11 inspiring designs we loved at Milan Design Week 2018

April 26, 2018 by  
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Designers awed and inspired attendees at this year’s Milan Design Week with fresh takes on contemporary design. From unexpected uses for wood and recycled materials to advanced lighting technology , we spotted countless incredible projects throughout the event — read on for 11 of our favorite designs from Milan Design Week 2018. Sila lamp by Zsuzsanna Horvath Helsinki-based Hungarian architect Zsuzsanna Horvath developed the Sila lamp – an elegant lamp that emerges from a two-dimensional plane of laser-cut birch plywood. The lamp’s structure is made with thin, delicate slivers of plywood connected by a flexible OLED panel. With its soft light and delicate shape, this lamp is a perfect addition for quiet and cozy interiors. Bread chair by Mika Tsutai This Bread Chair by Japanese designer Mika Tsutai is definitely an object of good taste… and good humor. Inspired by the unpredictable shape of bread, Tsutai kneaded dough — real dough, made from flour — shaped it into a chair, and baked it. The baked piece was scanned, and a digital model was created. The designer used this model to carve the same shape from wood. The unique shape reflects the random swelling of bread after baking. Macaron seat by Kalo Kalo created the Macaron Seat by using locally-recycled bits of rubber. Each seat is crafted by pressing a mold onto a wooden frame. This seat catches the eye using juxtapositions: smooth wooden legs contrast with a textured seat and a shining brass element along the edges of the dark rubber. Halo lamp by Mandalaki Designed by the Milan-based Mandalaki office, the Halo lamp is a bold combination of art and technology. Unlike most lamps, Halo does not provide neutral white illumination. Instead, it dyes space with vivid, unexpected colors. The vivid colors are produced by analog optical decomposition instead of an RGB LED. Mandalaki developed a dichroic filter to divide the pure luminous flux, or the measure of perceived light, into a vast spectrum of colors. Sundial clock by YOY You don’t need sunlight to use this Sundial wall clock by Tokyo-based design studio YOY. Although at first sight it seems to be a real sundial, it is only an illusion. Part of the “Fictionality” collection, this clock has a regular bar as the minute hand and a “shadow” as the hour hand, which is imprinted on the clock’s face. Surprisingly, the entire clock rotates to show the correct time. Plug It by Studio Oberhauser Instead of discarding thousands of small wood scraps from the industrial production of furniture, Studio Oberhauser created Plug It to exemplify the beauty of recycling. The studio suggests that stacking the comb-shaped wood chips to craft pieces of furniture can be a fun and functional game for everyone. Sea of Plastic by EcoBirdy EcoBirdy’s main goal is to reduce the sea of plastic . To do this, the company crafted children’s furniture entirely from recycled plastic. Plus, each item can be easily recycled again. The Antwerp-based designers have also involved children in this socially- and environmentally-responsible act by designing a storybook and a school program that teaches children about sustainable living. D.01 bench by Davide Montanaro Wood appears to be a stiff and rigid material, but it can be made to bend with just the right touch. Dukta is a unique incision process that can make wood into a flexible, manageable material. Davide Montanaro used this process to design the plywood D.01 bench and ensured the piece had character with its smooth shape and distinct pattern. S-Lab clock by 4R 4R made the S-Lab clock using recycled plastic. The entire production process, from collection to melting and molding was completed in-house. The designers were able to control the color, pattern and texture of the clock. With this project, the team hopes to continue working and exploring with plastic in their designs. Woodencap by Rootpecker Rootpecker has made design history by creating the first wooden cap in the world. The hat is handmade in Germany and features a smooth, flexible wood surface and intricate stitching. The company aims to source only eco-friendly materials for their unique products. Paper and Light by Denis Guidone and Tomoko Fuse Designer Denis Guidone and origami artist Tomoko Fuse created Paper and Light to blend classic and contemporary techniques. This project includes a series of lamps made from folded washi, a traditional Japanese paper. The folded light installments illuminate the area and create playful shadows. + Milan Design Week Images via Maria Novozhilova for Inhabitat

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11 inspiring designs we loved at Milan Design Week 2018

Soldiers reportedly kill forest defenders in Cambodia after they challenged illegal loggers

January 31, 2018 by  
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Government forces reportedly attacked a forest protection ranger, conservation worker, and military police officer in a part of northeastern Cambodia that grapples with illegal logging, the Associated Press reported . The soldiers killed the forest defenders in what seemed to be retaliation after the three-person team seized equipment from illegal loggers , according to officials. Senior environmental official Keo Sopheak said, “The three were killed not by robbers or a guerrilla group but they were shot by government armed forces who backed the illegal timber cutting.” The three-person team had been patrolling the Keo Seima wildlife sanctuary , according to the Associated Press, which described them as the latest victims in a trend of environmental defenders murdered by people seeking to exploit natural resources for financial gain. They’d confiscated motorcycles and chainsaws from Vietnamese people illegally logging, Sopheak said. Per the Associated Press, security forces in Cambodia sometimes work with illegal loggers who then smuggle the timber into Vietnam nearby. Related: 2017 Goldman Environmental Prize recognizes 6 activists who risk life and limb to protect the environment On their page about the Keo Seima wildlife sanctuary, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Cambodia said the Seima Protection Forest (SPF) “boasts more than 60 species that are Globally Threatened, Near-threatened, or Data Deficient by IUCN criteria. The area is home to 25 different species of carnivore, including Tiger and seven other species of wild cat. The SPF is of international importance for the conservation of primates , Asian elephants, wild cattle, and several species of birds.” Sopheak said the civilian killed was a WCS Cambodian employee. Illicit wood trade is a multimillion dollar affair across southeast Asia , per the Associated Press, with China as a major market. The Keo Seima sanctuary reportedly contains valuable timber alongside threatened wildlife species. Via The Associated Press on The Guardian Images via Flickr ,  Depositphotos and Pixabay

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Soldiers reportedly kill forest defenders in Cambodia after they challenged illegal loggers

World’s first biofuel flight between the US and Australia powered by mustard seeds

January 31, 2018 by  
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The world’s first biofuel flight between the United States and Australia landed in Melbourne after a 15-hour trip. The Guardian reported the blended fuel was 10 percent derived from brassica carinat, which Qantas describes as a “non-food, industrial type of mustard seed.” They said the use of blended biofuel in the flight would save about 18,000 kilograms, or around 39,683 pounds, of carbon emissions . A Boeing Dreamliner 787-9 soared between Los Angeles and Melbourne in the trans-Pacific biofuel flight. The trip saw carbon emissions reduced by seven percent compared against Qantas’ usual flight over the route. Per the airline, “Across its lifecycle, using carinata-derived biofuel can reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent compared to traditional jet fuel .” Related: Watch a Boeing 737 and a Tesla Model S battle it out Brassica carinata works as a fallow crop , meaning it can be cultivated between regular crop cycles, per The Guardian. Qantas said the crop can be sown in fallow areas, and is water efficient. Steve Fabijanski, CEO of Agrisoma , the agricultural-technology company behind the crop, said in a statement, “Biojet fuel made from carinata delivers both oil for biofuel and protein for animal nutrition while also enhancing the soil it’s grown in.” The crushed seeds can produce a high-protein meal for livestock, poultry, and dairy markets, according to Qantas. One hectare of the seed yields 2,000 liters, around 528 gallons, of oil, according to Qantas. That can produce 400 liters, or around 106 gallons, of biofuel, and 1,400 liters, around 370 gallons, of what the airline described as renewable diesel. University of Sydney agriculture expert Daniel Tan told The Guardian farmers can use mustard seeds as a source of sustainable fuel , saying, “Almost within a day after harvesting, they can press the oil out in their own shed and use it straight into their tractors.” Field trials have shown the crop should do well in Australia’s climate. + Qantas Via The Guardian Images via Qantas ( 1 , 2 )

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World’s first biofuel flight between the US and Australia powered by mustard seeds

Stunning chapel in Japan brings a fractal forest indoors

December 13, 2017 by  
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Not all chapels need stained glass windows and soaring archways to take your breath away. This Japanese timber chapel in Nagasaki injects a stunning fractal-like forest indoors for an instant wow factor. Yu Momoeda Architecture Office designed the minimalist chapel with floor-to-ceiling windows to take in sweeping views of the surrounding views of the national park and sea. The boxy 125-square-meter Agri Chapel is a modern interpretation of Oura-Tenshudo, Japan’s oldest timber gothic chapel and national treasure that’s also located in Nagasaki. In contrast to its 19th century predecessor, the new-build chapel is a modernist temple of glass and steel. Seven-meter-tall windows on all sides of the building frame different views of the landscape including the sea, park, mountains, and hills. Related: Mexico’s gorgeous Sunset Chapel looks like a gigantic boulder The tree-like wooden units inserted into the interior are made up of three layers with varying thickness of cedar . Steel rods provide horizontal support. The timber installation’s fractal pattern is based off of 45-degree rotations. Simple wooden furnishings complement the vertical timber supports in the otherwise all-white building. + Yu Momoeda Architecture Office Via ArchDaily

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Luxury private-island resort in the Maldives aims for minimal site impact

November 2, 2017 by  
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A new paradise destination has surfaced on the waters of the jaw-droppingly beautiful Maldives . Singapore-based WOW Architects recently completed the St. Regis Maldives, a luxury hotel that extends out of a private island. In hopes of minimizing the resort’s impact on the landscape, WOW architects implemented prefabricated timber systems and uses local labor and materials whenever possible. Covering 16,000 square meters across land and water, the St. Regis Maldives comprises 77 villas divided into four experiential zones—lagoon, beach, coastal, and jungle—each defined by different anchoring activities connected via a meandering art trail. The hut-like building forms and spaces take inspiration from nature, with maximum use of cross-laminated wood and minimal use of concrete and steel. Landscaping focuses on conservation of existing island flora and fauna, as well as replacement of displaced plant material with native species. Related: World’s largest underwater restaurant installed in the Maldives “The local people live in a delicate balancing act with nature, and are totally dependent on trade, technology, and tourism to sustain themselves,” wrote the architects. “Thus, when we were given an opportunity to design a Maldivian resort hotel, we chose to delight the senses through education, creating awareness, and new paradigms of interacting with the physical environment. Here, paradise is emotionally and intellectually experienced and enjoyed, but with a profound awareness of the complex relationships of the eco systems being inhabited.” + WOW Architects Images 2018 copyright WOW Architects | Warner Wong Design

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Luxury private-island resort in the Maldives aims for minimal site impact

Office with arched openings shows off the beauty of cross-laminated timber

March 29, 2017 by  
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Increasing numbers of architects are celebrating the strength, beauty, and sustainable properties of cross-laminated timber . Japanese architecture firm Junichi Kato & Associates shows off how the timber can be used as both a structural and finishing material in the Santo CLT Office. Built in Japan’s Shiga Prefecture, this nearly 140-square-meter office building houses warm and welcoming workspaces with arched openings. Inspired by the climbing kiln in Shigaraki, a town famous for ceramics, Junichi Kato & Associates introduced an arch -shaped continuous frame into the building structure. A raised wooden terrace wraps around two sides of the building and is partly shaded by the roof overhang. The walls and floors are constructed from cross-laminated timber, while foam insulation and low-e glass improve energy efficiency. Related: Taiwan’s first CLT building paves way to greener alternatives to concrete and steel The office is entered from the west and visitors are immediately greeted with an exhibition space, reception desk, and a small informal meeting area. A wall divides the entrance area from the large working space in the center of the building. The night-duty room, shower, and toilet are located in the rear. Large windows fill the office with natural light which, coupled with the ample use of wood, gives the office its cozy and welcoming character. + Junichi Kato & Associates Via ArchDaily Images by Kei Sugino

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This showroom in China looks like a piece of paper floating on water

December 5, 2016 by  
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The design of this showroom and management office in China was inspired by a piece of paper floating on water. FMD Architects designed the building as an addition to a large industrial office park in Minhang District, Shanghai, and combined exposed concrete, wood and steel to give it an industrial feel. The designers created the building to look like a piece of paper floating on water, only touching the surface in two points. Its simple structural system comprises a concrete base and core, wooden columns and a sloping roof that shelters a double-height space . Related: Tesla’s Red Hot and Green Los Angeles Showroom The concrete base protects the wood from the elements, while the solid concrete core takes most of the horizontal loads. Additional natural light is introduced through the skylight which also improves natural ventilation . The architects chose to hide all the lights and equipment, leaving exposed only the original concrete, wood and steel joints, giving the entire space an industrial feel. + FMD Architects Via Archdaily Photos by Yinhui Wang

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This showroom in China looks like a piece of paper floating on water

Americas largest modern timber building pieces together like LEGO

November 30, 2016 by  
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The nation’s largest timber building has officially opened its doors in Minneapolis. Designed by Vancouver-based Michael Green Architecture and Architect-of-Record DLR Group , the seven-story tower is the first modern wooden building of its kind to have been built in over 100 years. Created from prefabricated timber panels, the 224,000-square-foot building’s structural system was quickly pieced together like LEGO blocks on-site at a speed far exceeding conventional steel-framed and concrete buildings. Located in Minneapolis’ North Loop neighborhood, T3 mimics its historic warehouse neighbors with its blocky shape, but steers clear of the heavy bulk. The wooden building’s structural system—mostly cross-laminated timber and nail-laminated timber—weighs approximately one-fifth of similarly sized concrete buildings. 180,000 square feet of timber framing was installed in less than 10 weeks. The majority of the wood is beetle-kill pine sustainably harvested from the Pacific Northwest. The prefabricated timber panels were combined with a spruce glulam post-and-beam frame, all of which sits atop a concrete slab. Related: White Arkitekter wins bid to design Sweden’s tallest timber building The 224,000-square-foot mixed-use building houses office and retail space in a light-filled modern interior that celebrates the timber construction. “The entire timber structure of T3 was left exposed and illuminated with a percentage of the interior lighting directed up to the ceiling,” said Candice Nichol, MGA Associate and T3 Project Lead. At night, “the illuminated wood glows from the exterior similar to a lantern.” + Michael Green Architecture + DLR Group Images via Ema Peter

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Americas largest modern timber building pieces together like LEGO

Swedish rnsro Timber Town relies on wood to lower its carbon footprint

June 2, 2016 by  
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Created in collaboration with Slättö Förvaltning , the approximately 18,000-square-meter Örnsro Timber Town comprises residential units as well as plazas and other structures for social meetings and recreation. The solid timber-framed buildings will be built to a variety of heights for visual interest. Residents and visitors will be encouraged to walk or bike through the neighborhood along the ‘activity route’ that snakes through the quarter and connects to existing promenade sections along Svartån creek. Related: C.F. Møller’s Solar-Powered Wood Skyscraper Wins HSB Stockholm Architecture Competition “We wish to create an including urban quarter in which the city’s urban and social qualities interact with the park’s organic structures. The proposal illustrates a vision with the objective to create an exciting place in Örebro, of unique value, with innovative architecture ,” said Ola Jonsson, the project architect at C.F. Møller. “For us, it is an obvious choice to choose solid wood for structure as well as façades of wood. In addition to contributing positively to the environment, wood gives us new opportunities to create innovative and value-creating architecture.” + C.F. Møller Images via C.F. Møller

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Swedish rnsro Timber Town relies on wood to lower its carbon footprint

This Canadian passive house factory was built from its own prefab wood panels

May 27, 2016 by  
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The firm estimates the factory will produce 971 fewer metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, when compared to a facility built from concrete. A heat-recovery ventilation system and incredibly well-insulated walls help reduce carbon emissions, making the BC Passive House Factory as efficient as any of the houses its products build. Screens made from two-by-fours make up the building’s facade, with each side featuring unique spacing between the wood to accommodate its relation to the sun. The firm stated, “The two-by-fours were prefabbed into screens and left unfinished to naturally weather over time.” Natural light from clerestory windows is abundant for the workers inside, creating a warm complement to the wooden walls. The ceiling is an especially unique tribute to responsible construction, as the beams are made from cedar wood felled from a nearby forest fire. Related: Turkey’s first certified Passive House cuts energy use by 90% Recently, the 1,500 square meter site was awarded the coveted 2016 Governor General’s Medal in Architecture . The factory hopes its accolades and commitment to sustainable and energy-efficient design will help to promote the presence of passive houses near and far. +Hemsworth Architecture Via Dezeen Images via Ema Peter

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This Canadian passive house factory was built from its own prefab wood panels

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