LEED Platinum-certified Half Moon Bay Library targets net-zero energy

May 26, 2020 by  
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At three times the size of its predecessor with a recently minted LEED Platinum certification, California’s Half Moon Bay Library is an impressive community resource in more ways than one. Designed by Berkeley-based firm Noll & Tam Architects , the $18.2 million library serves a diverse and growing coastal region that includes Half Moon Bay in San Mateo County and 10 other unincorporated communities along the coast as well. Flexibility, energy efficiency and emphases on nature and the community drove the design of the new regional library that has won multiple awards, including the 2019 AIA/ALA Library Building Award. Completed in 2018, the 22,000-square-foot Half Moon Library minimizes its visual impact with its low-profile massing that includes two single-story rectangular volumes along the street and a larger, second-story volume tucked behind. Minimizing the building’s presence in the neighborhood was part of the architects’ strategy to draw greater attention to views of the ocean, which is located just a short walk away. A low-maintenance natural material palette — including reclaimed wood , patinated copper and rough stone — takes inspiration from the coastal landscape and helps draw the outdoors in. Related: Charles Library boasts one of Pennsylvania’s largest green roofs As a result of extensive community workshops, the Half Moon Library is highly flexible. Three-quarters of the stacks are on wheels so that the layout of the room can be easily changed over time to accommodate a variety of events. In addition to multipurpose spaces, the library also includes a 122-seat community room, adult reading area, children’s area, quiet reading area, teen room, maker space and support areas. Sustainability is at the heart of the project, which is designed to achieve net-zero energy . The high-performance building envelope draws power from rooftop solar panels, while thoughtful site orientation and implementation of passive principles for natural ventilation and lighting reduces energy demand. The Half Moon Library also features bioswales , recycled materials, low-water fixtures, high-performance HVAC systems and drought-tolerant plantings. + Noll & Tam Architects Photography by Anthony Lindsey via Noll & Tam Architects

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LEED Platinum-certified Half Moon Bay Library targets net-zero energy

Heatherwick Studio completes nature-filled EDEN apartments in Singapore

May 26, 2020 by  
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Greenery spills down the sides of EDEN, a nature-filled apartment building completed in late 2019 by British design and architecture firm Heatherwick Studio in the historic Newton district of Singapore. Inspired by Singapore founding father Lee Kuan Yew’s vision of a “city in a garden”, the architects departed from the typical glass-and-steel tower typology with an innovative luxury housing complex surrounded by tropical greenery on all sides. The building’s environmentally friendly features also earned it a Green Mark Award Platinum Rating by the Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority.  Commissioned by Swire Properties, EDEN represents a new and unique way of living in the city with its elevated base — the lowest floor is raised 23 meters above an intensely planted, ground-level, tropical garden to allow for city views from every apartment — natural materials and details and unconventional apartment layouts. Each apartment is centered on an airy, open-plan living space that connects to landscaped, shell-like balconies on three sides and three “wings”. There are two wings to the south with two bedrooms each and a northern wing that contains the kitchen and service areas. Related: Heatherwick Studio breaks ground on undulating plant-covered development in the heart of Tokyo Filled with light and views of greenery and the city skyline, the interiors are dressed in natural materials , including parquet timber floors and stone walls in the bathrooms that are fitted with Heatherwick Studio-designed sinks, vanities and baths. The balconies that are formed around the Y-shaped apartment floor plan feature over 20 species of flora to surround the living spaces with calming greenery and provide natural shading from the sun. The exposed undersides of the balconies were built of smooth, highly polished concrete made with a bespoke casting technique. “Over time, the building is designed to mature, as the lush planting grows, like a sapling that has taken root beneath the streets, pulling the landscape of Singapore up into the sky,” the architects explained. The exterior facade flanking the green balconies is built of concrete molded with an abstracted topographical map of Singapore’s terrain, creating a unique, three-dimensional texture. + Heatherwick Studio Photography by Hufton+Crow via Heatherwick Studio

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Heatherwick Studio completes nature-filled EDEN apartments in Singapore

Disney releases retro tees using bottles from the parks

May 19, 2020 by  
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Creating clothing fibers from  recycled plastic  is nothing new, but when a name like Disney is involved, it’s hard not to have childlike enthusiasm over the efforts. Disney, a company that needs no further description, has partnered with Unifi, Inc., makers of REPREVE®, the leading recycled fiber, to produce a new retro-style Mickey & Co. collection that is sure to bring out the kid in all of us.  Unifi has been on this ride for a long time, turning plastic waste into material used by Chicobags, Ford, Patagonia, PrAna and many other companies. The ever-growing count meter on their website reports over 20 billion bottles have been recycled , with the resulting fibers being used for everything from totes to curtains. Related: REPREVE: sustainable multi-use fiber made from recycled water bottles The company’s partnership with Disney offers an opportunity to educate children about the importance of recycling. As Jay Hertwig, Unifi’s Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing, said, “Disney’s new retro collection is a wonderful circular economy initiative that shows what can happen when kids of all ages recycle and give bottles a second life. We’re thrilled to partner with Disney on this iconic collection and help promote the importance of recycling and sustainability.” The recycled products for the clothing release came, in part, from the Disney parks themselves, bringing the product full circle from pre- to post-production. This 1984 retro Mickey & Co. collection is currently available online through ShopDisney.com. Regardless of your favorite character, a total of nine tees featuring Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy and Pluto are ready to bring the magic. In addition to individual characters, there are several tees with the entire gang appearing in all their fabulously fun fanfare.  Disney timed the release of the new retro line with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in April 2020, before shutdowns of the parks began due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. + Disney and Unifi Images via Unifi 

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Disney releases retro tees using bottles from the parks

Eco-friendly Everlasting Forest Pavilion champions circular living in Bangkok

May 13, 2020 by  
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For this year’s Bangkok Design Week, which took place in February 2020, Thai design firm Plural Designs created the Everlasting Forest Pavilion, a temporary, tunnel-like structure built of biodegradable materials that promotes sustainable ideas and products to the public. Created in collaboration with a team of multidisciplinary experts, the pavilion champions the idea of environmentally friendly architecture and circular living as part of a larger vision for sustainable urban living. Installed in front of Bangkok’s Grand Postal Building, the Everlasting Forest Pavilion follows a “BCG” concept named after its three zones of Bio Economy, Circular Economy and Green Economy. Each zone is a showcase of innovative products and ideas and seamlessly connects to the next space. The pavilion’s circular form reinforces the idea of circular living with its tunnel-like architecture; the pavilion is centered on an “Everlasting Forest”, a densely planted green space with a walkway. All materials used in construction are eco-friendly, biodegradable and made from waste material. Related: Futuristic Safezone Shelter battles air pollution in Thailand with a green oasis The first zone visitors encounter is the Green Economy, which introduces a variety of eco-friendly materials including lightweight fiber rebar, or glass-fiber reinforced polymer (GFRP), as a durable and low-carbon alternative building material to steel. The second zone is the Circular Economy , where examples of plastic waste upcycled into new, value-added products are showcased. Examples of uses for biodegradable and eco-friendly bioplastics are shown in the third zone, Bio Economy. The pavilion also includes a rest zone. As an extension of the project, a Smart Recycling Center was installed nearby to show the public how to responsibly sort and manage waste generated at the event. The architects said, “Everlasting Forest Pavilion is a space demonstrating the co-habitation between man-made structures and their surrounding environment including buildings, green spaces and daily life objects, whose resources and waste are all sustainably managed and utilized.” + Plural Designs Images via Plural Designs

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Eco-friendly Everlasting Forest Pavilion champions circular living in Bangkok

Kibardin shares creative recycled paper furniture designs

May 8, 2020 by  
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Creating furniture is an age-old art form that has incorporated standard materials such as aluminum, wood and rattan. However, one artist has perfected a way to use another prolific material, cardboard, into furniture designs, and he’ll show you how to use it too. Vadim Kibardin, based out of KIBARDIN design studio in the Czech Republic, wants to encourage the kids, journalists and architects in all of us to think progressively and sustainably by getting hands-on with paper furniture design. Kibardin sees a world of opportunity between citizens who want sustainably made products and the wasteland of available cardboard readily available. With this combination in mind, he set out to develop and share furniture designs that can work as a family art project in any home.  Related: Designer Sophie Rowley creates marbled furniture from denim scraps On his website, you’ll find a black furniture collection with a sampling of furniture pieces he’s lovingly hand-contoured. Some are complete and ready for purchase, while others offer a design that can be made by request. Each piece is unique, as materials and the handmade approach vary. He doesn’t use a mold to replicate a design. The process involves adhering stacks of flattened cardboard  into thicknesses that add strength, then shaping them into chairs of varying designs.  Over his 25 years in the business, Kibardin has been commissioned to create unique pieces for private clients, galleries and museums. But his vision goes beyond creating art and building usable furniture while saving trees , to inspiring others to do the same. His Totem collection represents a creative art form that can be replicated in homes around the world.  As Kibardin explained, “Take a look at my Totem furniture collection. It is essentially a condensed version of my vision, which transcends trends by being functional as a serial product and handmade piece of art. I focus on construction and delivering key looks, without the styling and theatrics of a show. I can bring you modern solutions at affordable prices, just collect paper and cardboard packaging , download patterns and manuals, and produce it with your kids.” The basics are provided with an outline for decoupage-style stools, chairs and hourglass-shaped tables, but the idea is to inspire your own works of art. Kibardin encourages his site’s visitors to create their own paper art and then share images, instructions and a link for others to use. With this foundational support, Kibardin hopes everyone becomes part of this sustainable movement. + Kibardin Studios Images via Palisander Gallery and Vova Pomortzeff

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Recycled wind turbine blades proposed as a playscape for Burning Man

April 23, 2020 by  
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Washington-based architect and designer Michael Mannhard has unveiled designs for BladeYARD, a proposal for a Burning Man 2021 installation built from recycled wind turbine blades. Created as a visual warning of the effects of climate change and shortsighted solutions, the installation mimics a large-scale ruin with parts of the blades submerged in the sands of Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. Part of Mannhard’s inspiration for the project stems from a recent Bloomberg News article that says wind turbine blades can’t be recycled, and as a result, they are piling up in landfills at a rate of nearly 8,000 blades a year. “What does it mean when this symbol of hope fails us so greatly?” asks Mannhard, who recalls growing up in the Midwest and marveling at sights of the massive turbines. “How is it that the most prominent symbol of our sustainable future was designed in such a way as to simply be buried in the ground at the end of its working life as a blade? These objects are now layered in new meaning as symbols of our shortsightedness in how we approach our built world and the incredible challenge of designing for the whole life cycle of products.” Related: Windwords proposal turns wind turbines into public art The BladeYARD project would explore those questions by bringing people up close with a “graveyard” of wind turbine blades. The massive blades — some of which can reach 100 meters in length — would be arranged like the bleached bones of an animal carcass, with some elements lying flat and partly buried in the sand while others stick straight up. Burning Man participants would be able to climb atop of, seek shelter under and wander through the sculptural installation. If it is accepted as an installation at Burning Man 2021, Mannhard plans to have BladeYARD dismantled and moved to a more permanent home after the event. Burning Man is scheduled to take place every year at the end of the summer in Northern Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. + Michael Mannhard Images by Michael Mannhard

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Recycled wind turbine blades proposed as a playscape for Burning Man

Gomi portable chargers repurpose plastic waste and batteries

April 16, 2020 by  
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Not all plastic is recyclable. In the UK, flexible plastic consisting of plastic bags, bubble wrap and pallet wrap are not accepted by local councils for recycling. Each year, the world produces 150 billion kilos of flexible plastics with the potential to pollute the environment (about 1.2 billion comes from the UK where Gomi is based). The company goes even further to raise awareness for a different type of  pollution : batteries. There are over three billion batteries produced every year, and the global demand is only growing. While both single-use and rechargeable batteries, such as lithium and button batteries, are recyclable, not all areas have access to recycling. Gomi works directly with food wholesalers, businesses and individuals around the Brighton area “intercepting” unrecyclable plastic waste before it’s sent to landfills.  Battery  cells are gathered from local manufacturers and battery suppliers who are unable to use the batteries due to misprints or cosmetic irregularities. The Gomi portable chargers are powered by repurposed batteries and made of 100% non-recyclable  plastic . Chargers measure 12 cm x 8 cm x 2.5 cm and weigh just under 10 ounces. Related: These marbled Bluetooth speakers are made from non-recyclable plastic waste The lightweight, pocket-sized 12,000mAh portable charger can charge two separate devices at a time, with the capacity for three to six full charges to your smartphone (depending on type). The manufacturing process leaves a colorful marbling style that is unique to each charger. Gomi doesn’t stop there when it comes to recycling; all of the device’s parts are designed to be modular and easily removed to melt into new components for other products. The return service is free for customers to ensure that each charger comes back to the company at the end of its life to be recycled without losing any material value. The company hopes to work with jewelers in the future to extract metals from the circuit boards of its products as well. The project’s  Kickstarter , which went live on March 31, 2020, raised nearly $30,000 as of April 13 — more than four times its original goal. + Gomi

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Gomi portable chargers repurpose plastic waste and batteries

Reclaimed wood raft features an origami paper canopy

April 6, 2020 by  
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The innovative team at U.K.-based Inclume has come up with a unique way to take a break from the stresses of life. Its latest design is a reclaimed wood raft that accommodates two people. The Tetra raft even features a peaceful shading canopy made out of delicate, origami paper forms. Inspired by the shape of an abstracted sail, the volume of the raft incorporates multiple tetrahedron shapes. Entirely constructed out of reclaimed materials, Tetra achieves its buoyancy thanks to three old barrels that were donated to the team. Atop the barrels is the main platform, which is made of salvaged shipping pallets provided by a local carpenter. Several discarded garden bamboo canes comprise the frame and canopy. Even the boat’s oars, which were sanded and painted with a triangular motif, were donated from a local boat club. Related: Floating ICEBERG creatively confronts global warming With its tiny size and rustic nature, the reclaimed wood raft is perfect for an escape on the water. Adding a bit of serenity to the design is a beautiful, handcrafted canopy. This canopy consists of several triangular frames, which are crafted from thread entwined with recycled paper. The canopy is then covered in origami paper forms that add whimsy to the overall design. Intricately folded by hand, the paper forms sway gently in the wind and allow natural light and shade to dance across the raft. The Tetra raft was a temporary installation that took place on a local lake. During the day, passersby were encouraged to help the team construct parts of the raft on the shore. According to the designers, the aim of the event was not only to build a temporary, water-based shelter out of reclaimed materials, but to also encourage people to participate in similar projects in their communities. + Inclume Images via Inclume

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Reclaimed wood raft features an origami paper canopy

Everloops sustainable toothbrush comes with replaceable bamboo bristles

March 26, 2020 by  
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Mexico City-based NOS has come out with a design to address one of the many causes of plastic pollution that consumers tend to overlook: toothbrushes. The company’s Everloop toothbrush combines a reusable, recycled plastic handle with replaceable bristles made from compostable bamboo . The sheer number of plastic toothbrushes that end up in landfills every year is a much larger problem than most people realize. Most dentists, as well as the American Dental Association (ADA), recommend replacing toothbrushes every three or four months or whenever the bristles begin to fray. Seeing as there are over 300 million people living in the United States, that means there are about 1 billion plastic toothbrushes tossed into the garbage every year in this country alone. Related: Tooth — the eco-friendly toothbrush made from recycled and biodegradable materials The plastic handles on typical toothbrushes are regularly found during beach cleanups, and the tiny nylon bristles have the potential to contribute to microplastics in the ocean. Some modern designs aim to take the plastic out of disposable toothbrushes and replace it with bamboo handles. This is a step in the right direction, but it still leaves the issue of regular pollution every three months when it’s time to replace the toothbrush, especially considering many bamboo toothbrushes still have nylon bristles. NOS aims to stop this endless toothbrush pollution with its unique redesign of the bristle component. The head and base of the Everloop toothbrush is made of recycled plastic from other discarded toothbrushes, with a clipping mechanism that easily opens and closes to replace the bristles (made entirely out of natural bamboo) when it’s time to change them. The disposed bamboo bristles are 100% compostable. Each toothbrush comes with a set of eight bamboo bristles to be replaced every three months, enough for at least two years. Even the packaging, made from thermoformed paper pulp, can be safely composted . + NOS Images via NOS

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Everloops sustainable toothbrush comes with replaceable bamboo bristles

Floating ICEBERG creatively confronts global warming

March 26, 2020 by  
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In summer 2019, a surprising sight popped up on a New Hampshire lake — ICEBERG, a floating, iceberg-shaped pavilion made of locally sourced wood and recycled plastic. Created to raise awareness on the issue of polar ice melt, the temporary installation was the work of  Bulot+Collins , an international architecture firm that guided over a hundred Beam Campers to build the project on-site. The environmental installation also doubled as a play space with a resting area for sunbathing and a staircase that leads to a diving platform.  ICEBERG was designed and built for  Beam Camp , a summer camp in Strafford, New Hampshire that teaches campers hands-on skills and creative thinking through large-scale collaborative projects selected through an annual worldwide design competition. In 2019, Bulot+Collins’ ICEBERG project was chosen and built in three weeks by 104 campers between the ages of 10 to 17.  Located in the middle of Willy Pond, the 700-square-foot ICEBERG pavilion features a slanted wood frame buoyed by a series of empty barrels. The structure is covered in locally sourced plywood panels clad in recycled HDPE tiles manufactured on-site by the campers with a process exclusively developed by the architects for the project. Recycled plastic was melted and molded into triangular shapes and then covered in a mix of resin and thermochromic paint to simulate the appearance of a melting iceberg : the hundreds of tiles turn from different shades of blue in the cold to a polar white in the heat.  Related: ICEBERGS immerse visitors in a beautiful underwater world in Washington, D.C. In addition to its striking visual appearance, ICEBERG served as a play space with a sunbathing area and a 10-foot-tall diving platform. “As architects accustomed to working in an environment where the designer, the client and the users are often three distinct parties, we were stimulated to have the future users play an active role in the building process of the project,” note the architects. “This blurring of boundaries familiarized campers with the subtle implications of building a space, and allowed them to evolve in a structure that they constructed with their own hands.” + Bulot+Collins Images via Bulot+Collins

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Floating ICEBERG creatively confronts global warming

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