We Earthlings: Plant One Tree

August 4, 2020 by  
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Plant one tree and it will capture about 13 pounds … The post We Earthlings: Plant One Tree appeared first on Earth 911.

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The future of organic coffee: Building a network of support for regenerative agriculture

July 30, 2020 by  
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The future of organic coffee: Building a network of support for regenerative agriculture Jean Orlowski Thu, 07/30/2020 – 02:00 Nearly a decade ago, as we took in the lush plant life, clean air and warm sunshine surrounding us during a vacation in Hawaii, my wife, Danielle, and I knew a life shift was happening. A connection to the land — this island — was built on that trip, leading us to relocate permanently to Captain Cook, Hawaii. It was there that we came across a six-acre Kona coffee farm that had fallen into neglect. Nurturing this farm back to life strengthened our relationship with the island, taught us the true meaning of sustainability and allowed us to become advocates for organic farming beyond our own acreage. Today Hala Tree Coffee Farm consists of nearly 100 acres, and we’ve built a network of like-minded coffee farmers looking to become fully organic. While organic processes may not change the taste of the coffee beans (the environment here takes the credit for that), the organic processes show respect to the land that produces them. We’re firm believers that authentic Kona coffee is organic and that shifting toward regenerative agriculture is vital. Globally, but especially on an island, just being “organic” is no longer enough.  Moving from ‘minimizing impact’ to regenerating  Our motivation to make a career out of farming stemmed from a love of the land. We wanted to work with this island, not take from it, and leave it even better than we found it. Learning the intricacies of Kona coffee farming from the ground up highlighted the need for organic practices early on. While sustainability is important no matter where you live, living on an island increases the urgency. Our soil, our trees and our water eventually connect to the ocean that surrounds Hawaii. While we want to care for the island itself, the consequences of not using organic practices can reach to the mainland United States and beyond, carried by the currents. Even small island farms leave a lasting effect — both positive and negative — on the environment globally. And because Hawaii must import large amounts of produce (resulting in 600,000 pounds of CO2 released into the atmosphere for each flight from San Francisco to Hawaii), regenerative agriculture is imperative for our state. One major way to do that is to shift the way farming is done, especially for key crops such as coffee. Until recently, Hawaii was the only U.S. state that grows coffee beans (California has just started), and Kona coffee is coveted around the world. The mix of rain, quality soil, sunshine and elevation on the island creates the perfect environment for farming coffee beans. The conditions truly can’t be reproduced elsewhere, and that’s why the Kona coffee farming community is passionate about the environment and our island. At Hala Tree, we focus on two key areas: our soil and our trees.  We focus on topsoil regeneration by using perennial peanuts as ground cover to nourish the soil and anchor it. Our farm, as with most coffee farms in Hawaii, covers sloped areas prone to runoffs. Ground cover is vital to stabilizing our soil; we focus on the regenerative piece by choosing materials that give back to the soil. During pruning and clipping seasons on the farm, everything cut from the trees is spread on top of the current soil throughout the farm. We also use natural fertilizer made from fish bones throughout the farm. Wildlife is also a consideration with ground cover; we must ensure that we are not restricting movement or harming native animals. These species are key to the land’s ability to regenerate, and we must work with them, not around or against.  New trees are continuously planted on the farm to boost carbon sequestration. We have about 100,000 trees under our management, each being carefully maintained with organic practices.  Part of our initiative to move toward regenerative agriculture is helping other local farmers obtain organic certification. This initial process can be time-consuming and cost-prohibitive for small farms; for example, the weed maintenance piece is a tall order in a wet, humid climate where plants grow at astounding speeds. By bringing more farms under our wing and helping them on the organic path, we aim to better equip the agriculture community to embrace regenerative farming.  What’s good for one is good for all  While smaller farms may have the most to gain from going organic, the upfront cost to earn that designation can be prohibitive. Materials, tools, processes and labor need to be accounted for, not to mention the cost of certification. Farms also must be fully organic for three years before a certification can be awarded, adding a time investment on top of cost. For a small farm with just a few acres, this may be impossible to achieve alone. In order to create more organic farms and better serve the planet, larger farms (and perhaps even corporate brands ) need to prioritize the sharing of resources and support. In order to create more organic farms and better serve the planet, larger farms (and perhaps even corporate brands) need to prioritize the sharing of resources and support.   Our own expansion as a company is partially fueled by mentoring other farms. The territory here can be difficult to work with, given the grades of hills and the need for special equipment. We help smaller farms by sharing resources and, in some cases, we manage their acreage to support their journey toward organic certification. Our partners either pay a fee or share a part of their harvest with us in exchange, making organic farming attainable while ensuring that they still see profit. It’s a form of regenerative agriculture itself: We’re investing in the community that invested in us, keeping everything local. Other types of agriculture are starting to use this model, and more need to follow. The wine industry is similar to coffee in terms of cultivation, harvest and processing. Established vineyards with organic certification can lift up neighboring vineyards and share their resources. When more organic wine enters the market, consumers are more likely to try it, which benefits the newly established organic farms and boosts the industry as whole. While new technology can help this process, machines can’t fully replace people or mimic the value of a strong, supportive network. That’s why we all need to work together. We hope to see farms of all kinds on the mainland and beyond consider the model we’ve created in Hawaii. We need more minds behind innovation in this area to continue growing and making regenerative practices accessible. While living on an island initially may have raised our sense of urgency for going organic, it’s no less imperative for our farming community in other U.S. states and around the world to shift their practices. While sustainability discussions can feel overwhelming and difficult, we have an opportunity in the agriculture community to show fellowship, support and positivity — and perhaps improve products and profits along the way. Pull Quote In order to create more organic farms and better serve the planet, larger farms (and perhaps even corporate brands) need to prioritize the sharing of resources and support. Topics Food & Agriculture Regenerative Agriculture Organics Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Hala Tree Coffee Farm owners Danielle and Jean Orlowski. Courtesy of Charla Photography Close Authorship

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Natural pink walls make up this eco-friendly hotel in Oaxaca

July 7, 2020 by  
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Designed by studios Taller Lu’um and At-te, the Monte Uzulu boutique hotel in Oaxaca, Mexico has doors made from  local wood  and walls crafted with a combination of concrete, earth and natural lime. The name comes from the word gusulú, meaning “beginning” in the region’s indigenous Zapotec language. As the hotel resides in the small fishing village of San Agustinillo, the designers wanted to honor the land surrounding the site by modeling the hotel to be close to nature. The  Pacific Ocean  can be found just a short walk away from the property, and construction kept as many trees as possible intact to make less of an environmental impact. According to the architectural team, a roughly 1,000-year-old jungle surrounds the hotel, so respecting the trees became a pivotal part of the design plan. Related: Ancient Mayan-inspired Casa Merida operates off the grid in Mexico Monte Uzulu’s balance with nature shows in its construction materials, which include natural elements such as locally-sourced wood,  soil  and dried palm leaves. A pink rendering of earth, lime and natural pigment covers the concrete walls, applied by hand and palette knife. The open-sided structure, moveable wood walls and thatched roof are modeled after the palapa design that is native to this part of western  Mexico . This design promotes natural ventilation and less sun exposure, making it perfect for the area’s hot weather. Six rectangular structures with gabled roofs connect with a series of stairs, making up 11 guest suites and about 7,782 square feet of total area. Each room has a terrace overlooking the jungle and ocean, with interior  concrete  walls left exposed to match the concrete floors and fixtures. Local artisans crafted the furniture, such as shelves and bed frames, using local wood. Sustainability measures, including a  rainwater collection system , water recycling system, natural water pools and a biodigester to convert organic waste, are implemented to reduce the hotel’s environmental impact even further. + Monte Uzulu Via Dezeen

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Natural pink walls make up this eco-friendly hotel in Oaxaca

A 20/20 view of sustainable packaging

June 15, 2020 by  
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A 20/20 view of sustainable packaging Cheryl Baldwin Mon, 06/15/2020 – 00:00 This article is sponsored by Pure Strategies . Sustainable packaging is a keystone issue for corporate sustainability. As one of the first environmental concerns companies began to tackle proactively, interest and efforts had notable resurgence in the last few years, partly spurred by the attention on ocean plastic.   Then the pandemic hit, and the market changed — characterized by higher demand for single-use packages and bags, and lower availability of recycled materials. When we look ahead, are we on the path to a circular and sustainable system for packaging? From paper vs. plastic to reusable vs. single use Shopping bags have long been a focus in sustainability — from looking at greenhouse gas impacts (paper is higher) to litter (plastic has more challenges) and significant policy action. A shift away from a focus on single-use design emerged. Studies pointed out that bags that are effectively reused can be the best environmental option.   Food service and consumer goods companies also were exploring this shift to durable packages for reuse. Over one-third of the participating product and packaging companies reported to the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment that they are testing such options. While the pandemic impacted momentum for reusables in shopping bags and food services (for various reasons), it did not stop the growth of these solutions for consumer goods. Studies pointed out that bags that are effectively reused can be the best environmental option. Helping blaze the trail is TerraCycle’s Loop program. Consumer brands partner with Loop to offer products in a durable package that when empty, get collected in various channels, cleaned and sanitized by Loop, and then refilled by the manufacturer for another use. Such commercially cleaned reusable packages or consumer refillable packages are poised for growth, given their two-pronged benefits of hygiene and sustainability. Recycling takes center stage Reusable solutions are one path of a circular economy, but there is far more effort to advance another circular approach, recycling. Companies have more goals for designing for recycling and recovery, and increasing recycled content than other packaging issues. Designing recyclable packages begins with using recyclable materials. Colgate-Palmolive redesigned its toothpaste tube to be made of high density polyethylene (HDPE), instead of the traditional mix of plastics and metal that is not recyclable. Another design strategy is to avoid mixing materials. Paper cups usually have unrecyclable plastic coatings. Smart Planet Technologies developed a recyclable cup solution, and collaborative efforts such as the NextGen Cup Challenge likely will spur additional advances. Designing for recyclability, however, is not the silver bullet. Used packages need to be recycled. Recycling rates generally have been on the rise in the United States, adding up to about 50 percent of packaging and containers being recycled . However, that is largely comprised of paper and cardboard (75 percent of recycled packages). Only about 13 percent of plastic packages are recovered in the U.S. Adding to this, the pandemic led to a decrease in recycling.   Companies are improving consumer communication about recycling, such as using the How2Recycle label. There is also investment in developing recycling infrastructure and collaborating on solutions for harder to recycle items — such as The Recycling Partnership initiatives, the Materials Recovery for the Future initiative to increase film collection, the Hefty Energy Bag for chemical recycling, and the Closed Loop Partners funding expansion of recycling capability. To close the recycling loop, the recovered material needs to be used. While companies have committed to using it, fossil fuels prices were declining and then tanked during the pandemic, driving virgin plastic prices well below recovered plastic. The availability of recovered materials also decreased. Undoubtedly, companies will question their plans to increase recycled content in the current market.   To close the recycling loop, recovered material needs to be used. Companies relying on recycling as the way to effectively manage their packaging after use have a responsibility to support the end market for recovered material by continuing to use recycled content. There will be obstacles with price and availability , but they can be managed with measures such as investing in infrastructure development and design improvements (such as removing extra packaging material). Seeing the forest for the trees Responsible fiber sourcing goals were among the first sustainable packaging targets, with many expiring in 2020. Loblaws met its target in 2018 by sourcing recycled or certified fiber. IKEA, Procter & Gamble and most other companies are on track to meet their 2020 targets. While progress has been made, sourcing fiber responsibly is still a gap for too many companies. The Consumer Goods Forum and others also see a need to take fiber sourcing to the next level, reaching beyond responsible sourcing for each company’s supply chain to landscape-level approaches that reach additional suppliers within a region and support infrastructure and policies to get to a ” forest positive ” approach.   Responsible sourcing also fits into climate strategies. With over 800 companies committed to setting science-based climate targets , impacts from packaging are being evaluated. Colgate Palmolive, General Mills and Walmart have included packaging improvement in their climate programs. In addition to sourcing, reducing packaging material use is effective. As this is a cost-savings opportunity, it has been a core approach in sustainable packaging. Since 2010, Procter & Gamble had a 13.5 percent reduction in packaging material intensity and Unilever an 18 percent reduction. Room for innovation Exciting sustainable packaging developments emerged from the aim to remove chemicals of concern. Coop in Denmark led the way when the retailer stopped selling microwave popcorn until it could offer its private brand product without the harmful chemicals typically used on the inside of the bag. The new bag was not only free of the chemicals of concern but also became recyclable. There has been a growing effort across other products to remove these grease-proofing chemicals, called per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) that are used on paper-based packaging. While paper should be recyclable, the Sustainable Packaging Coalition stated that intentionally added PFAS makes a package not widely recyclable, and Norway is set to ban its use. Footprint was one of the first companies to offer fiber-based packages that are PFAS-free and certified compostable. About 5 percent of U.S. households have access to curbside composting collection — a long way from being a widely available circularity solution. Bioplastics, while sometimes compostable, can be recyclable. In 2009, Coca-Cola launched a bottle made with 30 percent bio-based polyethylene terephthalate (PET). By 2015, it had a 100 percent bio-based PET bottle, as other companies are looking to do the same. Further, bio-based polyethylene (PE) is found in recyclable rigid and flexible packages.   About 5 percent of U.S. households have access to curbside composting collection. Sustainable packaging is not yet a reality, but there has been progress with reducing packaging weight, sourcing fiber responsibly and exciting developments in material health and bio-based options. There remains a notable gap in building a circular packaging system.   Reusable options are emerging, but still niche, and closing the loop with packaging is faced with price premiums for recovered material and low recycling rates, especially for plastic packages. The launch of the New Plastics Economy Commitment in 2018 spurred over 200 businesses, including the largest companies such as Walmart, Target, Nestle and Unilever to aim for 100 percent reusable, recyclable and compostable plastic packaging by 2025.   These ambitious targets and related initiatives have brought extensive collaboration within and across industries, bringing hope for the ingredients necessary for progress: efficient and safe design, responsibly sourced materials and a circular packaging system.  Pull Quote Studies pointed out that bags that are effectively reused can be the best environmental option. To close the recycling loop, recovered material needs to be used. About 5 percent of U.S. households have access to curbside composting collection. Topics Design & Packaging Circular Economy Corporate Strategy COVID-19 Forestry Sponsored Pure Strategies Circular Packaging Reuse Recycling Fiber Sourcing Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article On Consumer brands partner with TerraCycle’s  LOOP  program to offer products in a durable package that when empty, get collected, sanitized, and refilled for another use. Such refillable packages are poised for growth, given their two-pronged benefits of hygiene and sustainability.   Courtesy of Loop Close Authorship

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Airy Santa Monica Canyon home embraces views of nature and art

May 27, 2020 by  
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Reclaimed materials, a world-class art collection and an indoor/outdoor lifestyle combine in this recently completed Los Angeles residence designed by Santa Monica-based firm  Conner + Perry Architects . Built for  Los Angeles natives, this luxurious four-bedroom family home with large windows and a natural material palette was thoughtfully inserted into a wooded Santa Monica Canyon. Salvaged materials taken from the old existing home on-site and felled wood found on the property have been repurposed into beautiful focal elements for the house, such as the grand entry doors and outdoor furniture.  Designed to embrace the “quintessential California indoor/outdoor experience,” the two-story Santa Monica Canyon home opens up with fully pocketing glass exterior walls to a central courtyard with a pool and outdoor shower. Extended canopy-like cantilevered eaves protect from the sun. The charred wood ( Shou Sugi Ban ) siding, copper, exposed steel and concrete materials that wrap the home’s exterior were selected for their organic nature and their low-maintenance, climate-compatible qualities.  To pay homage to the history of the site, which was used as a Forestry Service test station for Eucalyptus tree testing in the 1910s and 1920s, the architects  salvaged  much of the original 1940s cabin that once occupied the property. Related: New Santa Monica City Services Building will produce more energy than it uses The home interior takes cues from nature and includes a mix of massangis gray  limestone  and French oak used for the floors, weathered brass, blackened steel elements and a variety of marble and tiles. The warm yet restrained palette also provides a neutral backdrop for the clients’ world-class art collection; the interior floor plan was designed to frame views of either the art pieces or landscape views. “Each of them has described the house as having a magical or mystical quality, allowing light in at the right moments, as well as the shadows of the trees , and a calming mirroring effect,” Kristopher Conner, Conner + Perry Architects co-founder, said. + Conner + Perry Architects Images by Taiyo Watanabe

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Italy’s Relaunch Decree helps homeowners install solar photovoltaic systems for free

May 27, 2020 by  
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Italy has been hit hard by COVID-19 and is attempting to jump-start its economy through the Relaunch Decree, a revitalization package of 55 billion euros ($60 billion) that Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and his cabinet passed earlier this month. The stimulus includes tax breaks for clean energy projects and renovations; Italian homeowners are offered free rooftop installations of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems through the Relaunch Decree. To help Italy recover from the coronavirus-induced recession, incentives — like tax credits for homeowners pivoting toward energy efficient home improvement projects — are offered. According to Ernst & Young’s Global Tax News , “Individuals can offset 110% of qualified building renovation and energy efficiency costs incurred between 1 July 2020 and 31 December 2021 against their tax liabilities in five equal installments (up to certain thresholds).” Related: First home solar pavement installed on a driveway PV Magazine explained that the bonus is “for building-renovation projects from 65% to 110% and a jump in support for PV installations and storage systems associated with such renovation projects, from 50% of costs to 110%.” Any solar photovoltaic installations for the next year-and-a-half will be subsidized. Only a few weeks ago, Green Tech Media warned that Italy’s subsidy-free solar sector had stalled due to the pandemic, placing many projects on hold. While the solar industry is no stranger to vicissitude cycles, the pandemic added unexpected variables. “For the sector, the Relaunch Decree is certainly a great opportunity for the spread of photovoltaics on the roofs of Italian homes,” said Paolo Rocco Viscontini, president of PV association Italia Solare. Italy’s investment incentives for solar should come as no surprise, since Statista describes Italy as “the leading country worldwide for electricity consumption covered by solar PV.” Since the early 2000s, Italy has been a strong proponent of solar installations. In 2017, it unveiled its National Energy Strategy — a 10-year plan to decarbonize, expand renewable energy and promote energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. As of early 2020, Italy is second only to Germany in the photovoltaic sector, with solar power as the country’s preferred renewable energy source. In 2019, Italy had a 69% increase in solar photovoltaic installations compared to 2018. That growth was deemed “the most substantial recorded in Italy” by PV Europe with a grand total of 56,590 new solar power system installations in 2019, of which 50,653 were residential. While COVID-19 dampened photovoltaic growth for Italy’s first quarter of 2020, many nonetheless hope that the Relaunch Decree’s incentives can support a swift restart of the solar PV sector. Tom Heggarty, principal solar analyst for global energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie, said , “Solar [projects are] pretty quick to develop and construct. So once we start to see restrictions lifted, the industry should, theoretically, be in a good place to bounce back quite quickly.” Via EY Global Tax News , PV Magazine , Green Tech Media , Statista and PV Europe Image via Giorgio Trovato

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Italy’s Relaunch Decree helps homeowners install solar photovoltaic systems for free

Italy’s Relaunch Decree helps homeowners install solar photovoltaic systems for free

May 27, 2020 by  
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Italy has been hit hard by COVID-19 and is attempting to jump-start its economy through the Relaunch Decree, a revitalization package of 55 billion euros ($60 billion) that Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and his cabinet passed earlier this month. The stimulus includes tax breaks for clean energy projects and renovations; Italian homeowners are offered free rooftop installations of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems through the Relaunch Decree. To help Italy recover from the coronavirus-induced recession, incentives — like tax credits for homeowners pivoting toward energy efficient home improvement projects — are offered. According to Ernst & Young’s Global Tax News , “Individuals can offset 110% of qualified building renovation and energy efficiency costs incurred between 1 July 2020 and 31 December 2021 against their tax liabilities in five equal installments (up to certain thresholds).” Related: First home solar pavement installed on a driveway PV Magazine explained that the bonus is “for building-renovation projects from 65% to 110% and a jump in support for PV installations and storage systems associated with such renovation projects, from 50% of costs to 110%.” Any solar photovoltaic installations for the next year-and-a-half will be subsidized. Only a few weeks ago, Green Tech Media warned that Italy’s subsidy-free solar sector had stalled due to the pandemic, placing many projects on hold. While the solar industry is no stranger to vicissitude cycles, the pandemic added unexpected variables. “For the sector, the Relaunch Decree is certainly a great opportunity for the spread of photovoltaics on the roofs of Italian homes,” said Paolo Rocco Viscontini, president of PV association Italia Solare. Italy’s investment incentives for solar should come as no surprise, since Statista describes Italy as “the leading country worldwide for electricity consumption covered by solar PV.” Since the early 2000s, Italy has been a strong proponent of solar installations. In 2017, it unveiled its National Energy Strategy — a 10-year plan to decarbonize, expand renewable energy and promote energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. As of early 2020, Italy is second only to Germany in the photovoltaic sector, with solar power as the country’s preferred renewable energy source. In 2019, Italy had a 69% increase in solar photovoltaic installations compared to 2018. That growth was deemed “the most substantial recorded in Italy” by PV Europe with a grand total of 56,590 new solar power system installations in 2019, of which 50,653 were residential. While COVID-19 dampened photovoltaic growth for Italy’s first quarter of 2020, many nonetheless hope that the Relaunch Decree’s incentives can support a swift restart of the solar PV sector. Tom Heggarty, principal solar analyst for global energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie, said , “Solar [projects are] pretty quick to develop and construct. So once we start to see restrictions lifted, the industry should, theoretically, be in a good place to bounce back quite quickly.” Via EY Global Tax News , PV Magazine , Green Tech Media , Statista and PV Europe Image via Giorgio Trovato

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An abandoned Chinese village is reborn as an interactive art destination

May 27, 2020 by  
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With 1 billion people estimated to be living in Chinese cities in 2050, China is seeing hundreds of thousands of its rural villages abandoned. In a bid to bring renewed life to one of its 102 abandoned villages, the Government of Jinxi tapped Dutch firm NEXT Architects to sustainably revitalize the ancient village of Dafang. Created in collaboration with IVEM (Dutch Institute for Cultural Heritage and Marketing), Smartland (landscape design), Total Design (graphic design) and numerous Dutch and Chinese artists, the recently completed Holland-Dafang Creative Village transformed a dilapidated village into a new hub for the arts. Spanning an area of 43,000 square meters, the Holland-Dafang Creative Village serves as an inspiring model of rural revitalization achieved by a multidisciplinary team of Chinese and Dutch architects. Led by the design strategy “adapt to newness,” the entire village of Dafang has been renewed with three main strategies: thoughtful restoration of the architecture and landscape; the construction of new public facilities; and the re-programming of spaces through art and activity. Related: MAD reactivates an abandoned Japanese tunnel using surreal immersive art Although Dafang has over 900 years of history, years of neglect has led to its deterioration. The architects restored the historical architecture with new materials, such as the use of glass roof tiles on the roofs of old houses and the resurrection of an ancient irrigation system with a new, natural helophyte filter for water purification . New construction was also added, including a sculptural watchtower — a throwback to the defense structure popularly used in ancient times — with a twisting form loosely resembling a giant Chinese “dragon column”. The team also included a new camphor tree-inspired public hall set on the former site of a courtyard building that had been destroyed in the Cultural Revolution. The designers also gave the restored landscape and architecture new purposes, from rehabbing old buildings into a new village museum to the creation of a library and artist studios. “Rural revitalization is one of China’s key future developments,” said John van de Water, partner of NEXT Architects in Beijing. “We believe this asks for the design of balance between old and new, living and visiting, history and future.”  + NEXT Architects Images via NEXT Architects

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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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Futuristic Safezone Shelter battles air pollution in Thailand with a green oasis

March 18, 2020 by  
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According to the World Air Quality Index of 2019, the city of Bangkok suffers from unhealthy levels of air pollution most of the year. In a bid to raise awareness about air quality and the urban heat island effect, Thai design collective Shma Company created Safezone Shelter, an ephemeral pavilion filled with air purifying plants and technology to create a welcoming gathering space for passersby. Shaped like a cloud, the sculptural intervention was briefly installed in front of the Grand Postal Building during Bangkok Design Week 2020.  In contrast to the brutalist architecture of the Grand Postal Building, the 150-square-meter Safezone Shelter features a futuristic, organic shape with a white nylon covering to evoke the appearance of a cloud. The white textile allows light to diffuse through while hiding the interior from outside views. Inside, the designers created an unexpected oasis filled with tropical plants, informational signage and seating, which also includes part of the postal building’s steps.  Related: Architects design giant air purifying towers to fight Delhi’s air pollution To create a cooling microclimate, the designers engineered the pavilion to pull in hot, polluted air with fans and pass it through dense vegetation to capture dust particles. This “pre-filtered wind” is then passed through a dust filter plate and a cooling plate to purify the air . In addition to the cool air flow generated by fans, the trees, shrubs and ground cover help keep the pavilion’s interior temperatures to between 72 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit. A humidifier maintains humidity levels of 50% to 70%. Recorded nature sounds, such as the sounds of water and birds, are also played inside the space. “All of these inventive methods could further be applied to solve air pollution in other kinds of design,” the designers explained. “Looking wider at an urban scale, bus stops, recreational space under expressways and skywalks also have a potential to be revitalized with such purification systems. At the end, even high-rise buildings might become old-fashioned when a better choice like an air purifier tower could be constructed.” Safezone Shelter was put on display from December 2019 to February 2020.  + Shma Company Images via Shma

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