An ancient Jaipur palace property is transformed into a modern restaurant

November 7, 2018 by  
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New Delhi-based, multidisciplinary design practice Studio Lotus has transformed a portion of Jaipur’s lavish City Palace Museum into Baradari, a contemporary fine dining restaurant that pays homage to its rich architectural roots. Formerly used as a fairly nondescript palace cafe, the 14,000-square-foot property has been given a sumptuous revamp using traditional craftsmanship and artisanal techniques. The adaptive reuse project is not only a hybrid of centuries-old elements and modern aesthetics, but is also a historic preservation project that included careful restoration efforts. The royal family of Jaipur commissioned Studio Lotus to redevelop the neglected property into a fine dining destination with a private dining area, bar, lounge space, a quick service counter and back of house facilities to accommodate approximately 200 patrons. The design team began with a lengthy research and restoration phase, during which the walls were stripped of recently added plaster to reveal the original stone masonry. These walls were then restored and repainted using traditional techniques and materials, including cured slaked lime with crushed sandstone and brick . The restaurant is organized around a pavilion -like bar, created in the likeness of a ‘baradari’ (meaning a pavilion with twelve columns), that divides the courtyard into two zones and is built from handcrafted marble and glass. Traditional Jaipur craftsmanship is mixed with modern design throughout the restaurant, from the structural additions to flooring and furniture. The black and white marble floors, for instance, are a contemporary take on the traditional Rajasthani leheriya pattern, while the designs for the decorative art made from thikri (mirror) techniques were computer generated. Related: The Farm art hotel delights guests with recycled art and farm-fresh food Energy usage is also minimized thanks to a combination of low tech and high tech means. In addition to energy-efficient air conditioning and remote-controlled LEDs , the restaurant is equipped with rainwater harvesting systems and strategically placed water features that help create a cooling microclimate. + Studio Lotus Images via Studio Lotus

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An ancient Jaipur palace property is transformed into a modern restaurant

6 tips to reduce your foodprint while dining out

November 1, 2018 by  
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When you eat at home, it is relatively easy to make choices that will lower your ‘foodprint,’ because you are in charge of the shopping, preparation and disposal of all the food. But when you eat out at a restaurant or grab takeout, it is much more difficult to eat sustainably. To make it a little bit easier, we have put together six tips to help you eat green while dining out or grabbing something to go. Ask questions Ask your server about the restaurant’s sources. What farms do they buy from? Is this dish in season? If the server doesn’t know, they can ask the manager or the chef. If the restaurant has a philosophy of incorporating seasonality into the menu, the workers will be more than happy to share the food’s origins, and the menu items will change with the seasons. Do your research to know what is in season where you live and what local restaurants embrace seasonality. When you are looking over a restaurant menu, also keep in mind your location and what is in season locally. If you are in a landlocked area, ordering ocean fish isn’t smart, because it certainly isn’t local. If you live in Missouri and it’s the middle of winter, tomatoes are not in season. Get a box American restaurants are famous for the extra-large portions of food that they pile up on plates, making it nearly impossible to finish the meal in one sitting. According to Sustainable America , the average restaurant meal is eight times larger than the standard USDA and FDA serving sizes, and 55 percent of leftover restaurant food doesn’t get taken home. Related: 5 simple ways to reduce your food waste right now Big meals mean even bigger waste. Instead of leaving behind food and letting it go straight to the trash, ask for a box. It will help cut down the food waste, and it gives you an instant lunch for the next day. If you don’t want to take leftovers home, consider splitting a large appetizer or entree with your dining partner. Choose farm-to-table Farm-to-table is one of the most popular buzzwords of the moment, and many restaurants have been more than willing to capitalize on the trend. More chefs have started to incorporate local and seasonal items on their menus, and some restaurants have even started growing their own food. Eating at a restaurant that locally sources its ingredients results in a major downsize of your foodprint, because there is no need to ship the ingredients across the country. Just make sure that the restaurant is truly farm-to-table — that’s when asking the right questions becomes important. Just say no If you don’t want that basket of rolls or chips they automatically put on the table, just say no. Tell your server not to bring it, so it isn’t wasted. The same thing goes for items on your entree. If you don’t want onions on your burger, tell your server to leave them off it. If you don’t want that side of coleslaw, ask for a substitution or tell them to skip it completely. Watch buffet portions To reduce your food waste at a buffet, use smaller plates. People who use large plates waste 135 percent more food than those who use smaller plates. Watch your portions when enjoying a buffet, or avoid going to one. Decline takeout bags, utensils and condiments When you order takeout, reduce your carbon footprint by bringing your own coffee or water cups, saying no to straws and plastic bags and declining plastic utensils and napkins. You can bring your own reusable container and see if the restaurant is willing to use it. Say no to extra condiments and seasonings. All of these to-go items might seem convenient, but they often end up in the trash. Instead, just grab the food, and use the cutlery, condiments and seasonings that you have at home. If you really do need some of the extras like sauces or condiments, only take what you need. When you dine out, you can eat sustainably by keeping these tips in mind. Just remember to choose the right restaurants, ask questions and minimize your food packaging and waste , and you will be doing your part to reduce your foodprint. Via Foodprint and  Sustainable America Images via Steffen Kastner , Thabang Mokoena  and Shutterstock

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6 tips to reduce your foodprint while dining out

A treehouse made from sustainable wood hides a luxurious interior

November 1, 2018 by  
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The sustainable builders at ArtisTree are known for creating some seriously beautiful and green structures. The company has just unveiled a charming treehouse located in a remote eco-retreat in Texas. Perched 25 feet in the air between two cypress trees, the Yoki Treehouse is an exceptional example of the company’s artistry and deep respect for nature. Located in central Texas, the Yoki Treehouse is Austin’s first treehouse resort at Cypress Valley. Designed to be a luxury retreat, the  treehouse sits 25 feet above a creek, which served as the inspiration for the design and name (Yoki is the Hopi Native American word for rain). According to Will Beilharz, founder of ArtisTree, “Water is life — one of our most precious resources, and ArtisTree treehouses are designed to let people experience nature’s resources more intimately.” Related: World’s most active volcano harbors a tiny off-grid home — and you can stay overnight Built with sustainable woods such as elm, cypress and spruce, the treehouse holds court high up within the tree canopy.  The retreat is comprised of a 500-square-foot suspended treehouse and a separate bathhouse, which sits on solid ground. The two buildings are connected by a 60-foot-long suspension bridge with various platforms to provide plenty of open spaces for enjoying the surrounding nature. In the main house, this strong emphasis on nature is apparent at every angle. The entrance is located on the roof, which doubles as an observation platform perfect for enjoying the lush green forest views and the babbling brook. There is also an open-air porch where the branches grow through the floor, further connecting the structure into its environment. Inside, the walls of the treehouse are clad in a warm birch wood, creating a cabin-like aesthetic. Again, an abundance of windows, including an all-glass front wall, allows guests to reconnect with nature. The interior design and furnishings were inspired by Japanese minimalism, while touches of Turkish decor add a sense of whimsy. The separate bathhouse was built with solitude in mind. It features a spa-like atmosphere, complete with a large Onsen-style soaking bathtub. Ample floor-to-ceiling windows offer guests a serene spot to enjoy a bit of bird watching or stargazing. + ArtisTree Via Dezeen Photography by Smiling Forest via ArtisTree

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A treehouse made from sustainable wood hides a luxurious interior

Peek inside the BIG-designed garden village for one of the world’s best restaurants

September 24, 2018 by  
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After over three years of planning, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has completed the new home for Noma, an award-winning, Michelin-star restaurant that was named four times as the best in the world by the ‘World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ rankings. Opened February 2018, Noma’s new restaurant location is just outside of Copenhagen’s city center on a lakefront site near the Christiania neighborhood. The 14,000-square-foot building is modeled after a garden village that consists of 11 single-story pavilions, each specially designed to realize chef René Redzepi’s vision for seasonal and local New Nordic cuisine. Last year, chef René Redzepi closed his original two-Michelin-starred Noma after 14 years of operation in a 16th century harborside warehouse. During the one-year closure of his restaurant, Redzepi worked together with architect Bjarke Ingels to sensitively reimagine a new property and an existing ex-military warehouse into “an intimate garden village” made up of a series of interconnected, agrarian-inspired structures centered around the restaurant’s heart: the 600-square-foot kitchen. “The new noma dissolves the traditional idea of a restaurant into its constituent parts and reassembles them in a way that puts the chefs at the heart of it all,” Bjarke Ingels explained. “Every part of the restaurant experience — the arrival, the lounge, the barbecue, the wine selection and the private company — is all clustered around the chefs. From their central position, they have a perfect overview to every corner of the restaurant while allowing every single guest to follow what would traditionally happen behind-the-scenes. Each ‘building within the building’ is connected by glass-covered paths that allow chefs and guests to follow the changes in weather, daylight and seasons — making the natural environment an integral part of the culinary experience.” Related: “The world’s best restaurant,” Noma, to close and reopen as an urban farm The historic, 100-meter-long concrete warehouse was renovated to house all of the restaurant’s back-of-house functions, including the prep kitchen, fermentation labs, fish tanks, terrarium, ant farm and breakout areas for staff. Three of the new structures are built of glass, with one serving as a greenhouse, another as a bakery and the last as the test kitchen. The dining spaces are located in other buildings constructed from a minimalist and natural materials palette that includes oak and brick. + BIG + Noma Images © Rasmus Hjortshoj

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Peek inside the BIG-designed garden village for one of the world’s best restaurants

A quirky bar in Shanghai is built from colorful recycled materials

September 24, 2018 by  
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A playful piece of Brazil has popped up on the streets of Shanghai in the form of Barraco, a Brazilian-themed bar designed by local practice Quarta & Armando Architecture Design Research (Q&A) and built with reclaimed materials sourced from demolition sites across the city. With ceilings constructed of colorful recycled doors and hanging swings used for bar seating, this whimsical hangout exudes a beach house feel with tropical drinks to match. The use of recycled and found materials also helps capture the “informal, messy and colorful atmosphere of tropical cities,” according to the architects. Slotted into a narrow rectangular site with a total area of 915 square feet, Barraco consists of an indoor bar and an outdoor bar protected beneath a large canopy. To keep the bars from descending into a confusing assortment of colors and textures, the designers grounded the project with a neutral background of bare concrete, timber and white gravel. Against this muted palette the firm then layered a “controlled chaos” of hanging plants , multicolored furnishings, corrugated tin surfaces and driftwood-like swings that hang from the ceiling. “The double nature of materials and textures reflects a double nature of use: the more quiet, dimly lit indoor bar sets provides a quiet retreat for an afternoon coffee, while the outdoor bar with projecting canopy becomes a part of Shanghai’s active streets at night,” Q&A said in a project statement. Related: Enchanting vertical garden is really a flora-filled bar in disguise “Seating areas are organized according to the same principle,” the architects continued, “with a set of movable low stools and beach chairs outside being the only furniture, besides the hanging wooden swings surrounding the bar, matched indoors by a set of comfortable armchairs and high-stools [that surround] a hanging table/door, which can be operated and pulled toward the ceiling to provide more space during a bigger party or event.” + Q&A Via ArchDaily Images by Dirk Weiblen

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A quirky bar in Shanghai is built from colorful recycled materials

13 shipping containers are reborn as a new restaurant on Treasure Island

August 20, 2018 by  
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On the heart of San Francisco’s man-made Treasure Island, a chic restaurant has popped up inside a series of recycled shipping containers. In a nod to the city’s history as a major port, local design firm Mavrik Studio crafted the new eatery — named Mersea after an Old English word meaning “island oasis” — out of 13 shipping containers and a variety of other materials found on the island, such as reclaimed wood. The decision to use cargotecture was also a practical one given the uncertainty of development on Treasure Island; the restaurant can be disassembled and moved when needed. A total of 13  shipping containers have been repurposed to create Mersea’s indoor bar and dining space that seats 60 people, an MRDK military-grade kitchen, bathrooms and a private dining area. Floor-to-ceiling windows flood the restaurant with natural light and frame stunning views of the city skyline on clear days. Mersea also includes a golf putting green and bocce court. Environmental sustainability and recycling are key parts of the restaurant design. In addition to the repurposed shipping containers, the design team upcycled pallets and used reclaimed wood furniture pieces to create new seating. The herb garden is also made from recycled pallets. In homage to the old Treasure Island Bowling Alley, artist and carpenter Joe Wrye and executive chef Parke Ulrich constructed two communal tables from the former maple bowling alley lanes. Related: German company converts old shipping containers into gorgeous living spaces Continuing the theme of recycling , the restaurant also teamed up with famous New York-based street artist Tom Bob, who furnished Mersea with unique and cartoonish artworks made from common and oft-overlooked street infrastructure elements like pipes, poles, metal grates and gas meters. The industrial installations — such as the jailbird constructed from pipes in reference to Alcatraz Island, which can be seen from the restaurant — complement Mersea’s light-filled, industrial setting. + Mersea Images by Sarah Chorey

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13 shipping containers are reborn as a new restaurant on Treasure Island

Beautiful bamboo arches breathe new life into a bland concrete building

June 27, 2018 by  
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Vietnamese architecture firm Vo Trong Nghia has unveiled their latest example of bamboo brilliance at Nocenco cafe, a renovated rooftop restaurant in the city center of Vinh in central Vietnam . The client asked the firm to insert a unique and eye-catching addition to the top of a seven-story concrete building using local materials. After studying several options, including brick and stone, the architects settled on bamboo to create an airy and lightweight space with dramatic vaulted ceilings. Completed in May of this year, the renovated Nocenco cafe covers an area of 4,700 square feet across two floors; both levels frame vistas over the surrounding low-rise houses, the river, and forest beyond. Most buildings in the area were damaged in the Vietnam War and subsequently renovated with colonial-style concrete facades. Rather than change the building’s existing envelope, Vo Trong Nghia was asked to create an addition that would look iconic and dramatically different from the local building norm. The architects decided to use bamboo and craft a structure that could be easily recognized from the street. “Through our experience, we know bamboo is [easy] to access in this tropical climate which reduces construction time and budget,” says Vo Trong Nghia. “The essence of using bamboo in this project is ‘lightness’…bamboo…can be lifted up by a few workers and easily [transported] to the highest floor by a crane. In addition, it is possible to install the bamboo structure without any additional structural support.” Related: Gorgeous bamboo hall welcomes visitors to a relaxing coastal oasis in Vietnam Bamboo was inserted on the rooftop as well as in the restaurant’s seventh floor. A series of bamboo columns were carefully placed to conceal parts of the existing structure and to divide the restaurant into different programmatic functions. The lower level boasts a curvaceous ceiling, while the L-shaped rooftop features two sweeping bamboo vaults and a soaring domed space for spectacular effect. + Vo Trong Nghia Images by Trieu Chien

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Beautiful bamboo arches breathe new life into a bland concrete building

Zaha Hadid-designed Morpheus Hotel with worlds first high-rise exoskeleton opens in Macau

June 15, 2018 by  
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Macau has officially opened the doors to Morpheus, a sculptural, 40-story luxury hotel that also boasts the “world’s first” high-rise exoskeleton—a curvaceous lattice-like covering that gives the building its iconic appearance. Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects , the sleek and sinuous structure serves as the new flagship hotel for the City of Dreams resort. The $1.1-billion architectural icon is one of the last projects that architect Zaha Hadid worked on before her untimely death. Morpheus Hotel is the latest addition to Macau’s City of Dreams, an integrated resort that includes a casino , two theaters, a shopping district, 20 restaurants and four hotels on the Cotai Strip. Taking inspiration from China’s rich traditions of jade carving, the architects crafted Morpheus with flowing curves that define the exterior and interior design. “Conceived as a vertical extrusion of its rectangular footprint, a series of voids is carved through its centre to create an urban window connecting the hotel’s interior communal spaces with the city and generating the sculptural forms that define the hotel’s public spaces,” wrote Zaha Hadid Architects in a statement. The Morpheus’ exoskeleton wraps around a pair of towers and a central atrium that soars to a height of 35 meters, while its ground level is connected to the City of Dreams resort’s surrounding three-story podium. A series of sky bridges traverse the atrium, while twelve glass elevators offer spectacular views of the hotel’s interior and exterior. The hotel houses 770 guest rooms, suites and sky villas as well as civic spaces, meeting and event facilities, game rooms, three restaurants, a spa and rooftop pool, and back-of-house areas and ancillary facilities. Related: Zaha Hadid Unveils Plans for “City of Dreams” Hotel Tower in Macau The use of an exoskeleton allowed for the creation of expansive interiors uninterrupted by supporting walls or columns. “Morpheus combines its optimal arrangement with structural integrity and sculptural form,” adds Viviana Muscettola, ZHA’s project director. “The design is intriguing as it makes no reference to traditional architectural typologies.” + Zaha Hadid Architects Images by Virgile Simon Bertrand

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Zaha Hadid-designed Morpheus Hotel with worlds first high-rise exoskeleton opens in Macau

This fine-dining chef transforms food waste into creative gourmet dishes

April 20, 2018 by  
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Around one third of food produced in America is thrown out. But Tim Ma, a former electrical engineer-turned-chef, incorporates food scraps others might throw out, like kale stalks or carrot peels, into dishes at Kyirisan , his Washington, D.C. restaurant. Ma told NPR , “I’m in this fine-dining world, but I spend a lot of time going through my garbage.” It’s spring in THIS bowl ?? A post shared by Kyirisan (@kyirisan) on Apr 7, 2018 at 12:40pm PDT Carrot tops aren’t tossed out at Kyirisan, a MICHELIN Guide 2018 Bib Gourmand awardee . Oh no, they’re given new life in pesto, blended up with basil, parsley, pistachios, water, oil, scallions, and sautéed garlic. Carrot peels become garnishes after they’re fried up into strips. And those kale stalks you might throw out? After being braised and fried, they might find their way into a salad with duck confit, radishes, and pickled shallots at Kyirisan. Can you improve on perfection? #rhetoricalquestion #always!!! New set-up for the carrots with miso bagna cauda, with black vinegar, honeyed pistachios, and this silky carrot purée. A post shared by Kyirisan (@kyirisan) on Mar 2, 2018 at 2:31pm PST Related: OLIO launches revolutionary food sharing app to reduce waste NPR said a signature dish of Ma’s, crème fraiche chicken wings with sudachi and gochujang, got its beginnings as an experiment to use up food scraps. At his previous restaurant , Ma would pour sauce he’d created on wings leftover from whole chickens ordered for the restaurant, and serve them to staff. They were so popular they’re now on the Kyirisan dinner menu. Hudson Valley Magret Duck Breast, with three mushrooms, charred shishito, and onion soubise. #duckforgoodluck ????! A post shared by Kyirisan (@kyirisan) on Feb 16, 2018 at 12:05pm PST Reducing food waste makes sense environmentally and economically for Ma. He told NPR, “At the end of the day, it’s a business decision. You do this as a function of saving every penny that you can, because the restaurant margins are so slim right now.” Part of what inspired him to cut food waste was his experience with his first restaurant in Virginia, which almost went under months after opening. He realized he could make changes: for example, instead of ordering in bulk via large distributors, he would order just what he needed from local sellers. Then this happened! A post shared by Tim Ma (@cheftimma) on Sep 11, 2016 at 12:37pm PDT Ma told NPR, “I walk through the restaurant and see, this is what I have and I think about tomorrow and today. How much of something do I really need?” + Kyirisan Via NPR Image via Jackelin Slack on Unsplash

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This fine-dining chef transforms food waste into creative gourmet dishes

New pay-what-you-can restaurant opens in Fort Worth, Texas

March 21, 2018 by  
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A Texas couple have opened a new restaurant that offers a pay-what-you-can model. Taste Community Restaurant targets middle class people struggling to get by who still deserve excellent food at a price they can afford. “Specifically,” Taste Community chef and co-founder Julie Williams told Dallas Morning News , “the missing middle 90 percent of the hungry who are not homeless and don’t qualify for government assistance. They might be choosing between food and medical bills or medication, be a single parent trying to make ends meet, be between jobs.” To serve this community, Julie and her husband Jeff founded the Taste Project , the 501(c)3 nonprofit that supports the restaurant. Guests at the Taste Community Restaurant are greeted with a warmly lit space, a friendly staff, 80 percent of whom are volunteers, and a menu that has no prices listed. Guests are not given a check at the conclusion of the meal and are instead encouraged to donate what they can to support the restaurant ‘s mission. Julie and Jeff Williams were inspired and informed in their work by  One World Everybody Eats , which helped pioneer the community cafe model in the United States .  While it is still early in the restaurant’s history, the staff are encouraged. “We measure success in number of patrons who come through the door, percentage of folks in need, number of volunteer hours served, and program revenue,” explained Julie Williams. “We need to increase the number of folks who can pay what they typically pay or a little more in order to reach those in need.” Related: The free grocery store fighting food waste and hunger Taste is particularly appreciated for its shrimp and cheese grits, rib-eye steak chili and butternut squash risotto. There are exciting options for vegetarians and vegans as well. A celery root-green apple vegan soup is popular, as is a farro dish with cauliflower, snow peas and broccolini, all covered with a poached egg and lemon vinaigrette. The menu is seasonal, with winter’s pimento cheese bruschetta giving way to spring’s sweet pea bruschetta. Taste Community Restaurant is currently serving lunch from Tuesday through Sunday. Via Dallas Morning News Images via Taste Project

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New pay-what-you-can restaurant opens in Fort Worth, Texas

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