Artists recycle hundreds of plastic bottles into a dynamic arch in Chiang Mai

February 16, 2017 by  
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Plastic trash is a major problem in Thailand’s beautiful Chiang Mai , but a team of designers has found a way to creatively rethink waste in a positive light. Design collectives VINN PATARARIN and FAHPAV combined handcrafted design with 3D modeling to create Self-Ornamentalize, a temporary installation made from 850 recycled plastic bottles. The experimental pavilion was installed a part of Compeung, an artist-in-residence program hosted at Chiang Mai’s suburban village of DoiSakt. The multidisciplinary team of designers developed Self-Ornamentalize through their discovery that the traditions of local craftsmanship and use of natural materials were fading as the village modernized. Given the proliferation of plastic, the designers saw plastic as the “true local materials of this present day.” Thus, the designers chose plastic bottles as their primary building material. Related: Bottle Seedling House turns bamboo and plastic bottles into shelter for Vietnamese farmers The plastic bottles were broken down by hand to create a textile -like material. The designers used computer modeling to generate the installation’s curved form that measured nine by four meters in size. Self-Ornamentalize was installed on an elevated walkway in the large lake, a major landmark in the village, to maximize visibility. The designers write: “‘Self-Ornamentalize’ is an experiment in totally transformed the unawareness of locals’ identity through technology, materials and craftsmanship towards the wonder of self-discovery in post-modern era.” + VINN PATARARIN

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Artists recycle hundreds of plastic bottles into a dynamic arch in Chiang Mai

7 charming off-grid homes for a rent-free life

February 15, 2017 by  
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Want to make rent and utility bills a thing of the past? We’ve rounded up seven off-grid homes that could be the answer to making your dreams a reality. Stylish and self-sufficient, these eco-friendly dwellings promise freedom from the grid. Many are even set atop wheels to let you move with your home to almost anywhere you desire. Keep reading to see seven charming homes that offer homeowners the chance to live off the grid and rent-free. WOHNWAGON Powered by solar energy and made from recycled materials, the WOHNWAGON is a beautiful mobile and modern home with a housing footprint so small it fits within the size of a standard parking lot. This larch-clad caravan was designed for homeowners who wish to travel the world and enjoy comfortable off-grid living thanks to energy-efficient features including a green roof , triple-glazed windows, graywater recycling, solar panels, highly efficient insulation and more. Developed for mass production, the WOHNWAGON starts at 40,000 Euros and can be individually customized. EcoCapsule For those who want a little off-grid place of their own with more of a futuristic edge, look no farther than the EcoCapsule . Now available for pre-orders, the tiny egg-shaped home that went viral in 2015 has been displayed around the world wowing visitors with its ability to produce all of its energy onsite with rooftop solar panels and a low-noise wind turbine that feed into a 10kWh battery. Developed by Nice Architects , the mobile home can be moved or dropped in place with a crane or helicopter, giving owners the freedom to live almost anywhere they please. POD-Idladla South Africa-based architect Clara da Cruz Almeida collaborated with local design firm Dokter+Misses to create POD-Idladla , an adorable flat-pack home with off-grid capabilities. Targeted at young adults, the tiny solar-powered was conceived as a customizable eco-friendly home at an affordable price. The modular design can also be expanded upon with additional pods to make multi-unit configurations that house up to 12 people. Moon Dragon If homes inspired by fantasy and fairytale are more your style, you’ll love Moon Dragon. Tiny house builder Abel Zimmerman Zyl of Zyl Vardos designed and built this tiny timber off-grid home that looks like it’d be right at home in Middle-Earth. Outfitted with a solar kit for off-grid living, the beautifully detailed mobile home boasts masterful craftsmanship as well as impressive an impressive suite of features, from a five-burner Range cooker with two ovens to a loft bedroom large enough for a queen-sized bed. KODA Lovers of travel and modern, minimalist house designs will feel right at home in KODA, a tiny prefabricated home created by Estonian design collective Kodasema . Designed with off-grid capabilities, KODA can be assembled on a variety of surfaces without the need for foundations or disassembled and prepped for relocation in as little as four hours. Fronted with large quadruple-glazed windows, the light-filled modular house can also be expanded with multiple units. Ark Shelter Designed as an escape from city life, the Ark Shelter was created to reconnect people with nature. The self-sufficient modular cabin is prefabricated from durable timber and placed on site atop raised, mobile foundations. Wind turbines, solar power, and rainwater collection allow the home to go off-grid . Walden Studio home Dutch design agency Walden Studio teamed up with carpenter Dimka Wentzel to design a tiny home that’s big on luxury and freedom. Equipped with all the systems needed for off-grid living, the contemporary mobile home is filled with natural light and natural materials like the cork floors and birch plywood paneling. The 17-square-meter home also contains plenty of multifunctional furniture to maximize its small footprint.

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7 charming off-grid homes for a rent-free life

Award-winning grass-covered pavilion in India constructed with over 1,000 recycled pallets

February 14, 2017 by  
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Over a thousand discarded shipping pallets went into the making of this partly planted, undulating pavilion in New Delhi. Local architecture firm M:OFA Studios drew inspiration from India’s ruins and their love of upcycling to create Pensieve, an award-winning experimental pavilion with a name inspired by the “memory basin” in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. The temporary installation served as an urban playground and public gathering space that inspired people to contemplate their surroundings. Built as part of India Design ID 2014, the Pensieve is no longer standing though it continues to be recognized in awards, such as its nomination in the Kohler Bold Design Awards 2016. Over 1,200 recycled pallets were stacked together in an asymmetrical shape inspired by the hundreds of stone ruins that dot the capital, where many locals used as playgrounds in their childhood. Compost added inside some of the open pallets was used as a growing medium for grass and other plants. Related: Charming Wine Shop Built with Repurposed Shipping Pallets Pops Up in Poland “The concept initiated from the basic idea of ‘fluid’ thoughts,” write the architects. “Built out of recycled wood , this pavilion was asked on the idea of unobstructed thoughts associated often with the children. The pavilion became a reminder of those simpler times, where the kids looked at the world beyond a 4 inch by 3 inch display screen in their hands.” The large 800-square-foot installation framed a public gathering space that also included solar-powered furniture that lit up when people sat on them and a hundred fiber-optic sculptures that used motion sensors to light up at night. + M:OFA Studios Images via M:OFA Studios

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Award-winning grass-covered pavilion in India constructed with over 1,000 recycled pallets

Mysterious tiny hut ‘floats’ under a railroad bridge in Bohemia

February 14, 2017 by  
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It’s not often that a piece of architecture truly creeps us out, but the Black Flying House has a distinct spookiness to it. Created by H3T Architekti , the tiny black hut hangs from an arch under an old railroad bridge in the Czech Republic, giving the impression that it’s floating in midair. The floating cabin , which is suspended by steel cables connected to the bridge, is accessible by ladder. However, the ladder is hidden from view purposely to confuse anyone who may happen to come across the installation while wandering in the surrounding forest. Anyone brave enough to find and use the ladder will find a tiny loft area and stove on the interior, which is lit with a single window. Related: Spend Halloween night with 6 million Parisian skeletons in world’s creepiest Airbnb According to the architects, the tiny cabin, located just outside the Czech city of Pardubice, was purposely designed to create a mysterious atmosphere of a military complex. Indeed, the black hut with its pitched roof hanging in midair must be quite the site to behold in person. + H3T Architekti Via Archdaily Photography by Martina Kubešová

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Mysterious tiny hut ‘floats’ under a railroad bridge in Bohemia

Powerful new Penn State battery turns waste CO2 into electricity

February 14, 2017 by  
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With so much excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, researchers from every corner of the globe are working on innovative ways to soak it up. Penn State University scientists have gone a step further with a powerful new battery that not only soaks up CO2, but also repurposes it to make more energy . Their pH-gradient flow cell battery is not the first of its kind, but it is the most powerful – take a closer look after the jump. In an article published by Environmental Science and Technology Letters , the Penn State researchers note the discrepancy between CO2 concentrations in regular air and exhaust gases created by fossil fuel combustion results in an “untapped energy source for producing electricity.” “One method of capturing this energy is dissolving CO2 gas into water and then converting the produced chemical potential energy into electrical power using an electrochemical system,” they write. While previous attempts to convert CO2 into electricity have been successful, the researchers say power densities were limited, and ion-exchange technology expensive. They said their ph-gradient flow cell battery is considerably more powerful. Related: Plants are keeping atmospheric CO2 levels stable, but it won’t last forever “In this approach, two identical supercapacitive manganese oxide electrodes were separated by a nonselective membrane and exposed to an aqueous buffer solution sparged with either CO2 gas or air,” they write. “This pH-gradient flow cell produced an average power density of 0.82 W/m2, which was nearly 200 times higher than values reported using previous approaches.” Engadget breaks this down for lay readers: “As ions are exchanged between the denser CO2 solution and normal air solution, the voltage changes at the manganese oxide electrodes in either tank. This stimulates the flow of electrons between the two connected electrodes and voilà: electricity.” They also report that the process can essentially be reversed to recharge the battery, and that Penn State was able to repeat this process 50 times without losing performance. For now, the researchers aren’t ready to scale their technology, but when they do, they envision it embedded in power plants, diverting atmospheric CO2, and slowly chipping away at one of the most epic challenges humans have ever faced: climate change . Via Engadget Images via Environmental Science and Technology Letters, Pexels

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Powerful new Penn State battery turns waste CO2 into electricity

Prefabricated garden retreat snaps together in less than a week

February 10, 2017 by  
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If your dream garden look like something from a fantasy world, you’ll love this Dragonfly Pavilion built for a backyard in Hoboken, New Jersey. Built from sustainably harvested and FSC-certified Sapele mahogany and recycled aluminum, this beautifully intricate garden shed takes inspiration from the complex pattern of butterfly and dragonfly wings. New York-based CDR Studio Architects designed this prefabricated backyard retreat, which took less than one week to install. Prefabricated by SITU Fabrication , Dragonfly Pavilion is made with a recycled aluminum frame clad in Sapele lumber and large sections of glazing. A single timber bench is built into the interior while a laminated-tempered glass sits on the roof. The glazing is broken up by a gradient of complex geometric shapes, or cells, that give the structure its delicate, dragonfly wing-like appearance. “These cells are more than just aesthetically appealing,” write the architects. “Their shape and size respond directly to the forces acting on it.” Related: Glowing bamboo pavilion promotes ecological design in Hong Kong The wing-like pattern was derived from a computer-generated algorithm. Mosquito netting is also installed on the interior of the mahogany cells, giving the structure a second, inner skin. The Dragonfly Pavilion’s simple rectangular form allows for a variety of programs, from use as a yoga studio to a small dining area. The pavilion was prefabricated offsite and then reassembled onsite in less than one week. + CDR Studio Architects Photography by John Muggenborg

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Prefabricated garden retreat snaps together in less than a week

Artist transforms recycled materials into beautifully intricate, life-sized sculptures

February 10, 2017 by  
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At first glance, its easy to mistake artist Kate Kato’s works for the real thing. The Bristol-born artist of Kasasagi Design masterfully transforms recycled materials into life-like sculptures that capture the intricacies and beauty of plants, insects, and other found objects in nature. Each of her works, no matter how small, is an amazing undertaking of mixed media and art techniques, from wirework to carving. Inspired by a love of nature, Kato attributes her beginnings in art and the name of her design studio, Kasasagi, a Japanese word that figuratively refers to a person who obsessively collects things, to the time she spent as a child collecting random bits and pieces during her walks through the countryside. The artist works mainly with paper that she cuts out and carves from the books and magazines she collects, and she combines the medium with wire , thread, and fabric. From a distance, Kato’s artworks look startlingly lifelike, especially when presented in specimen boxes, but the truth unravels when a closer look reveals printed lettering or loose threads. Related: Japanese paper artist replicates amazing wild animals using intricately bound newspaper “I like to use materials in a way that provokes this curiosity in the viewer too by leaving sections of the original object visible in the new sculpture ,” writes Kato. “I want the sculptures to look real and not real at the same time inviting the viewer to consider details they may normally over look and stimulate curiosity for the made item and the real thing.” Kato hopes to encourage curiosity about nature and a greater awareness of the environment and our role in the ecosystem. + Kasasagi Design

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Artist transforms recycled materials into beautifully intricate, life-sized sculptures

World’s first library of ice in Siberia is filled with crowd-sourced content

February 10, 2017 by  
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Although most people look for a cozy warm corner to curl up with a good book, a Russian town has opened the world’s first outdoor ice library , filled with crowd-sourced content. Located on the edge of the frozen Lake Baikal in Baikalsk, (southern Siberia), the magical “ice library of wonders” is made up of 200 tons of ice blocks molded into a labyrinth with short phrases etched into the walls. https://youtu.be/_EWAkuc3QwQ The project was a creative idea by the local tourism bureau, “Last year we announced we would create the Ice Library of Wonders, and asked people to send us their dreams and wishes.” local tourism head and ice librarian Maxim Khvostishkov told Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper. Soon, the project began receiving quotes from people from all over the world. To date, over 1,000 phrases have been carved into the ice structure ‘s 420 “books” in various languages, English, Chinese, Korean, etc. Related: Sweden’s new ICEHOTEL 365 uses solar cooling to stay open all year-round Although the ice structure is a beautiful statement of community-sourced literature, unfortunately, the engraved words will soon be a thing of the past. The ice library is expected to last until April when Lake Baikal normally begins to thaw. If you’d like to be a part of the library’s short-lived history, you can send in your wish to be engraved by using this link (in Russian) up until Feb. 28. Via NBC Bay Area Images via MACTC  

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World’s first library of ice in Siberia is filled with crowd-sourced content

Artist ingeniously turns old plastic bottles into joining material for furniture

January 31, 2017 by  
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Old plastic bottles get a second shot at life in the creative hands of Royal College of Art graduate Micaella Pedros . The London-based designer collected discarded bottles and melted them down into a wood bonding material for furniture. Her experimental project, called Joining Bottles, explores upcycling of scavenged materials found across the city, including bits of wood and different colored plastic bottle waste. https://vimeo.com/172330337 Pedros makes Joining Bottles furniture using a variety of timber types, from wood offcuts to tree branches. To improve the strength of the plastic joints, the artist creates notches and groves in the wood nearest to where the parts will be joined. After cutting off the top and bottom of a plastic bottle, she slips the plastic sleeve over the wood pieces and uses a heat gun to melt the PET plastic until the bottle shrinks and wraps tightly around the wood pieces to create a strong bond. Related: The New Raw turns plastic waste into valuable raw material “Both materials, wood and plastic bottles, are widely abundant in cities and other places,” writes Pedros. “There are lying there as waste, waiting to be reclaimed by people. Joining Bottles seeks to contribute to new beliefs based on what we, as individuals and communities, can do with what is available to us. In some countries, this project can make a real difference, promoting the collect of plastic bottles and wood waste , and helping people to empower themselves.” The plastic bonds are strong enough to create sturdy furnishing capable of supporting an average person’s weight. + Micaella Pedros Images via Micaella Pedros

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Artist ingeniously turns old plastic bottles into joining material for furniture

Hundreds of repurposed orange crates make up striking facade in Italy

January 20, 2017 by  
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Orange crates never looked so good. Studio NOWA (Navarra Office Walking Architecture) repurposed hundreds of the plastic crates to for the facade of two former artisan sheds in Italy. Converted into a striking rehabilitation and treatment center for people with disabilities, the building’s facade has a unique pixelated texture that dominates the surrounding area. The project, called Protiro, was designed and built for Concetta D’Alessandro Foundation, a non-profit organization that deals with the treatment and rehabilitation of people with disabilities . The architects transformed two former artisan sheds into a multi-functional space, using basic materials to make its exterior distinctive and recognizable. Related: Gorgeous Glass Clad Groot Klimmendaal Rehabilitation Centre Sits Tucked Amongst the Trees A guesthouse occupies the ground floor of the building, while the first floor, sheltered under a vaulted roof, functions as a large space for group activities. Service areas occupy the two low volumes which form an entrance vestibule to the main hall. A new lift and staircase were added to this space. The patterned skin envelops the entire structure, strengthening its visual identity. + StudioNOWA Via Archdaily Photos by Peppe Maisto

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Hundreds of repurposed orange crates make up striking facade in Italy

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