five  playgrounds  to accommodate K-5 and 6-8 students, the $159 million complex spans 270,000 square feet. Headed by William Rawn Associates and Architecture with Arrowstreet, the project includes facilities for an elementary school, middle school, administration, preschool, afterschool, library, pool, human services programs and a parking garage. Related: Modular Tree-House School concept connects kids with nature “The project successfully leverages many sustainable tools and strategies: geothermal wells, great expanses of photovoltaic on all of the roof real estate; the smart use of an urban site,” said the award jury for the Sustainable Design Awards . “In addition to the design team’s masterful design, the City of Cambridge deserves recognition for its investment in an ambitious project that sets the bar for future schools and libraries.” The project is 100% electric and welcomes both  students  and the public to help promote community fellowship. The buildings themselves are characterized by colorful ombre tones and large glass windows, while rooftops and facades are covered in 3,600 PV  solar panels . The library is composed almost entirely of floor-to-ceiling windows and wood, and there is over an acre of open outdoor space. Apart from the solar panels, exterior sustainability features include sunshades, bioswale bridges and a hand-pumped rain garden. Inside, an exposed water reuse system is on display for student educational purposes, as well as daylight controls and heating/cooling elements. + William Rawn Associates + Arrowstreet Photography by Robert Benson

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This Colombian modular home is surrounded by Monkeypod trees

February 10, 2021 by  
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Located in Valle del Cauca, Colombia , the Mon Paradis House is made up of two spacious modules connected by a wooden deck and center pergola. Colectivo Creativo Arquitectos designed this modular home to highlight circular economy principles and other concepts that the architecture firm already strives to embody, such as sustainable construction methods and materials. Apart from the series of massive monkeypod trees that protect the exterior of the home, the landscaping also features a verdant philodendron  garden . Additionally, the region in which the home was built is famous for its stunning sunsets; so stunning, in fact, that the modules are constructed especially to respect the original environment of the site and complement the existing landscape rather than impact it. Related: An indoor-outdoor home in Colombia is remodeled with local reclaimed wood One module exists as the main living space, with floor to ceiling windows, a kitchen and an adjoining side porch for lounging or entertaining. The large windows look out onto the swimming pool to the back and another grove of  native monkeypod trees  to the front. The neighboring module houses private sleeping quarters with a smaller deck near the pool. Both modules feature sustainable wood panels in their walls and ceiling. Meanwhile, the entire structure is slightly elevated off the ground to keep the land as undisturbed as possible.  Inside, the spaces are decorated with soft tones of light gray and beige, complemented by houseplants and  wooden  furniture. The square, clean-lined style of the outside continues inside as well through simple, straightforward design choices. Every area of the home lets natural materials shine. In the center of the two modules sits the flowering plants garden and enough room for an outdoor furniture space where inhabitants can fully embrace the mountain views in the distance. This center terrace’s pergola makes use of black anodized  aluminum , a highly sustainable and recyclable material.  + Colectivo Creativo Arquitectos Via ArchDaily Photography by Andres Valbuena

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This Colombian modular home is surrounded by Monkeypod trees

Stockholm offices repurposed into apartments with green roof

February 9, 2021 by  
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When it comes to sustainability,  reusing  something that already exists is usually better than creating something new. The same goes for architecture, a fact that a local Stockholm firm exemplified with its newly unveiled project, which turned a 1990s office building into a series of apartments with a green roof. Dubbed “Vintertullstorget,” the project was able to preserve the existing concrete  structure rather than knocking it down and starting from scratch, reducing the need for excessive construction materials and labor. Instead, they chose to remodel the building and add three new stories, a first-level grocery store and a parking garage meant for both cars and bicycles. Related: A disused factory becomes an office with a landscaped bamboo roof terrace The result was a transformed building with 77 new apartments. The green roof combines wood, grass and plants to create a hidden oasis for residents. Inside, the main lobby hallway highlights black and white tiles and ample lighting with glass entrance doors. Individual apartments feature a shared portion of the wrap-around outdoor balcony as well as spacious, dark  marble  bathrooms, massive windows and a full kitchen. To give residents a better view, the balconies face a green courtyard. The exterior is painted in neutral shades of beige and dark gray, though the unique shape of the cascading  terraces  and windows helps give it a contemporary look. According to the architects, they responded to challenges from the recent coronavirus pandemic by allowing future residents to influence designers with custom features for individual apartments.  The project also  recycled  existing elements of the building. Designers found ways to disassemble and reuse marble from the tiles, iron from the railings, glass from the doors and lighting fixtures in multiple applications throughout construction. Apart from the repurposed character of the project, however, the sustainability aspect is most apparent in the building’s green roof; it works as an outdoor space, but also as a rainwater buffer for the building.  + Urban Couture Arkitekter Photography by Johan Fowelin

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Himalayan glacier breaks off in India, causing a deadly avalanche

February 9, 2021 by  
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An intense rescue mission has been underway in India since Sunday morning, following the break of a Himalayan glacier. The glacial breakoff triggered an avalanche of mud, water and rock debris that swept away a hydroelectric dam. At the time of writing, 26 people had died with at least 171 more people still missing. The disaster started at about 10:45 a.m. local time, when part of the Nanda Devi glacier broke away from a fragile area of Uttarakhand, the northern India state that borders China and Nepal. The region is known to be prone to landslides and flooding , a situation that has caused environmentalists to warn against development there. Related: Global warming will melt over 1/3 of the Himalayan ice cap by 2100 Those who witnessed the event from across the valley say that it happened in a flash. “It came very fast. There was no time to alert anyone,” Sanjay Singh Rana, an eye witness, told Reuters . “I felt that even we would be swept away.” It is believed that of the nearly 200 missing individuals, most were workers at the dam. According to the Uttarakhand state chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, the number of those reported missing could rise as more information is gathered. Additionally, 180 sheep washed away in the avalanche. It is still not clear why the glacier broke, especially when northern India is still experiencing winter. Global warming has increased ice melt in the Himalayas, but the region is still typically quite cold this time of year. The split glacier was part of the Nanda Devi peak at an altitude of 25,643 feet. The mountain is revered in India, with its name translated to mean the blessed goddess. Some locals even worship the mountain. Currently, the national park surrounding the peak, Nanda Devi National Park, is listed as an  UNESCO  World Heritage Site. Via NPR and Reuters Image via Avalok Sastri

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Dolmen Shelter renderings imagine stone-shaped guest rooms

January 18, 2021 by  
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Sibling team Davit and Mary Jilavyan have imagined a boutique  hotel  with stone-shaped guest rooms partially inspired by their housing complex in Moscow. The project, known as Dolmen Shelter, is a fictional rendering that the duo hopes to someday see brought to fruition by their friends in the building industry. The hotel measures from 35 square meters to 55 square meters on 100-120 square meters of site area. According to Davit and Mary, they came up with the idea while walking near their house and seeing a landscape design made up of three  stones . The structures are reminiscent of single-chamber megalithic tombs known as dolmens, which date from the early Neolithic age. Related: Marc Thorpe designs live/work buildings built from earth bricks The project imagines a mini-hotel with at least three small stone-shaped guest suites, a design that the team chose instead of buildings made from different blocks to keep the project unique. The idea is to move away from modern house designs that prioritize contemporary shapes and glass, and instead focus on more organic shapes. Each stone-shaped suite is made of reinforced concrete and faced with plaster to imitate natural stone. A few very small windows help mimic a  cave’s  atmosphere. Red lighting evokes the same mystery that characterizes  ancient  dolmens; archaeologists still debate the reasons behind their presence and methods of construction. The team says this choice intentionally alludes to the mesmerizing estrangement and overall characteristics that attract people to these ominous stone structures.  Simple, minimalist furniture provides enough to live comfortably without excess, while a rectangular black volume with an entrance space is built into each suite to indicate the doorway. Overall, the hotel renderings remind one of the ancestral caves of early humans, a feature the Jilavyans believe will distract guests from their busy lifestyles and allow them to concentrate on themselves and their inner voices.  + Dolmen Shelter Via Dezeen Images via Davit and Mary Jilavyan

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Brussels train station transformed into wooden shopping and event center

November 17, 2020 by  
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The Gare Maritime railway station in Brussels has seen a huge transformation. The building, formerly one of Europe’s largest railway stations for goods, has been renovated into a new city district shopping and event development made of cross-laminated timber. Reimagined as a multi-purpose public space for companies and events, the building is covered entirely in  wood  and highlights sustainable architectural practices such as solar energy and rainwater collection systems. According to the architects at Neutelings Riedijk, the structure is the largest  cross-laminated timber  project in Europe. Architects added a series of 12 new building volumes to accommodate a new program of 45,000 square meters. Along with the existing halls, roofs and side aisles, the new design creates a structure that mimics a small city with streets and parks. Related: Sweden’s tallest timber building could save 550 tons of CO2 The choice of wood came down to sustainability and weight, as a concrete construction would have been five times heavier. Cross-laminated timber with a facade finishing in oak offered the perfect solution to create a prefabricated and dry construction method with shorter building time. As a result, the design features demountable connections and modular wooden building elements to promote sustainability. The central space is reserved for public events and contains a green walking boulevard on both sides. Routes measure 16 meters wide, giving pedestrians plenty of room to enjoy the spacious inner garden complete with a hundred trees. Overall, the space includes a total of 10 gardens based on four themes: woodland, flowers, grass and fragrance. As Brussels enjoys a Mediterranean climate, designers chose plants that adapt to the specific growing conditions. The Gare Maritime also remains completely energy neutral and fossil-free thanks to glass facades and solar cells, with a total area of 17,000 square meters of roof space dedicated to  solar panels . The building uses geothermal energy and a rainwater collection system to water the massive gardens. + Neutelings Riedijk Architects Via ArchDaily Photo: Filip Dujardin/Sarah Blee/Tim Fisher | © Neutelings Riedijk Architects

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Biodegradable mushroom packaging makes Seedlip gifts special

November 10, 2020 by  
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In an effort to help reduce food packaging waste, non-alcoholic spirit company Seedlip is introducing a  Mycelium Gift Pack  wrapped in  biodegradable  mushroom packaging. Mycelium, the root structure of mushrooms, creates a durable and sustainable packaging alternative for the upcoming holiday season. This fully bio-contributing material is also biodegradable, recyclable and compostable. The gift set includes a full-sized bottle of Seedlip Spice 94 (an aromatic non-alcoholic spirit), a highball glass made from 100% recycled material and a thyme seeded neck tag. The tag includes instructions to plant and grow your own herbs using the biodegradable  mushroom  box as a planter. Seedlip has partnered with the Magical Mushroom Company, a U.K.-based production plant specializing in manufacturing mycelium-based packaging and insulation, to bring the project to life. Presale for the set began on October 22 and is available now on  Seedlip’s website .  Related: Entrepreneur sells mushroom suits that decompose your body after death “We are committed to celebrating and protecting the natural world and our mushroom-based gift set progresses both our support of sustainable packaging as well as championing nature’s ability to solve society’s challenges,” said Ben Branson, founder of Seedlip. “Mushrooms are nature’s recycling system and we’re very proud to be working with them.” Seedlip Spice 94, featured in the gift set, is an aromatic blend of Jamaican allspice berries, grapefruit, lemon and cardamom that gets its earthy bitterness from oak and cascarilla tree barks. Seedlip offers  beverage  recipes on its website that incorporate the non-alcoholic spirit. The mycelium used to make the gift box paper plays a critical role in  nature  by breaking down debris on the forest floor. Seedlip’s packaging can mimic this process as a compostable material in your compost bin. This helps make mycelium a great alternative to plastic packaging. According to Seedlip, the Magical Mushroom packaging is just as strong as conventional  plastic  foams but doesn’t contribute to landfill or ocean pollution. + Seedlip Images via Seedlip

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