Sustainable interior design trends for 2021

January 4, 2021 by  
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While 2020 was defined by the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us were grateful for the extra time spent with families inside the home. As 2021 approaches, it is looking like that home-bound time will continue well into the new year, which stands to influence how interior design will trend in the future. With most Americans spending more time at home in 2020, design trends for next year are focused on creating ample space utilization, plenty of greenery to maintain connections to nature, and sustainable (and budget-friendly) features — just to name a few. Inhabitat rounded up some of the most sustainable interior design trends predicted for 2021 so you can stay ahead of the curve. Repurposed décor Kelly Hoppen, one of the world’s top interior designers, told Homes and Gardens Magazine that the pandemic caused many people to look at design in a different way this year. More of us focused on reusing and repurposing things like furniture and accessories, and that trend will likely continue into the new year. This goes along with longevity, either by investing in higher quality pieces that may cost more but will last longer, or by spending more time shopping at thrift stores to save money. There’s also something extra special about finding a unique item, whether it’s vintage or simply recycled , that makes it one of the most rewarding and easiest ways to design sustainably. Natural elements Staying indoors for longer periods of time throughout 2020 left many of us yearning for a deeper connection to the elements of nature we’ve always relied upon. It’s no surprise that more people started turning to gardening and indoor plants as a new hobby during the pandemic. One of the simplest ways to achieve this is with an interior garden or by using more organic materials in your design. Even better, adding a few plants to your place aids in better air quality and may even help brighten your mood. Related: The top 10 houseplants of 2020 and what’s trending for 2021 Energy efficiency This is an easy one, because incorporating more energy-efficient appliances can appeal to a wide range of designers. While they may be more of an investment in certain situations, appliances with high energy efficiency usually lower utility costs and can even pay for themselves in a short period of time. Not to mention, they are better for the environment as well, something that has been on everyone’s radar due to the global climate crisis. Sustainable building materials Australian-based Kibo Construction Company says that organic options like wood, wool and stone are great choices, but being mindful of where our building and design materials come from is something that is becoming more important. This is partly because it has become much easier to access fair-trade materials and find out if they were extracted with minimal environmental impact. It’s also important to be aware of legitimate certifications, like FSC-certified wood from sustainable forests, for building materials to avoid potential greenwashing. Modular spaces It’s no secret that we are big fans of modular design at Inhabitat, so we’re definitely hoping to see more throughout 2021 . Modular spaces have the ability to create a fully hybrid experience in a smaller area, but it also has environmental benefits in terms of construction as well. Incorporating modular design into your home is an amazing space-saving technique, meaning you can do more with less space. Minimalism Modular spaces and objects also promote minimalism , a movement that is gaining more and more popularity each year as the earth’s resources continue to dwindle. The idea of only purchasing what you absolutely need and minimizing single-use purchases is one of the best ways to live sustainably. “Luxury Minimal Design is a top inspiration,” according to Trend Book . “The clear spaces are becoming more desirable for decor enthusiasts. Spaces with few pieces of furniture are the inspiration for 2021.” Minimal furniture and accessories, especially those made by hand or with natural materials, can add a touch of luxury to any space. Smart tech According to Ben Wu, winner of the International Interior Designer of the Year Award 2020, smart tech that makes the home more eco-friendly will be another big trend going into 2021. “Diversity and globalization will go hand in hand,” he told Homes and Gardens . “Future technology like 5G will take place more and more in the home design.” Smart home technology is already on the rise with popularity gaining for gadgets that connect to your smart phone such as the self-learning Google Nest and smart doorbell cameras. It makes sense that that trend will continue. Images via Press Loft and Unsplash

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Sustainable interior design trends for 2021

Nike ACG collection gives traction to eco-friendly apparel

December 7, 2020 by  
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With its newest release, Nike focuses on respecting the outdoors from start to finish. This effort shows, with 85% of the pieces in the latest Nike ACG apparel collection containing more than 90%  recycled content . Plus, each item is geared towards outdoor wear for use while hiking, backpacking and participating in other sports.  The collection serves as a capsule of sorts, with the essential waterproof, windproof and breathable Nike ACG Misery Ridge GORE-TEX Jacket at the core, made from 100% recycled polyester on two of the three layers. The mid-layer Nike ACG Rope De Dope Jacket is a packable and portable puffer jacket. Another option, the Nike ACG Polartec Wolf Tree Hoodie fleece, uses 100% recycled materials. The collection also features a women’s vest, crew and pants. Related: Nike reveals Space Hippie — sustainable sneakers made from waste “That balance between performance and sustainability is key to Nike ACG,” said Nur Abbas, Nike Design Director, ACG Apparel. “ Sustainability was our first filter for materials used in this collection, but we didn’t compromise the identity of ACG style and attitude; wearers can continue to be protected from the elements when exploring awe-inspiring nature, or even wear the apparel beyond a weekend in the outdoors.” In addition to the clothing options, two shoe styles tread onto the scene. The new Nike ACG Mountain Fly GORE-TEX is built for rocky terrain, and the Nike ACG Air Nasu GORE-TEX gets a cool winter colorway update. Smith Rock, a monolith in central Oregon , a few hours from the Nike headquarters, inspired the entire ACG collection. Each product is named after one of the trails in Smith Rock Park, as a nod to one of nature’s many wonders. The program aligns with a long-term Nike goal labeled Move to Zero, which outlines a future of zero carbon and  zero waste  in the supply chain, manufacturing, and waste reduction. Currently, Nike diverts around 1 billion plastic bottles from landfills per year by turning them into yarns, jerseys and uppers for shoes. The brand has eliminated single-use plastic from all campuses worldwide and diverts 99% of footwear manufacturing waste from landfills too. Nike plans to power facilities with 100% renewable energy by 2025 and cut carbon emissions by 30% by 2030, in alignment with the Paris Agreement of 2015. + Nike Images via Nike

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Nike ACG collection gives traction to eco-friendly apparel

3XN unveils Denmarks first climate-positive hotel for Bornholm island

December 2, 2020 by  
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On the tiny Danish island of Bornholm, Hotel Green Solution House (GSH) will raise its eco-friendly charms with a new climate-positive wing designed by Copenhagen-based firm 3XN and its green think-tank, GXN. Slated for completion in summer 2021, the new extension will be entirely built, clad and insulated with timber materials for a carbon-neutral footprint. The hotel wing will incorporate upcycled materials from construction offcuts for the furnishings and surfaces. Opened in 2015, Hotel GSH was designed by 3XN and GXN to serve as an inspiring leader in green hospitality. An all-timber build was selected for the new wing for a reduced carbon footprint ; according to the International Environment Agency, approximately 40% of the world’s carbon emissions are attributed to the construction industry, with steel and concrete responsible for a total of 16%. Related: Low-impact geodesic dome hotel immerses guests in Patagonian nature “It is a privilege to work with a developer who is completely uncompromising in her approach to sustainability and the circular economy . In this way, the project is making the impossible a reality,” said Kasper Guldager Jensen, architect and partner at 3XN and founder of GXN. “In addition to creating the foundation for a successful business, I hope that the new project can help to show others the potential of wood construction. If we in Denmark want to be able to achieve our climate goals, the construction industry needs to think and act differently, and there is therefore a great need for lighthouse projects like this.” The new hotel wing at Hotel GSH will feature 24 rooms, a conference room and a rooftop spa. In addition to the use of upcycled materials, debris from local granite quarries in Bornholm will be repurposed as temperature-regulating décor in the conference room. The timber building will reduce its energy footprint with operable windows that let in natural daylight and ventilation. All components of the building are designed with reversible joints so that they can be reused in the future rather than end up as demolition waste. Construction of the new hotel wing is expected to begin this fall. + 3XN Images via 3XN

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3XN unveils Denmarks first climate-positive hotel for Bornholm island

Architecture students design a LEED Platinum home with an ADU in Kansas

October 19, 2020 by  
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Every year as part of Studio 804 , University of Kansas School of Architecture & Design graduate students design and build an energy-efficient home for the community — and this year’s home not only achieved LEED Platinum certification but also comes with an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) to fight suburban sprawl. The 2020 project, known as 722 Ash Street House, consists of a 1,500-square-foot primary house with a contiguous 500-square-foot ADU located in North Lawrence. The modern and sustainable home is equipped with a south-facing, 4.9-kW solar power system and a highly insulated building envelope. The 722 Ash Street House project was created as part of Studio 804, a yearlong comprehensive educational opportunity for Masters of Architecture students at the University of Kansas, which has completed 14 LEED Platinum buildings and achieved three Passive House certifications to date. The most recent project in North Lawrence takes inspiration from the Midwestern farmstead vernacular with its three gabled volumes clad in vertically oriented wood. The cladding, which was sustainably fabricated in the Austrian town of Sankt Veit an der Glan, is a composite material of raw pulpwood, recycled wood and natural resins selected for its durability and low maintenance. Related: Students fight urban sprawl with a subdivision for two LEED Platinum houses The primary 1,500-square-foot residence consists of two bedrooms, one full bath, one half bath, a great room and a full kitchen. The studio took advantage of the permissions in the zoning district to add a 500-square-foot ADU with a wet bar, full bath and flex space attached. Large windows bring an abundance of natural light indoors and frame views of the many mature trees for which North Lawrence is known. “Studio 804 continues their long standing pattern of maintaining the highest level of sustainable design while remaining contextually sensitive to the surrounding community,” reads a statement by Studio 804. “This house, like every Studio 804 project since 2008, is USGBC LEED Platinum Certified.” + Studio 804 Photography by Corey Gaffer via Studio 804

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Architecture students design a LEED Platinum home with an ADU in Kansas

The prefab Tiny Tetra House in Bali is made of recycled waste

August 24, 2020 by  
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Launched by Stilt Studios, the Tiny Tetra House in Bali is a small, prefabricated home that makes use of recycled waste materials, wood and glass for construction plus an elevated base for minimal site impact. Tiny Tetra House has 688 square feet of space with a diagonally oriented floor plan. It is elevated 40 centimeters off the ground via point foundations in order to help blend the structure into the surroundings. There is a bedroom, en suite bathroom, open kitchen, living room and outdoor terraces. Apart from the sustainable advantages of the recycled elements used in construction, the materials also act as an artistic reflective agent. Related: The FLEXSE tiny house module is built from 100% recyclable materials “At Stilt Studios, we believe we have the responsibility for both creating unique designs and reducing the environmental impact of our buildings,” said Alexis Dornier, co-founder and chief designer at Stilt Studios. “How about if we could not only reduce total material used and the footprint, but be a part of the circular economy by the choice of material used.” Bali’s waste recycling problem is similar to many places around the world, as most of what gets thrown away doesn’t end up getting recycled. The studio hopes to use this project as an example of contributing positively to the local community and the circular economy. The roof and walls of Tiny Tetra House are made of recycled Tetra Pak beverage cartons, with panels made of 25% plastic and aluminum provided by Eco Bali Recycle. This aluminum layer ensures 100% waterproofing and is proven to be more insulating and noise-reducing than common tin sheets. The contemporary sloping design of the roof helps channel rainwater to be stored for garden irrigation, and facade panels provide cross-ventilation for natural temperature regulation. The first prototype is set to be built this August, with sales starting to open up by October. Those interested can check out the project’s Kickstarter page, which Stilt Studios is using to increase community feedback. Supporters of the project can purchase a voucher to stay at the Tiny Tetra House in Bali once it is built. + Stilt Studios Images via Stilt Studios

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The prefab Tiny Tetra House in Bali is made of recycled waste

Sanikind kickstarts refillable hand sanitizer bottle project

July 17, 2020 by  
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Hand sanitizer has become an essential part of life during the COVID-19 pandemic, but its environmental impact via  plastic waste  increases with each empty bottle. As a consumer, it’s frustrating wanting to do the right thing for the planet, but being unable to get the hand sanitizer you need without contributing to plastic pollution. Enter Sanikind, a sustainable solution for portable and conveniently refillable hand sanitizer. Sanikind’s widely popular Kickstarter campaign, which ends on July 24, has over 4,000 backers funding over $200,000 to the project. This support shows how many people feel frustrated about plastic pollution, and it’s not hard to see why. Sanikind offers a simple solution to alleviate  pollution  and plastic waste problems. The Sanikind spray bottle, useful for both hands and surfaces, provides around 250 sprays. When sprays run out, simply refill the one-ounce container with more sanitizer from the endlessly recyclable aluminum refill bottle. Each spray bottle is made from 100% recycled plastic, sourcing manufacturing materials from the waste stream and creating a reduced waste circle. Related:  Discarded COVID-19 masks are now littering seas and oceans “We developed Sanikind because you shouldn’t have to choose between clean hands and clean oceans,” said Miles Pepper, Sanikind co-founder. “Experts believe COVID-19 has set us back 10 years in terms of reducing plastic consumption and use. Our Kickstarter supporters can help prevent millions of tiny plastic hand sanitizer bottles from ending up in our oceans, which are already being clogged by single-use coronavirus-related waste.” Sanikind knows the list of items you need when leaving the house has grown during the pandemic: wallet or purse, phone, keys, mask and sanitizer. With this in mind, Sanikind includes an easy to use carabiner with each bottle of Sanikind. Conveniently attach it to your keys, purse or backpack, so it’s always on hand, for your hands. In addition to providing a sustainable solution for an urgent problem, the project also employs U.S. distillery workers who manufacture according to WHO and FDA guidelines. This isn’t the first product from Pepper, who already has another well-received product under his young belt. According to the company, “Sanikind was co-founded by 25-year-old serial entrepreneur Miles Pepper, the inventor and co-founder of FinalStraw, which raised almost $2 million dollars on Kickstarter in 2018 and went on to be featured on Shark Tank and ship hundreds of thousands of units to consumers. When Coronavirus hit, Pepper immediately mobilized to create Disinfect Connect, putting distillery-made disinfectant in the hands of 32,000+ frontline healthcare workers, first responders and nursing home staff.” Available this fall, Sanikind can be purchased as you need it, or as a subscription. All shipments are 100% plastic-free, and Sanikind will offset its carbon footprint . + Sanikind Images via Sanikind

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Sanikind kickstarts refillable hand sanitizer bottle project

Vibrant office building in India is made of recycled shipping containers

June 15, 2020 by  
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Sustainability and cost-effectiveness were top requirements when a green concrete manufacturing company in Bangalore, India approached Balan and Nambisan Architects. The clients were looking to keep an element of eco-friendliness and recycling at the center of the design. As such, the architects found shipping containers to be the obvious choice for construction. Shipping containers presented a versatile, cost-effective option that still had the potential to make a statement both in the local community and in the sustainable design world. The result was a compact, 1,500-square-foot office space made of four separate recycled containers, aptly named Colorfully Contained Experiences. The building includes a workstation, an experience center, a dining area, an outdoor deck and bathrooms. A ramp connects the separate containers, and a glass-encased staircase interconnects all of the floors. Related: Recycled shipping container cafe utilizes passive cooling in India Bright primary colors intentionally provide a sharp contrast to the uniformed buildings and factories in the surrounding area as a way to draw attention from potential customers. The bright red, blue and yellow colors also contrast the abundance of gray concrete that the company manufactures onsite. Meanwhile, the shipping containers maintain the same industrial style of the other buildings in the area while still boasting individuality. Because some shipping container structures tend to overheat in the summer months, and especially given the extreme temperatures that India experiences, insulation was a main focus for the project. The designers included passive cooling elements and insulation using rock wool and strand board paneling for the ceiling and walls. The containers were arranged around a water feature to provide a cooling effect in the courtyard, while windows and openings were placed strategically to allow for natural ventilation. Balan and Nambisan Architects paid special attention to drainage as well to ensure that the exterior surfaces stayed clear of rust in the event of heavy rain. + Balan and Nambisan Architects Images via Balan and Nambisan Architects

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Vibrant office building in India is made of recycled shipping containers

Heimplanet celebrates 9 years of innovative inflatable tents

June 5, 2020 by  
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For almost a decade, Heimplanet has offered adventure-seekers an option for quick and easy tent set up in a variety of environments. The company first released a line of inflatable tents in 2011; now, with summer 2020 approaching, Heimplanet is reminding  outdoor  enthusiasts that there has never been a better time to go camping. Founders Stefan Clauss and Stefan Schulze Dieckhoff got the idea for the inflatable tents while on a trip to Portugal in 2003. Traveling along the coast to surf, the two often found themselves setting up their  camp  late at night and experiencing the inconveniences of conventional tents, such as fussing with poles in the dark and the rain. Related: The North Face unveils a geodesic tent that can withstand 60 mph winds The company offers four regular tent models that sleep one to six people and are built to tolerate 80 mph winds. The four models include Fistral, The Cave, Backdoor and Nias. Those seeking a  tent  developed for more extreme use can also splurge for the Maverick, which features room for up to 10 people and the capacity to handle wind speeds up to roughly 111 mph. The inflatable tents incorporate an “Inflatable Diamond Grid” consisting of an inflatable,  modular  cage-like structure that works as a geodesic dome and says goodbye to traditional tent poles. This design allows for high stability even in volatile weather conditions — the company’s Maverick model has even protected researchers and equipment in Antarctica. Thanks to the patented multi-chamber system, the tent’s entire frame is inflated and divided into separate chambers with one easy step that takes under one minute. This multi-chamber system gives the tent its stability, while also ensuring that if one air chamber is damaged the other chambers will keep the rest of the tent erect. Separate chambers can also be replaced or repaired individually, prolonging the life of the whole structure. Resistant double-layer construction combining an airtight thermoplastic polyurethane bladder on the inside and strong polyester fabric on the outside keeps the tent  insulated  and protected. Heimplanet is also part of the 1% For the Planet community, pledging 1% of sales to environmental preservation and restoration. The company has also recently implemented a “re-store” program that  restores  and repairs used models. + Heimplanet Images via Heimplanet, Luca Jaenichen, Sondre Forsell, Kevin Ellison, and Thibault Bevilacqua

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Heimplanet celebrates 9 years of innovative inflatable tents

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

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