Net-zero energy DPR office becomes Austins first WELL-certified workplace

November 11, 2019 by  
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Construction management firm DPR Construction has recently moved into an impressive new workplace of its own making — a LEED Gold -certified facility located on the east side of Austin, Texas. Designed to follow sustainable principles, the net-zero energy office is fitted with energy-efficient fixtures, environmentally friendly materials and health-minded features that have also earned the project WELL Silver certification. The interiors of the new office — DPR’s regional team occupies the top floor of the mixed-use facility — were designed by IA Interior Architects . DPR’s Austin office is the fifth net-zero energy office completed by the company across the country and is seen as one of the firm’s “living labs” for sustainable design. In addition to a focus on energy efficiency, the building is notable for its promotion of healthy living. Natural lighting is emphasized while materials with volatile organic compounds are limited wherever possible. Circadian lighting design, ergonomic workspaces, a spotlight on healthy eating and activity incentive programs have helped the project achieve WELL Certification. Related: Sound-absorbing materials fold into a giant origami-like meeting pod The workspace design is also reflective of DPR’s four core values: integrity, enjoyment, uniqueness and ever-forward. As an extension of the company’s flat organizational structure, an open-office concept was created in place of private offices. Instead, employees can work from a variety of different work areas with adjustable-height workstations. Amenity spaces such as the bar/break room and the gaming corridor surround the office. “Multiple green walls with air plants and succulents, like the one in reception, enhance and in some cases provide privacy,” reads a project statement by IA Interior Architects. “Environmentally friendly and sustainable local materials, views to the outside, circadian lighting design and an increase in natural light provided by the added skylights are all factors contributing to the design’s sustainability story and DPR’s commitment to wellness in the workplace.” + IA Interior Architects Photography by Robin Hill via IA Interior Architects

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Net-zero energy DPR office becomes Austins first WELL-certified workplace

Automatic, soil-less garden system lets you grow 76 plants in your own home

October 29, 2019 by  
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One of the biggest complaints about urban living is the lack of space to grow your own veggies, but this automatic home garden can fit in nearly any kitchen space. Recently launched on Kickstarter, Verdeat is an indoor garden system that uses soil-less, organic plant cultivation to grow up to 76 plants. Additionally, the innovative gardening system is made out of 95 percent recycled materials and is designed for zero waste. Although there are quite a few home garden systems on the market, Verdeat stands out in that it is designed to be flexible. The garden comes in three different sizes to better suit your needs. The system is arranged in a tower shape, made up of one, two or four stacked trays that use a soil-free organic system for cultivation. Each tray is suitable to a certain type of growth using a natural substrate (such as coconut fiber). For lighting, the system has an integrated lighting system that mimics sunlight and promotes faster growth. Related: This sleek lamp provides light and grows food Depending on the size, the trays are arranged precisely for seeds or microgreens but can also be ordered to include a tray of small potted plants, perfect for strawberries, flowers, peppers, onions and more. No matter the size, the entire system is designed to be user-friendly and produce zero waste . Better yet, the garden system is nearly 100 percent self-sufficient for weeks at a time. Almost entirely maintenance-free, the gardening tower only needs to be watered every 1 to 3 weeks. To make it even easier, there is even a handy app to take care of the plants while you are away from home. The app monitors the amount of water, energy and nutrients and adjusts automatically according to the needs of the plants. This precise system allows Verdeat to grow plants without generating unnecessary waste. + Verdeat Via Yanko Design Images via Verdeat

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Automatic, soil-less garden system lets you grow 76 plants in your own home

Biomaterials Archive debuts at Dutch Design Week 2019

October 22, 2019 by  
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Dutch Design Week , the largest design event in Northern Europe, is back once again this October to show how pioneering designers around the globe are changing the world for the better. Spread out across nine days with over a hundred locations in Eindhoven, the annual event will host a wide array of exhibitions, lectures, festivities and more — including the first-ever public presentation of a Biomaterials Archive , where attendees can see, touch, smell and even taste innovative materials made by students from organic and recycled materials. Held this year from October 19 to 27, Dutch Design Week is an annual showcase of futuristic design that covers a wide breadth of topics from sustainable farming to artificial intelligence and robotics. Every year, more than 2,600 designers are invited to present their pioneering work — with a focus given to young and upcoming talent — and more than 350,000 visitors from the area and abroad flock to Eindhoven to see how design has the potential to improve the world. Creative proposals for reducing waste and addressing other timely environmental topics, such as climate and biodiversity crises, have also been increasingly highlighted in recent years.  One such example of forward-thinking design by young designers can be found at the Biomaterials Archive, a multi-sensory exhibit open to the public all week at Molenveld 42 | Downtown. Hosted by Ana Lisa, the tutor for Design Academy Eindhoven’s Make Material Sense class, the exhibition will feature #ZeroWaste and #ZeroBudget material samples created by second-year BA students. Visitors will have the opportunity to interact with proposed alternatives to materials such as leather, plastic, marble, cotton and MDF. Related: Colorful People’s Pavilion in Eindhoven is made from 100% borrowed materials “It unveils how these young designers are taking matter into their own hands by farming organisms on the Academy’s shelves or recycling what’s being trashed at home, school’s canteen, city or farms,” reads a statement on the DDW website, which references biomaterials made from old bread, lichen, acorn-MDF, coffee grounds, kombucha , cow manure and even vacuum dust. “While they close some loops and make new, shorter life-span materials that forge new paths into design and architecture.” + Biomaterials Archive Images via DDW

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Biomaterials Archive debuts at Dutch Design Week 2019

Biomaterials Archive debuts at Dutch Design Week 2019

October 22, 2019 by  
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Dutch Design Week , the largest design event in Northern Europe, is back once again this October to show how pioneering designers around the globe are changing the world for the better. Spread out across nine days with over a hundred locations in Eindhoven, the annual event will host a wide array of exhibitions, lectures, festivities and more — including the first-ever public presentation of a Biomaterials Archive , where attendees can see, touch, smell and even taste innovative materials made by students from organic and recycled materials. Held this year from October 19 to 27, Dutch Design Week is an annual showcase of futuristic design that covers a wide breadth of topics from sustainable farming to artificial intelligence and robotics. Every year, more than 2,600 designers are invited to present their pioneering work — with a focus given to young and upcoming talent — and more than 350,000 visitors from the area and abroad flock to Eindhoven to see how design has the potential to improve the world. Creative proposals for reducing waste and addressing other timely environmental topics, such as climate and biodiversity crises, have also been increasingly highlighted in recent years.  One such example of forward-thinking design by young designers can be found at the Biomaterials Archive, a multi-sensory exhibit open to the public all week at Molenveld 42 | Downtown. Hosted by Ana Lisa, the tutor for Design Academy Eindhoven’s Make Material Sense class, the exhibition will feature #ZeroWaste and #ZeroBudget material samples created by second-year BA students. Visitors will have the opportunity to interact with proposed alternatives to materials such as leather, plastic, marble, cotton and MDF. Related: Colorful People’s Pavilion in Eindhoven is made from 100% borrowed materials “It unveils how these young designers are taking matter into their own hands by farming organisms on the Academy’s shelves or recycling what’s being trashed at home, school’s canteen, city or farms,” reads a statement on the DDW website, which references biomaterials made from old bread, lichen, acorn-MDF, coffee grounds, kombucha , cow manure and even vacuum dust. “While they close some loops and make new, shorter life-span materials that forge new paths into design and architecture.” + Biomaterials Archive Images via DDW

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Biomaterials Archive debuts at Dutch Design Week 2019

Fashion collaboration repurposes leather offcuts into eco-friendly home and lifestyle products

October 18, 2019 by  
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Award-winning design studio OPENUU has joined forces with RIL CREED, a sustainable handbag fashion brand, to create two collections for home and lifestyle using upcycled genuine Italian leather . Using scraps of leather that would otherwise be thrown away, these two special collections are combating the wasteful ways of the modern fashion industry and giving new life to forgotten fabrics. The two companies came together for the project after realizing the negative impact that fashion waste has on the environment. They were specifically alarmed by the sobering fact that about 50 percent of natural leather hide is wasted (often destined for landfill) and up to 95 percent of the textiles that end up in landfills each year could have been recycled. Related: Fashion brands ranked for toxic textiles and sustainability Through their experiences in the design world, OPENUU and RIL CREED have found ways to turn otherwise wasted pieces of durable materials into beautiful, upcycled pieces that can be used in everyday life. The products are unique, sustainable and limited-edition. The first collection celebrates the combination of understated luxury and practical durability. Dubbed “Amber Home,” the decorative cushions are made from 100 percent upcycled leather and fabric offcuts from factories. The design and production of this collection of home goods benefited from OPENUU’s interior decor expertise as well as RIL CREED’s proficiency in leather handbag production. For the second collection, “Willow Travel,” OPENUU and RIL CREED took inspiration from watching the sunsets in different cities during their summer travels. The series of travel accessories was produced using the same initiatives of responsible leather and fabric upcycling. In an effort to challenge the monotone look of traditional travel wallets, these passport holders and ID holders come in bright, playful colors that will appeal to a wide range of travelers. + OPENUU + RIL CREED Images via OPENUU and RIL CREED

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Fashion collaboration repurposes leather offcuts into eco-friendly home and lifestyle products

Designers made this pavilion out of upcycled paper waste

October 14, 2019 by  
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Originally created for the Copenhagen Art Fair to showcase a new sustainable method of design, the Paper Pavilion is made out of upcycled paper collected from the city itself. The art fair, in its fifth season, had a specific focus on pavilion designs that spotlighted sustainable construction , urbanization and recycling.  The pavilion was created by Denmark-based Japanese architects, PAN- PROJECTS. The architects wanted to combine sustainability with the appropriate amount of durability for their Paper Pavilion design, making sure to sacrifice the longevity of the structure whenever possible for the utilization of the materials that would only withstand through the duration of the three-day event. With this methodology in mind, PAN- PROJECTS decided to use paper as their primary building material due to its strength and recyclability . Additionally, the use of paper adds a certain aspect of uniqueness that sets the Paper Pavilion apart from similar projects at the Copenhagen Art Fair. Related: Mud and recycled materials make up this sustainable Kerala home The designers also took inspiration from the shape of a bagworm moth for the pavilion, taking into account especially the insect’s nesting habits of collecting local materials into a particular shape. The concept will hopefully encourage spectators to find a connection between the natural shape of the moth-inspired design to the urban environment that surrounds it. Moreover, the papers that helped create the paper pavilion were collected from around the city, so the connection between the city’s inhabitants to the artistic structure should provide additional insight. Following the Copenhagen Art Fair, the piece was relocated permanently to the entrance hall inside the Kunsthal Charlottenborg Museum in Copenhagen with slight redesign to fit the new location. The paper used in the piece can be recycled again after the structure comes down, as well. + Pan- Projects Via Archdaily Images via Pan- Projects

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Designers made this pavilion out of upcycled paper waste

This furniture collection is made from repurposed military parachutes

October 11, 2019 by  
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Innovative design firms Layer and RÆBURN  are known for creating stunning items out of repurposed materials . Now, the two firms have teamed up again to create the Canopy Collection, a series of chairs and screens made out of former military parachutes. The Canopy Collection is a series of six low-slung rocking chairs. Welded steel frames create the base, which is then covered in repurposed old military parachutes and aircraft brake parachutes. The textiles are secured to and tautly stretched over the frame with a combination of concealed zips and different textile techniques. The armrests are wrapped with extra material for added comfort. Related: RÆBURN upcycles North Face tents into one-of-a-kind bags The parachute fabric, which is made from ultra-thin ripstop nylon material, is incredibly durable and makes perfect sense to be used in everyday furnishings . In addition to the chairs, the collection also includes a reconfigurable screen with three panels that would make for an eye-catching centerpiece in any home. According to the designers, “The Canopy Collection uses the strict geometry of the steel frames as a base on which to experiment with innovative and forward-thinking recycled parachute upholstery.” Both studios are well-known for their dedication in creating responsible, sustainable products, especially when it comes to using undervalued or discarded materials. Earlier this year, RÆBURN made headlines for its collaboration with North Face to reconfigure old tents into unique bags. The Canopy Collection, which was launched to coincide with the recent London Design Festival 2019, is an innovative way to show the world that modern furnishings can also be sustainable . This is not the first time that the design studios have worked together, and hopefully it will not be the last. + Raeburn Design + Layer Design Via Dezeen Images via Layer Design

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This furniture collection is made from repurposed military parachutes

Repurposed coffee grounds provide sustainable clothing pigment alternative

September 27, 2019 by  
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Scientists from Iowa State University (ISU) recently unveiled a natural alternative to synthetic clothing pigment. This natural alternative is sourced from brewed coffee grounds. The research team , spearheaded by ISU Assistant Professor Chunhui Xiang and graduate student Changhyun “Lyon” Nam, found a possible alternative via repurposed coffee grounds. Rather than adding to landfill density and single-use waste, brewed coffee grounds can instead be transformed into another high-value resource. Related: Blue dye could be the next key to harnessing renewable energy Brewed coffee grounds are feasible because 100 million Americans drink coffee daily, meaning there is an adequate supply of coffee grounds that can be upcycled and diverted away from landfills. Shades of brown can be extracted from the coffee grounds, then bound to various textiles and fabrics. Of course, there remain the quandaries of fading and of replicating consistent hues. While the use of pigment fixative helps to bind the color to the fabric and reduce fading, producing consistent hues that can match a template proves to be more complex. More research is required before repurposed coffee grounds can be ready for mass-production of pigments.  “One disadvantage is that it’s hard to measure the quantity needed to get the same color,” Xiang explained. “There may be a difference in the type of beans, or maybe the coffee was brewed twice. Creating an exact match is a challenge, especially for manufacturers.” However, Xiang asserted that hue consistency can be overcome by changing consumer attitudes. If consumers are able to reframe their interests so that they accept the uniqueness of colors rather than demand their consistency, then repurposed coffee grounds, as a sustainable source, can be a worthwhile commercial venture. Historically, textile hues were originally sourced from plants and minerals.  But industrialization forced the textile sector to turn to synthetics, because laboratories could produce them at cheaper cost. Over time, these synthetics have become less and less environmentally friendly. Because the textile industry utilizes upward of 2 million tons of chemicals for its synthetic pigments, there has been a growing movement in today’s society to find more sustainable sources, such as repurposed coffee grounds. + Taylor and Francis Online Via Phys.org Image via Couleur

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Repurposed coffee grounds provide sustainable clothing pigment alternative

MVRDV unveils pro-bono vision to reopen the lost canals of The Hague

September 27, 2019 by  
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In a bid to restore a lost part of nature to The Hague, MVRDV has unveiled a proposal to reopen the city’s 17th-century canals that were filled in between 1910 and 1970. Created in partnership with the local community, the “Grachten Open” (Canals Open) initiative would restore access to the waterways and would revitalize a run-down part of the historic center by introducing new programming from swimming canals to a gastronomy route with a new market hall. The urban revitalization project would also bring ecological benefits by bringing natural habitat back into the city center. As the seat of government for the Netherlands, The Hague has placed less emphasis on its canal system compared to other Dutch cities historically more reliant on trade. While many of the canals have been drained and filled in, a local grassroots movement to preserve the canal area in the historic city center began to take root in the late 20th century. In recent years, the movement has seen greater community action for revitalizing the area and reopening the lost canals. One of the most notable contributors to the cause is local resident Shireen Poyck, who co-founded the ‘Grachten Open’ and, in 2018, invited her neighbor, MVRDV partner Jan Knikker, to participate. Related: Curvaceous bicycle bridge brings new life to Copenhagen’s harbor Working together with local neighborhood organizations, MVRDV recently presented a plan to reopen the canals to the city of The Hague. The design proposes restoring the main canals and creating plans for the minor canals, which can be remade into “urban activators” and used as swimming canals, koi carp canals or even surf canals. The main canals would be defined by themed “routes,” that include a green route, creative route, shopping route, culinary route and sport route. “All over the world, neighborhoods like the old center of The Hague form the backbone of tourism and provide an identity to a city, but in The Hague, somehow this ancient and incredibly charming area was forgotten,” said Winy Maas, architect and co-founder of MVRDV. “The area offers the unique chance for an urban regeneration that will improve the local economy and make a leap forward in the city’s energy transition.” + MVRDV Images via MVRDV

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MVRDV unveils pro-bono vision to reopen the lost canals of The Hague

Two sustainable rental units dressed in reclaimed brick are self-sustaining through solar power

September 23, 2019 by  
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Melbourne-based firm Breathe Architecture has brought a bit of California flair to a Melbourne suburb. Using the empty space behind two existing Cali-style bungalows, the designers have managed to create two single, light-filled dwellings enveloped in reclaimed brick facades. The two rental properties were designed to offer the area environmentally sustainable and affordable rental housing that homogenizes with the local vernacular. Located in the area of Glen Iris, the Bardolph Garden House was designed as a building comprised of two rental units that blend in with the neighborhood aesthetic and each other. The simple, brick-clad volumes with pitched roofs emit a classic, traditional look while concealing dual contemporary interiors. Related: This home made of broken bricks features a series of rolling green roofs The two units are similar in size, both measuring just over 2,000 square feet. The entrances to the homes are through a covered courtyard and a landscaped garden area. The exterior spaces remain private thanks to several brick screens that also let natural breezes flow into these outdoor areas. When designing the layout of the two properties, the firm was dedicated to creating two energy-efficient units. As such, the project incorporated a number of passive features to reduce the homes’ energy needs. In addition to the greenery-filled pocket gardens that help insulate the properties, the gabled roofs and external steel awnings help maximize northern solar gain during the winter and minimize it during the summer months. Thanks to the region’s pleasant temperatures, the bright living spaces are incredibly welcoming. Vaulted ceilings add more volume to the interior, and an abundance of windows draw in plenty of natural light. The interior design, which features furnishings by StyleCraft and textiles by Armadillo & Co , is bright and airy with a neutral color palette that enhances the natural materials. Concrete flooring and white walls contrast nicely with the timber accents found throughout the living spaces. Additionally, the interior boasts a number of reclaimed materials, such as a repurposed timber bench tops and terrazzo tiles. Carefully designed to maximize thermal performance, the two units are completely self-sustaining. Their energy is supplied through a solar PV array on the roof, and a sustainable heat pump system supplies hot water. A rainwater collection system was also installed so that gray water could be collected and stored on-site for reuse. + Breathe Architecture Via ArchDaily Photography by Tom Ross via Breathe Architecture

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Two sustainable rental units dressed in reclaimed brick are self-sustaining through solar power

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