Clever bath vanity designed for a child with special needs

March 27, 2017 by  
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Washington-based Strasser Woodenworks has created an ingenious custom-made bath vanity for a Kansas City family with a special needs child. The wooden vanity has two false drawers that pull out on castors to become steps to help their young son, Tristan, who has a form of dwarfism, become more independent. The design was part of the annual Big Splash Custom Bath Giveaway , which saw Strasser Woodenworks and Schloegel Design & Remodeling partner up to create a new bathroom for Tristan, who has a form of dwarfism called Achondroplasia. At just 31-inches tall, the four-year-old struggles to perform everyday tasks like brushing his teeth or washing his hands. His mother, Leandria, told the renovation team that her son has fallen several times from having to climb to use everything. The new custom-made vanity is not only a much safer solution for the boy, but will be able to help him become more independent. Related: Foldschool: DIY Origami-Style Cardboard Furniture for Kids “Like any young child, Tristan wants to be independent, but the height of every element in the bathroom made that a real challenge and a safety hazard for him,” says Amy Boeshaar, AKBD, who designed the new bathroom for the family. “From the vanity, sink, and towel bars to the tub, showerhead, and toilet, everything was just too tall for him. To custom make the vanity, the team began by using standard cabinet elements to create a Tristan-sized vanity that’s also usable for the rest of the family. Attractive Shaker doors give the design a fresh, timeless aesthetic. The vanity steps, which were customized to Tristan’s height , roll out on castors and are easily concealed when not in use. + Strasser Woodworks + Schloegel Design & Remodeling

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Clever bath vanity designed for a child with special needs

Foldable, lightweight kayak assembles in 10 minutes

February 24, 2017 by  
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For all the joy they can bring out on the water, traditional kayaks are bulky, heavy and often cumbersome to transport. But that’s all about to change thanks to the Justin Case Kayak , a foldable, lighweight kayak design made with 3D-printed materials that can be assembled in just 10 minutes. Most kayaks are long, bulky and heavy, making transport extremely difficult. The Justin Case Kayak prototype is designed for water lovers by fellow adventurers who wanted to make kayaking easier, simultaneously enabling better access to nature and spontaneous adventure. Related: Modular kayak with an off-color name breaks down into three portable pieces  The team behind Justin Case developed their prototype based on optimal functionality. With the foldable design , kayakers of any level can easily carry their kayak folded up in its carry case, making impromptu water excursions easier than ever. The compact design is optimal for storage as well, easily hidden from view unlike most kayaks. The lightweight carbon fiber frame is held together with 3D printed connectors, and covered in a water and tear-proof ripstop skin. The prototype development process was green-minded throughout, focusing on using as little material as possible while providing a long-lasting product. Via Justin Case Kayak Images via Justin Case Kayak

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Foldable, lightweight kayak assembles in 10 minutes

Minimalist Urban Nomad Kit lets travelers carry traces of home in a small wooden basket

January 17, 2017 by  
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Living a nomadic lifestyle just got a little more Zen thanks to the Japanese-inspired Nomad Life Kit. Mexican designer Geraldo Osio has created a minimalist wooden basket that carries a handful of basic necessities inside so travelers can have a sense of a home anywhere they go. All of the items in the kit are all manufactured by Japanese craftsmen and made of natural materials. Although the tiny wooden box may seem like a simple picnic basket, the idea behind the design is much more sentimental. Osio wanted to provide wanderers with a true sense of belonging while on the road. As the designer explains on his website , “This kind of lifestyle creates a tendency of losing a sense of belonging to a place.” Related: Tiny Helix Shelter made of laster-cut recycled cardboard is a temporary habitat for one Inside the box, nomads will find items that age as they use them. The leather straps on the box will soften and darken over time and the copper tableware set found on the inside will patina. The stone candle and incense holder are included in the set to offer the owner a familiar sense of smell and light wherever they may go. And if they ever find themselves without a place to rest or sleep, a simple straw mat and cushion will provide comfort for a quick rest or overnight stay . + Gerardo Osio Via Fast Codesign Images via Gerardo Osio

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Minimalist Urban Nomad Kit lets travelers carry traces of home in a small wooden basket

Why people are going nuts over this unusual pillow

November 28, 2016 by  
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“Are You freaking kidding me? This pillow is amazing!” “The best pillow you will ever sleep on!” If you look online at the reviews of the Hullo buckwheat pillow you might be surprised by the passion and excitement of its fans. After all, a pillow is just a pillow, right? Not according to Hullo and their legions of fans. Whereas most pillows are filled either with goose down or synthetic foam, Hullo is filled with buckwheat hulls, which gives them something like the feeling of a bean bag chair, rather than a traditional pillow. For buckwheat pillow devotees, this unique material makes for an amazing sleep experience. According to the Hullo Pillow website, natural buckwheat hulls circulate air around the face more effectively and that dreaded “too-warm-pillow” feeling that sometimes hits you in the middle of the night. Buckwheat pillows also supposedly help the musculoskeletal system by aligning the vertebrae properly when a person is lying down, relieving chronic pain and providing restful sleep. Because of this, we’re thinking that Hullo pillows might make a good, healthy and eco-friendly holiday gift this year. Although a pillow may not seem like the most thrilling present, the benefits of restful sleep and good health extend beyond the limited-time joy provided by things like DVDs, gadgets, and other knick-knacks. Since buckwheat pillows conform to the body so well, they have been reported to eliminate migraines, neck and back pain, insomnia, snoring, allergies, sleep apnea, and even asthma. Conventional pillows are typically filled either with cruelly-sourced bird feathers or with chemical-based foams which can off-gas volatile organic compounds into your face while you sleep. Hullo pillows are completely non-toxic, breathable, free from animal-cruelty, and they can last for years. RELATED: Why a buckwheat pillow makes a good pillow The Hullo Pillow is made in the USA, wrapped in 100% organic cotton twill, and filled with buckwheat hulls grown and milled by North Dakota farmers. The hulls themselves can be emptied or added for desired comfort. Hullo sells the hulls separately if you wish to have a firmer fill, or make your own. The hulls also allow for cool, all-natural support through the night. Available in size small (14″ x 20″), standard (20″ x 26″), and king (20″ x 36″), these pillows accommodate the whole family. Hullo also offers a 60-Day Money-back Guarantee, so if it doesn’t strike the fancy of the recipient, they can return it for a full refund. The company recommends trying it out for a few weeks at least, since it can be a major adjustment from softer, synthetic pillows. With so many positive online reviews and the promise of the best sleep of one’s life, here’s one idea to consider this year when making your holiday list. + Hullo Pillow – $59 to $149

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Why people are going nuts over this unusual pillow

Humanscale is the world’s first company to make truly net-positive products

September 20, 2016 by  
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Humanscale is the first company to ever obtain full Living Product Challenge Certification offered by the International Living Future Institute , which they achieved for not only one, but two products. Their Diffrient Smart chair and Float table both received the prestigious certification and can now be described as “Living Products.” These products are about as sustainable as it gets. The Diffrient Smart and Float had to fit 20 imperatives, and the International Living Future Institute visited Humanscale’s manufacturing facilities to assess their sustainability. Every process to create the products had to be powered by solely renewable energy and ” within the water balance of the places they are made .” The International Living Future Institute also looked for products informed by design approaches like biophilia and biomimicry . Related: Humanscale’s Horizon LED Task Light Packs High Design Into a Slim Profile The Diffrient Smart chair has a curved, mesh back and is designed to adjust to each sitter’s unique weight. The Float table allows users to move between sitting and standing as they work at the desk. Humanscale CEO Robert King said his company’s goal is to “have a net positive impact on the earth.” Not only does the company design sustainable, ergonomic products, they’ve partnered with the World Wildlife Fund to support conservation and are part of the U.N. Global Compact . Humanscale works to continue improving their processes through composting and updates like a rainwater capture system. Living Product Challenge Director James Connelly said, “Humanscale has really taken the Living Product Challenge to heart. They are challenging our current manufacturing paradigm and fundamentally transforming their products and processes to be as beautiful and efficient as anything found in the natural world. We haven’t always known if creating truly net positive products is possible. Humanscale is taking their role as an innovator in human and life-centric design to the next level and proving that if you set your aspirations high enough, you can achieve incredible things.” While other companies received partial certifications, Humanscale is the only one to achieve full certification. + Humanscale + International Living Future Institute Images courtesy of Humanscale

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Humanscale is the world’s first company to make truly net-positive products

Solar-powered Lucy tracks the sun to brighten any indoor space

September 14, 2016 by  
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Lack of sunlight can lead to everything from Vitamin D deficiency to seasonal affective disorder. Solenica , founded by Diva Tommei, came up with a bright solution: Lucy, a smart, solar-powered natural lighting system. Lucy tracks sunlight and reflects it inside to brighten even the darkest spaces. Solenica is currently crowdfunding on Indiegogo , offering Lucy for a reduced price. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hm5TUYOuKmU According to Solenica, for 90 percent of our lives we live indoors, missing out on the benefits of natural sunlight . Those who live through dreary winters or are simply more sensitive to a lack of light suffer. Solenica’s Lucy eases that suffering through an “articulated mirror” that follows the sun using a “proprietary algorithm” to reflect bright light into a home throughout the day. Lucy makes slight adjustments as the sun moves to bring more sunshine inside. Lucy can be placed indoors or outdoors – Solenica also sells a security lock if users want to place the device outside – and can easily be moved to different spots around the home. Related: Lucy is a robotic sunlight reflector that brings light into every dark corner of your house Lucy is a green alternative too: users can save energy and money by using the natural lighting system instead of electricity-fueled lamps. Lucy runs solely on solar power, and doesn’t include wires. The only time a user has to turn on the device is when they pull it out of the box. Italian design inspired Solenica to create a device that wouldn’t stand out but would rather add beauty to a home. Solenica started crowdfunding yesterday on Indiegogo and while they’ve reached around 300 percent of their goal, their early bird special is still available. After the campaign Lucy will cost $299, but right now Solenica is offering 200 Lucys for $199. Backers also have the option to purchase more than one or to purchase security locks. You can back the campaign and grab a Lucy here . + Solenica Images courtesy of Solenica

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Solar-powered Lucy tracks the sun to brighten any indoor space

Benoy’s new masterplan for Abu Dhabi park features a sheltered "urban forest"

September 14, 2016 by  
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Architecture firm Benoy released first images of their design for Abu Dhabi’s amazing Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Park. The renovation master plan, expected to be completed by 2018, will feature a sheltered “urban forest”, a co-working hub, cycling tracks, play areas, fitness zones and a large amphitheater for performances and events. The park will transform the former Khalidya Ladies Park in  Abu Dhabi into a vibrant urban space and a mix of state-of-the-art features, activities and events. In addition to transformative spaces, the design will include a variety of sustainable features. It is expected to become a symbol of economic diversification and growth. Related: Benoy Architects Top Taiwan High Speed Rail’s Hsin Chu Station Mall with a Lush Green Roof “Benoy is fiercely proud of its expertise in drawing different communities together with spaces that disrupt the norm, surprise and delight and allow people to enjoy them in their own way,” said Paul Priest, Director and Head of Benoy’s MENA Studios. + Benoy Via World Architecture News

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Benoy’s new masterplan for Abu Dhabi park features a sheltered "urban forest"

Reykjavik lays out plan to be carbon neutral by 2040

September 14, 2016 by  
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Iceland’s capital has laid out some ambitious plans to become completely carbon neutral by the year 2040. By controlling urban sprawl , increasing public transportation, and shaping all forms of transit to run on green energy, the city will become a model for other global and local governments in creating a more sustainable future. “Cities play a key role in the fight against climate change. They can react quickly… and are more often than naught far more progressive than the world’s governments,” said Reykjavik Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson earlier this month. He claims his city is in a far better position to accomplish the points in his plan, seeing as their carbon emissions are already very low and their location is prime for green operation. Residents’ homes are already heated by geothermal energy and all of the city’s electricity is generated through hydroelectric power. Related: 6 ways Copenhagen plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025 One strategy of the new plan, according to Business Insider , is to increase the number of locals using public transportation from 4 percent to 12 percent, coupled with the task of converting all buses and cars to green energy within the next few decades. The goal of “urban densification” will be obtained by requiring 90 percent of new residential units to be built within city limits, which will, in turn, promote the use of mass transit and reduce carbon emissions. Via Business Insider Images via Flickr , Wikipedia

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Reykjavik lays out plan to be carbon neutral by 2040

Elegant planter lamp brings light and nature into any space

September 12, 2016 by  
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The main body of the Milo lamp is ” mouthblown glass ,” and there are holes in the sides to allow easy access for watering. Milo comes with a wooden bowl that fits right onto the bottom of the planter, which itself is designed to keep the plants stable. The lamp can either rest on a desktop or hang from the ceiling. There are three colors: white, natural, and oak. Lightovo suggests planting either flowers, succulents, or herbs in the Milo. There’s even a smaller version, the Milo Baby , that comes in metal or white. Related: These lamps let you grow plants anywhere – even in windowless rooms But the true stars of these planter lamps are the 5.5 watt LED lights that illumine the plant without withering it. The lights have a 4000K color temperature and they’re not too hot for the plants. The lights are meant to imitate sunshine so plants can thrive in the darker days of fall and winter. According to Core77, a plant owner could even leave water in the planter’s bottom to create humidity for plants that prosper in wetter conditions. Janukanis and Krauze write on their website, “Nature is our endless inspiration where we find remedy for everything. We deeply believe that closeness with nature can truly make humans happy and set them free.” The Milo baby lamp runs between 179 and 189 Euros, which is around $200 to $212. The little lamps can be purchased on Lightovo’s website . Those interested in a Milo lamp can enter their email address on the Lightovo website to ask for one. + Lightovo Via Core77 Images via Lightovo Facebook

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Elegant planter lamp brings light and nature into any space

Stylish coffeemaker repurposes used grounds to grow fresh mushrooms

July 14, 2016 by  
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As it turns out, the concept of using spent coffee grounds as a substrate for mushroom farming isn’t new. The used grounds—an abundant resource in university districts, creative urban centers, and in pretty much every American household—are basically the perfect material for growing mushrooms. Coffee grounds from cafés are ideal, because the forced steam of espresso machines sterilizes the grounds, but many a casual mushroom farmer has been successful using home-brewed grounds as well. Related: HOW TO: Grow your own mushrooms from recycled cardboard and coffee grounds So, how does this all-in-one coffeemaker and mushroom planter work? The top of the HIFA unit houses the coffee brewing portion of the device, which is not unlike a French press. Grounds are placed in the carafe, followed by just off-boil water, allowed to steep (many say three minutes is the golden time limit), and then a mesh strainer is plunged down into the carafe to separate the soaked grounds from the divine java. The double-walled carafe can be lifted off the base for pouring, leaving behind the used coffee grounds in a little yellow cup. The coffee aficionado/mushroom farmer then pours the used grounds into the divided lower portion of the unit. Add a little mycelium (think “mushroom roots”), spray periodically with water, and watch and wait for tiny mushroom caps to appear. The cultivation of mushrooms in the HIFA system is very similar to other mushroom-growing kits , which often come preloaded with mycelium. Because the HIFA unit fills the mushroom planter from the bottom up, it could be used as a potentially endless source of edible fungus. When the substrate compartment is full, used grounds could simply be redirected to other destinations, such as a compost pile or outdoor garden beds. + Adrián Pérez Via Yanko Design Images via Adrián Pérez

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Stylish coffeemaker repurposes used grounds to grow fresh mushrooms

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