Entries tagged with: green
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Polyface Farm ~ it was one of the few pit stops we've made here in Virginia while visiting family... and WOW. While i will openly admit, i know little about sustainable agriculture and farms - dan has been raving about this place and their philosophies and systems ever since he read "Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan (where the author actually lived on the farm for 2 weeks to fully understand their incredible process!)
"At Polyface, we want every animal to eat as much salad (green material) as its full genetic potential will allow"
Knowing i can't do the full story justice, consider this post a launching board to poke those of you who are remotely interested to find out more... but here's my quick version. First thing to grab me driving up was definitely the logo ~ such a cute entrance sign! With the fish in the chicken in the cow in the tree! Poly-face certainly makes a lot of sense with its multifaceted farming. Essentially the beauty of this farm is its earth/life centered approach, which thrives on a fantastic sense of balance achieved through understanding what these animals and plants need to thrive year round ~ instead of optimizing for speed or fattening things up, they've managed to create a sustainable farm in harmony. Most of their species are in a rotation - to keep the cows from overgrazing and consuming their own waste, to give the chickens a chance to pick through and find all the best grubs as well as feed, to turn pigs into "Pigaerators" (tasty corn ferments encourage them to aerate all fertilizer for the farm naturally), water that is collected in their various ponds and wells from winter runoff keep them self-reliant, and so much more i can't even begin to explain. And from a design perspective, i was fascinated reading about the ways they utilize mobile electric fences and Eggmobiles to facilitate this whole process!
Bottom line? The eggs, sausage, and bacon i tasted were truly incredibly tasty and worth the drive (if you go out there, def get the apple juice too, we thought the jug was HUGE, but it disappeared in about a day - who knew even the toddlers would love it so much?)... the family running the farm was intelligent, kind, and passionate about every aspect of their process, and eager to share their wisdom. If you make it to these parts, you definitely want to roadtrip over and try some of the goods - since they are only available there, and in select restaurants nearby! So, continue your journey, read more about Polyface Farm here!
i was out wandering far out in the fields visiting some chickens and their adorable, huge guard dog ~ and got caught in a thunderstorm, which left me completely drenched in a little green sundress ~ so not as many pictures as i would have liked to show you on the next page - but i was a bit preoccupied with the wetness and protecting the camera! Still - some fun ones! (and big thanks to Robert Frysinger for contributing some of his pics as well.)
Charcoal can be messy stuff... luckily for us dynamic design duo, Mike and Maaike, have tackled this process with their new Baja BBQ Firepack for Design Annex/Lazzari. The design of the packaging as a recycled, functional aspect of the process is just genius.
"The Baja BBQ Firepack is charcoal packaging that lights instantly and burns away in the grille, making the barbeque experience simple, clean and chemical free. Made from 100% recycled biodegradable paper pulp, the package contains 2 lbs of natural lump charcoal and features an integrated chimney that creates perfect hot coals in 15-20 minutes without the aid of chemicals or lighter fluid. Available at gourmet supermarkets. Manufactured by Lazzari/ Design Annex - patent pending" See the process in pics on the next page...
Ran into blogfamous Sorapot designer, Joey Roth, a few times this weekend (yes, the first NOTCOT reader i ever met)... and after posting about his Garden Geta project over 3 years ago, i FINALLY got to see them in person!!!
At the Rubin Chapelle and IDSA New York Opening reception for Equilateral 08:01, they had Joey's Sorapot, Garden Geta, and Shika literally on pedastals, spotlighted for all to see, and being slightly early, but spotted walking past the window while they were setting up, Joey snuck me in early and i got some nice clean shots of the woodiest flip flops i've been dying to try on since '05. I am still in love with the fact that the pair are cut from the same slice of tree stump... and there must be some correlation to be drawn if he made kids pairs that were from younger trees... something about rings in the tree measuring your geta/shoe size? So check out more pics on the next page...
With a billion things/people/places to see, and a seemingly endless events to attend... its been super fun, in that crazed hectic way, and now i've taken the day to enjoy my bed - that is literally COVERED in press kits and a desktop filled with hundreds of photos... its a work day! To catch up on some posts... and today, we'll start with the incredible Artek installation in Gansevoort Square.
The simple Artek Stool 60 has been an omnipresent design icon... from schools, jails, kids rooms, restaurants, you'll see them everywhere... but no where is it as amazing as walking into Gansevoort Square and seeing what from afar appeared to be a coliseum of them.
As the press release says... "The innovative and strong L-leg construction is based on the technique of bending solid wood that was invented and refined by Alvar Aalto and Artek from the 1930s onwards. The famous Stool 60 designed in 1933 is the archetype of functional furniture. In Gansevoort Square, New York, Artek celebrates the anniversary of the stool 60 by building an installation of hundreds of stools. The round tower invites people to use all their senses to experience the installation. The stools made of untreated birch bring the scent of pure forest in the middle of New York and people are free to feel the natural, refined surface and structure of the stools." Check out my pics on the next page for the full experience!
Finally! The Vitamin I.V. Plant Pot ~ self watering via I.V. bag... is available for purchase! It sure seems to be larger than i initially imagined, and is priced at 160 pounds. It's available in classic white and limited edition black and included with the lightweight fiberglass plant pot is a height adjustable metal rod, a refillable I.V. bag and a flow regulator that allows you to set watering rates to suit your plant. See close ups on the next page...
On more sneak previews of ICFF launches, how adorable is Hanno the Gorilla? "From the deepest jungles comes Hanno the Gorilla! Like Hanno the Navigator, the Greek voyager who discovered gorillas 2,500 years ago, your Hanno is brave, strong, and curious. Hanno's powerful hardwood frame can hold many poses. His elastic-band muscles and durable wood limbs make him almost impervious to breakage. Hanno cannot fly and is vaguely afraid of heights. Hanno is made from sustainably harvested new-growth beech wood." He is the brainchild of David Weeks, and will be available from Areaware's new AREAWARE jr. (their new children's division) starting in Sept 08. Check out a close up of this guy on the next page!
I received an email with the subject line: First Paperless Architecture Book EVER: Piel... and with such a bold claim i initially wrote it off... 'paperless' just sounded like a silly spin on 'digital'. Anyhow, as time permitted, i came back to it, and found that it has a pretty sweet interface and isn't 'just a digitized book' ~ sure, it has the flashy corner peels and page flips - but what is nice, is how it utilized the fact that this is an architecture book, and it built in links to google map views of each building featured!
Check out Piel.Skin - About skin: This book is the result of two years of architectural research. Dynamic facades, ventilated, high-tech or traditional composites with new features. This book shows that currently new skins not only act as an isolating element, besides interact with the environment, optimizing energy exchange with the outside. From Germany to Australia or Korea to Colombia, there are many examples that readers can visit with this publication. With international vocation due to bilingual English-Spanish text and a language away from technicalities, this paper aims to show as an "interactive toy" the evolving field of the facades in architecture.
Piel.Skin is an experimental web book aimed at architecture students. The book literally surfs on several projects, jumping from exceptional exteriors in Asia to intelligently optimized facades in Europe. The book allows playing a virtual tour dedicated to google-earth travellers: By means of clicking on the coordinates of each project begins a journey where you can jump directly to each site and visualize the project within its environment.
I think this is the most interesting Reusable Bag story yet... Target teams up with Newsweek and Terracycle to create reusable totes out of fused target plastic bags! Finally - a recycled reusable bag that looks like the bags it came from and is replacing! And that's not all... the Newsweek aspect is fascinating as well - you rip off the cover of the latest "green" issue, and are taught how to tape up the cover into a prepaid envelope that you can put Target plastic bags in, and mail them in for a coupon to get one of the Terracycle $6 ReTotes for free in a Target Store. Basically the bags end up feeling much like those blue/yellow IKEA bags ~ a bit on the crunchy side, and probably waterproof (with the exception of the seam perhaps. See the press release here.
So in usual NOTCOT fashion, we couldn't help ourselves, and picked up an issue, took a few sneaky shots in Target of the display, and walk you through the whole process in pictures on the next page! I suppose my one biggest question is... these bags made in Vietnam, are they actually out of bags people have recycled? Or did they use new bags to make the first batch of bags to get this whole program rolling?
Happy Early Earth Day (it's tomorrow) - we have a sneak peek from the girls at Delight who are touting this new bag line as the next big thing in the reusable bag market. They were even nice enough to send over a set for me to play with early to share my thoughts... (so my pics of it in comparison to others, on the next page!). These new RuMe bags are larger than any of the others i've come across, which can be good and bad... good: they hold more in less bags! bad: they make me look like a midget when carrying them full... while they are also lightweight - their material is a bit on the crunchier side (mom of the NotEmpire, and our official reusable bag tester explained the difference as... the envirosax felt more like an umbrella material, whereas the RuMes were a bit more like a raincoat)... but i do like the velcro strap that ties these together, and that it hangs INSIDE, unlike the envirosax which leave the button dangling as you carry the bag. Anyhow.... there are two sets of colors, the "Sillicon Valley" greys and blacks, and the "Spring in New York" set of colorful brights. See below for more pics of these in context!
Happy Pi Day ~ and for all of you who wonder where all these crazy posts and ideas and inspiration come from... well for the sake of my amusement, here's something silly i ended up with tonight (blame the lack of sleep and insanity that is LA this week... also Linhchi brought me a sun jar and combine that with my vinyl cutter.... ) Naturally all the craziness that you see propagating across the network comes from somewhere! But where? My glowing jar full of NOTCOTs! (Whatever a NOTCOT may be, that, as surprising as it is to most, is still quite unknown). So for today's random project, NOTCOTs are like fireflies, visual manifestations of all the crazy inspiration lighting us up?
Ok, so basically, Sun Jar+ Vinyl Cutter = Jar of NOTCOTs (and this will probably continue to evolve into other ideas...) Also, on Sun Jars, although i've gifted and recommended these solar powered glowing jars often, this is the first time i've been gifted one! And i must say for the next one i gift, i will ditch the packaging, personalize it in some subtle way for the recipient, and present it as simply the jar, with a beautiful ribbon to tie a notecard on. See more pics below! (also the dissection of my sun jar...)
Beautiful print ad campaign for GE's Ecomagination... view the full set of the Blueprint Series after the jump. They are "all part of our blueprint for a better world", covering water, solar power, home, wind power, and cleaner coal. What i like in particular with this campaign are the infographics overlayed on beautiful scenic national geographic-esque shots... with clear bold statements, they let you simultaneously appreciate the natural settings, why thinking about how to execute the diagrams. "Two-thirds of the world is covered in water. Shouldn't three-thirds of the world's population be able to drink it?" Yes.
That is a giant hand held switch. They call it a remote, but i think giant powerstrip switch works a bit better... especially since it even comes with a wall plate where you can magnetically dock it like a light switch. As mentioned in my Top 10 CES Cravings ~ this is the Belkin Conserve Surge Protector. As we've all been hearing,even when off, plugged in electronics are still slowly sucking energy... so here's one way to actually cut off power to the tv, laptop/phone/mps chargers, etc when not in use. The interesting thing here (besides the awesome switch and magnetic mount) is that there are two plugs on the power strip which will stay on regardless (perfect for alarm clocks, tivos, etc), and the others are controlled with the switch. And if you have multiple ones of these? Well they wont interfere with each other since you can set the channel on the back, but if you have more than 6, be careful. Also, i worry about wandering over to a neighbors and turning their lights on and off... or vice versa... but Belkin seems to think that would be a luxury problem... although after watching the TV-B-GONE in action at CES, i'm not sure. I'd hate to have a desktop lose power because of an incident like this. How about some more secure pairing technology? See more images of it in action and close up after the jump!
"Mottainai Furoshiki" has been created by Yuriko Koike, Japan's Minister of the Environment, as a symbol of Japanese culture to reduce waste. Furoshiki is a Japanese traditional wrapping cloth which is used repeatedly in a stylish way. "The utilization of this "Mottainai Furoshiki" will contribute to reducing household waste from plastic bags. The Minister presented the "Mottainai Furoshiki" at the Senior Officials Meeting on the 3R Initiative held in Tokyo, Japan on March 6-8, 2006."
In the words of Minister Koike herself: "I've created what you might call a "mottainai furoshiki". The Japanese word mottainai means it's a shame for something to go to waste without having made use of its potential in full. The furoshiki is made of a fiber manufactured from recycled PET bottles, and has a birds-and-flowers motif drawn by Itoh Jakuchu, a painter of the mid-Edo era. The Japanese wrapping cloth known as the furoshiki is said to have been first used in the Muromachi Period(1392-1573), when people spread it out in place of a bath mat or wrapped one's clothes with it. The furoshiki is so handy that you can wrap almost anything in it regardless of size or shape with a little ingenuity by simply folding it in a right way. It's much better than Plastic bags you receive at supermarkets or wrapping paper, since it's highly resistant, reusable and multipurpose. In fact, it's one of the symbols of traditional Japanese culture, and puts an accent on taking care of things and avoiding wastes."
Perhaps what i need isn't a reusable bag... well i'm not sure how well i could do this for a BAG of groceries anyhow, but certain for gift wrap it opens up my options! Time to stock up on everything from Hermes scarves to fabric store scraps? See the chart of how to fold the designs after the jump. (Thanks, Craig!)
Although this post trilogy on Cup Noodles started out in good fun, and we found ourselves giggling and amused by the 20 ads as well as the custom Cup Noodles... we became inspired by the innovative thinking behind this brand when stumbling across a pdf from Nissin Foods about how "Cup Noodle Looks Ahead", where President Komori sat down with Koki Ando, president of Nissin... For the most noteworthy excerpt first:
Making the impossible possible. One of my plans for our company is to double the number of 'eccentrics' in Nissin Foods. As a manufacturer, we must continue to make new breakthroughs. We must 'make the impossible possible,' and common-sense individuals often can't accomplish this. Breakthroughs can only be achieved by those who are a bit eccentric. organizations, however, necessarily aim at efficiency, and eccentrics, who may only work one week out of a year tend, to vanish from the organization. When the chips are down, though, these people are capable of great feats. Corporate leadership must find and keep these valuable human resources. By 'encouraging eccentrics' we can achieve our impossible dreams.
Isn't that an inspiring thing to hear someone in a corporation say? That passage has given me a whole new level of respect for Cup Noodle - don't get me wrong, i'm also slightly horrified to find that the noodles are deep fried for efficiency, and are really mostly fat and salt... so luckily we don't indulge in the college staple often! As for the sweet Eco Style Cup Noodle Refill pack? Read more below...
On more affordable designer options on green friendly reusable shopping bag options... Beau Soleil has stepped in with their new Beau Bag. "A stylish grocery sack! Price is affordable to entice people to help the environment without shelling out a lot of cash." It is $44 at ShopBop, $40 at Beau Soleil, and $25 (shipping in Jan) at El Sueño Verde. The typography was nice and clean on this one, and its great that there are snap pockets on all sides (including inside!) for all those random magazines, packs of gum, keys, etc! ~ see below for closeups.
Gift Guide Day 9 ~ wow can you believe its day 9 already? Well today i rounded up some of our favorite Reusable Shopping bag options ~ some we use and love, some we covet and think would certainly be more unique! And to mix things up a bit, i also picked a few fun woody accessories!
Respect Your Mother by Local Celebrity... as a t-shirt, this one sky rocketed around the celeb world in green and blue, and as trendy as some things can become, i've always had a soft spot for this design. Loved it secretly, but part of me would never wear it here in LA, maybe while abroad though! BUT, i just spotted that they now have a canvas tote bag with it, and simply had to add it to my pick of the moment for reusable shopping bag options... or for my laptop and other random "won't fit in purse" schlepping. Close up below, and expect this one to show up on the green gift guide to come!
Gift Guide Day 20! This is part two of yesterday's animal inspired guide... and thus plant inspired! This back to back pair are definitely ones i've been tempted to start buying the most things off of so far... well maybe these and the tech one too... well the things i don't already have anyhow!
Noon Solar. Just in time for holiday wishlists... a line of solar bags that look great. I am currently debating whether to order the black Cortland Tote.... and they were smart enough to put the solar panel on one side so you can easily choose whether to face it outwards, or have it face your body and look like a sleek leather tote... well a tote with "entire exterior and interior constructed from Bavarian sourced, chrome-free, naturally tanned and dyed, full-grain cowhide leather and naturally dyed hemp cotton blend" to be precise. It looks like the perfect size for a 15" macbook pro... close ups below of the bags and the technology within... read more about the solar power and battery pack here. Also a great potential gift for the men in your life... their Logan Satchel in brown. Isn't it about time someone put solar panels to aethetically appealing use? (Yes, i'm thinking of you, ugly solar backpacks.)
I just got the sweetest email from Claire Sambrook, a senior lecturer of Creative and Cultural Industries at the University of Portsmouth, and i'm not sure why, but i think its refreshing to have someone sharing their student's work! I've had so many conversations recently about how there must be so many great student projects going unshown simply because they don't know how to market themselves, or are shy and maybe don't have much of an internet presence. Anyhow, she's shared this interesting "Perfect Perch" by 22 year old James Chu, a third year student in product design. His goal is to fill a need for "portable, cheap, lightweight and eco-friendly furniture" and he's thinking ahead already to all of the branding opportunities for these “Somewhere like Goodwood Racecourse could commission 1,000 carrying their name or a sponsor’s message and people could use them at the racecourse and then take them home afterwards. They would make excellent souvenirs.” The chairs have gone into production thanks to Hemingway Design and the South Coast Design Forum.
Why, yes, this IS yet another option for your reusable grocery shopping bag collection. From one of our favorite designers, Alissia Melka Teichroew in collaboration with her husband, Jan Habraken (of WATdesign), and Charles and Marie come this line of canvas shoppers with bags printed on them... So far they have shown off pics of Blue Tote/Pink Clutch and Pink Tote/Blue Clutch, but they just gave us an exclusive sneak peek of the one that is coming in a few weeks... Caramel Tote/Silver Tote! Which certainly seems to be a fun one to shake up some of that supermarket check out monotony.
P.s. does Alissia sound familiar? That might be because you know her inside out martini glass and diamond rings we posted about earlier. And if you're needing some reminding or a quick catch up on the many reusable bag posts, see below.
Bleu Nature's product line feels like what a five star lodge/igloo/boutique hotel in the woods in the flintstones would be furnished with... Something so natural with their use of found driftwood mixed with lush furs, and leathers... or as they say "Streamlined, sharp silhouettes, strikingly, contrasting materials, this winter, bases are ultra-flat, curves are more pronounced and furniture oscillates between trendy inspirations and Arctic breezes. Bleu Nature explores the nuances of polar white and revisits the concept of the modern igloo. Outside-blizzards and snow, inside, the warmth of driftwood, the softness of fur and the dazzling brilliance of enameled metal…" Beyond these globe like stools are some luscious day beds, couches, bookshelves and stools... remember that bed Odysseus made for Penelope? Carved out of the living tree that was rooted into the ground? Somehow these pieces feel like the perfect furnishings to have alongside it.
So continuing from where the last post lead us (from Triops and Sea Monkeys to venus fly traps and praying mantis to ant farms to gel antfarms and gel plant kits)... the gels. So as we began to read into the variations of these gel ant farms and also being able to watch seeds grow roots in this magical mystery gel, we got really curious and wanted to find just the gel (imagine what you could design with it). And along the way we remembered the plant water gel crystals that soak up tons of water that you can grow plants in. The only problem with those was can you crush them up, mix with warm water, and mold it to be smooth like jello? (we don't know, do you?) Then we also discovered jello pudding cup like 6 packs of root gel... and than i finally tracked down some manufacturers in china that actually sell the magical ant farm gel (and ant farms in hills and boots ~ see pictures below to make sense of that). Also did you know some people are using this same gel for dieting?!?!?! You eat it, then drink a ton of water which it will soak up, and it will make you feel full?
NOTCOT Note: Here's another article from Anna Corpron of Sub-Studio!
The third-ever Solar Decathlon took place two weeks ago from October 12 - 20 at Washington D.C.'s National Mall. The Solar Decathlon was established in 2002, with the purpose of educating a new generation of students about the possibilities of energy-efficient design and also as a vehicle for educating the public about renewable energy and energy efficient homes. Twenty US and international university teams took part in the competition, with each team competing to design and build an energy-efficient solar-powered house. The various universities spend two years developing their designs and ideas, and also undertake the fundraising and technical research needed to build an energy-efficient home. The houses are essentially pre-fab units, built off-site first and then transported to Washington D.C. and reassembled on-site at the Mall.
The winning team was the Technische Universität Darmstadt from Germany. Can you imagine transporting the house from Germany to D.C. (it came by boat)? The home focused on the concept of passive energy and was designed essentially as a box with three layers - an outer layer of oak, louvered screens that generate electricity with photovoltaic energy, a middle layer consisting of energy efficient walls and windows, and an interior core that houses the kitchen, bathroom and the majority of the building systems. Besides the outer skin of screens that allow you as much or as little privacy and light as you wish, I really like the multi-functional spaces, and TUD's innovative use of the floor which can be opened up to reveal a sleeping area. [Note: All photos are credited to Kaye Evans-Lutterodt/Solar Decathlon]