In Architecture, Sustainability on
23rd May 2017

MVRDV Transforms Old Highway Into A Plant Village

MRDV has transformed an old 1970’s highway in Seoul into a beautiful Plant Village. This highway was initially set out to be demolished until the practice took on this project to instead, turn this into a natural walkway that follows a long route above traffic.

This is a creative opportunity, instead of just knocking down and creating even more land waste, they have provided an opportunity to put more green back in the city. The overall project contains 24,000 trees, shrubs and plants which would counter a great percentage of pollution within the city.

Swell as helping the environment, this walkway provides a scenic pedestrian pathway through the main part of the city. During night, the plants are lit up with a blue light to counteract the yellow traffic, which creates a beautiful artwork.

In Architecture, Lookbook, Reviews on
25th April 2017

Top 5 Architectural Designs for April.

Now I know what you’ll be thinking, I’m a little late to the April party, 25 days to be exact. But has anyone else felt like this month has run away from them? Maybe some of it was spent in a chocolate induced coma…

Back to the point, here I have put to gather 5 designs that have really caught my eye during this month on Dezeen. There have been some amazing designs lately it was hard to narrow it down. Now if your like me and look at Dezeen maybe 180927 times a day, these won’t be new stories to you, but just incase you haven’t got the time to catch up, here are the very worthwhile stories.

1. Micro Hostel by Zhang Ke.

This is an awesome design, the way the buildings design responds to the awkward space is inspiring. By projecting the rooms with chaotic angular faces, the tiny space feels larger and more dense.

Micro hostel with tiny concrete rooms installed by Zhang Ke in old Beijing hutong

This is an awesome design, the way the buildings design responds to the awkward space is inspiring. By projecting the rooms with chaotic angular faces, the tiny space feels larger and more dense.

2. Green Roof and Living wall in Vancouver Residence.

Now if you’ve read any of my other blogs, it’s obvious I am a fan of a living roof… and this project by Measured Architecture does this very well. I am also a fan of the design of the staircase in this house as well.

Measured Architecture incorporates green roofs and living wall into slender Vancouver residence

3. Vo Trong Nghia’s House

The combination of the industrial concrete and natural foliage in this is beautiful. The aim was to bring life from the outside to in, whilst also creating privacy.

Planted terraces are interspersed among living spaces at Vo Trong Nghia’s Binh House

4. StudioAC’s White box.

This is a truly beautiful design. I love the diversity of the industrial apartment mixed with the ‘White-Out’ sleeping nook. This is a place I could see myself living in, especially because of the black out kitchen wall.

White box forms sleeping nook in Toronto loft by StudioAC

5. Batay-Csorba’s Urban Towerhouses.

And last but definitely not least, this beautiful facade on these townhouses. I am a huge fan of the brick cladding here, it not only creates an interesting look for the structure, it also creates more depth by casting of amazing shadows that change at different points in the day. Everything about this design is unique, right down to the massive graffiti walls covering the courtyards.

Batay-Csorba creates urban townhouses in Toronto faced with brick and wooden screens

In Interior Design, Products on
21st April 2017

The Beauty of Ceramics.

I’m a 23 year old, travelling around Australia, free of responsibilities (to a point) and yet I spend a copious amount of hours on pinterest dreaming up a home of my own and I cannot walk past any of the pretty little design shops in Melbourne without having a peak at what they have to offer.

Recently, I keep spotting ceramics popping up on both pinterest and in these little shops. I am a big fan of this as I love all of the textures and layers of colour and the fact that, if your kitchenware doesn’t match exactly it doesn’t really matter. I am especially drawn to the ceramic mugs, because I have a slight mug obsession (the fact that I have to keep travelling around Australia at some point and carry everything with me, just about stops me from buying any out here…).

So instead of pining, I’m just going to share with you the objects I would purchase,

Ive put together a few ceramic kitchenware objects that I have been keeping my eye on lately and wanted to share with you.

In Interior Design, Reviews, Sustainability on
17th April 2017

Genbyg’s Recycled Design for Nordic Restaurant Väkst

I am a big fan of Danish Studio Genbyg, this is because they have a long history with using recycled materials in their design. They not only design heavily using sustainable resources, they also sell on recycled building materials to other studios to create an easy access to sustainable design.

A recent project by this studio was a design for a new plant based restaurant in Copenhagen called Väkstis.

The word Väkst is Danish for growth and the owner wanted this to be represented in not only the menu, but also the restaurant aesthetics swell. So it made clear sense for these two to join forces and the overall creation is an indoor greenhouse style restaurant that is stunning.

The Space reflects the Nordic Kitchen, whilst also combining the atmosphere of a city and a garden. “The idea was to create a vivid and organs space, like a garden party.” explained designer Rasmus Fex.

A lot of the refurbishment of this design has a lot of history. The main framed structure is built from repurposed windows and follows the pattern of traditional Nordic greenhouse’s. The counter is salvaged from old factory floorboards, while the shelving is taken from file drawers from the National Museum of Denmark’s Archive. The glass shelving has even been reused from a palace in Copenhagen, each part of this restaurant has such a diverse and interesting story.

Every bit of this place is recycled, from the cabinets made from wooden planks, the lamps being created using old milk cans to even the ceiling coverings that had once been table cloths.

This restaurant shows a strong example on why recycling has so much more depth than just creating new. The end result is not only a beautiful design, but is rich with so much history and authenticity, its hard not too love.

The Sustainable Trend Of Cork.

Cork has been everywhere nowadays, with its lightweight and flexibility, its becoming a strong material within design. Not to mention the overall soft and lovely look. This is brilliant news for our society, because Cork is cheap to manufacture, easy to recycle and is completely sustainable.

So what makes Cork so sustainable?

It all starts where its grown. Cork grows on trees in mediterranean climates (such as Spain, Portugal, Algeria, Morocco, Italy, Tunisia and France) and the trees grow without any extra pesticides, pruning or irrigation. Instead of the whole tree being cut, the bark is harvested. This lets the tree live on to a ripe age of 250. During the Harvesting, trained workers who are paid a good living wage, strip the outer layer that does not harm the tree in any way. A good thing to know is that, even with the demand for cork nowadays, we are still very far from exceeded the amount of cork trees available.

After Harvesting, the Cork is taken to factories, where it will be dried, boiled and turned into different products. An amazing fact about these factories is that 90% of the energy used in processing cork is made from burning cork dust, absolutely nothing gets wasted from the bark from the tree.

 

The Benefits of Cork as a Material

Corks antistatic surface makes it a great resister to toxins and dust, making this perfect for people with allergies.

It’s soft cushion touch, creates a great floor or decor and it’s antimicrobial and water-resistant abilities also help combat mildew and old.

Cork is also a great material at blocking noise. Because of this, its very popular within commercial spaces or exterior walls to diminish outside noise. It’s also a great material to retain heat, making it an easy solution for homes to cut down gas prices.

It’s being used in day to day lives, from small decor details, to full on cladding. But below are a few ways it has been used in a truly magnificent way:

Surman Westman Cork Covered Studio.

This cork covered studio, provides a workspace for sewing and music-making in the back garden of a client. The cork cladding provides weather resistance to the structure, as well as acoustic and thermal insulation.

The Architects Tom Surman and Percy Weston described “The natural earthy quality of the thick cork, combined with the wild-flows rood, helps nestle the building into its organic green surroundings. ”

It’s easy to see how this was achieved, with this cork outhouse, providing the perfect space for an at home work environment.

 

Selencky Parsons Cork Lined Pod within it’s office.

In it’s own studio, Selencky Parsons has added a cork pod into its working office. The use of the cork pod, was to create a warmer atmosphere within the space, as well as creating more storage and use.

The Architects said “We wanted to create a comfortable working zone within the space, while maximising the benefits afforded by the highly visible site”. As you can see this was well achieved, as the cork pod offers so many more uses for the office, as well as bringing an edgy charm to the place.

Ikea’s Cork Furniture Collection

Ikea collaborated with London Designer Ilse Crawford, a launch of cork and natural homeware products. The Sinnerlig collection mainly features natural materials and neutral colours that would fit into any home.

The overall shapes, focus mainly on material combinations rather than statement shapes, which makes these pieces truly adaptable.

The predominant material is Cork, used in thin layers to cover table tops, to creating lampshades. Crawford explained that “Cork is very much a part of our range, because of its acoustic properties and it works great with glass”, she believes that it is an important repurposing for the material because “no one wants wine corks any more!”

There are so many new and innovative ways coming out for using cork, I hope we can carry on using this amazing product. We’ll be able to limit damages to the rainforest as well as keeping up with the new trends.

In Interior Design, Products on
9th April 2017

Bringing Galactic To Interiors.

 

Bringing the galaxy into your home is a new trend, this year, that’s really catching on. Theres something really beautiful about the galactic and celestial pattern that really works. It’s been around in fashion, but now its infecting our home decor as well.

One way thats very popular is wall murals, like above. Instead of having a a statement block wall, covering your wall with images of the galaxy and constellations is a much bolder choice. If like me, you rather keep your walls a little more stripped back, heres a few ways to add a mini galaxy in a more subtle way.

  • Adding A Moon Table:

This table by Moroso would make an eye-catching piece within your home. It’s a functional way of following this trend.

 

  • Galaxy Rug

This galaxy rug is a beautiful way to add this in, in a more subtle way. This abstract version of a galaxy is hand knitted by Front and would transform a simple room.

 

  • Pendant Light

This Pendant Ceramic Light by Anagraphic is an interesting way too add a galaxy. In the day time, it would seem like a simple pendant. Then it would come alive in the evening, where it would scatter a galaxy of stars in your living room.

 

  • Galactic Blinds

This Blinds would be a little less subtle than the others… But the idea is awesome. Being darker in colour, they would block out the day light swell as bringing a feeling of night to the room.

 

  • Alice Mirror

This Alice mirror by Italian company Slow, reminisces a moon in an alice through the looking glass feeling. The oxidised finish, really makes this beautiful.

 

  • Galactic Plate Set

This Anthropologie Galactic set would be my favourite design. The overall finish is designed so nicely, I would love to have this in my kitchen.

 

 

Getting Rid Of Down

One of the centres of peoples homes is the bed, there’s nothing that beats coming home and jumping into your fluffy clean bed sheets to cure the stress of the day…. I always look forward to this moment, of curling into my soft duvet, snuggled up with a good book. I would never imagine this to be tainted with anything but tranquility and peace. Well sadly due to the Down Feather Industry, for a lot of people this usually comes with a lot of hidden pain and suffering.

In most stores, the moment you splash out on a ‘fancier’ duvet set, it’ll be made out of down, it’s seen as a luxury item that we all need in our lives. But the procedure behind getting Down feathers is largely unheard of but so awful that it needs to be put out there so it can be avoided.

Down feathers are taken from the soft layers of feathers closest to the birds skin, generally around the neck and chest, this is due to the fact that this feathers do not have quills and provide a more luxurious feel.

They are generally taken from duck and geese during slaughter. Plucking begins when a bird is just 10 weeks old, the feathers are ripped from their skin swiftly, bringing tremendous pain and a lot of the time causing the skin to rip. This is then stitched up quickly using needle and thread (all of this under no anaesthetic of any sort), to be repeated every 6 weeks until the birds are sent to slaughter.

Another way this is achieved is from foie gras, so not only are these birds being stuffed with copious amounts of fat, they are also enduring a life full of pain.

I could keep going on about the horrors of this industry, but it’ll just make me angry. Instead here’s a link to PETA’s video, if you would like to know more:

So now we know the facts, what can we to replace this?

Theres so many different synthetic versions of bedding, mattresses and pillows that replicate the lightweight and softness of down whilst also being a hell of a lot cheaper and more hygienic too!

The materials used for these are: Ingeo (corn fibre), Tencel (eucalyptus fibre), bamboo, cotton, modal, microfibre, microclowd and primalift. So there can’t be an argument of choice. They are generally able to go through a washing machine aswell, which means that all the dust mites and bacteria that tend to collect in between down feathers would be a thing of the past.

If we all switch to these great alternatives, the demand would end, which would mean this dirty business would disappear. We all claim to love these animals, why would we want their pain in our homes?

In Interior Design, Lookbook on
1st April 2017

New Trend: Statement Flooring

Until recently, the fashionable way to design would be to use a simple backdrop with statement pieces. But this year, statement floors are becoming a new trend. This way creates so many more possibilities for design, it creates more dynamic and adventurous designs.

The Image above represents this in the best way, the designer has based most of the design on this statement floorboards, adding little detail to the rest of the design. This is successful because, the lack of business in the rest of the room stops this design from becoming cluttered.

Here are a few other ways to create a statement in your home, using only the floor…

Chevron Floors:

Chevron has come back in to style and will definitely stay around longer. So it seems right too add this into our home design as well. This design suits the natural marking of these wooden floorboards, it adds even more texture and depth.

Ceramic Tiles:

Tiled Floor is a trend that has hit back again, especially with the use of marbled tiles popping up.

Brushed Finishes:

Brushed Floorboards are a great way to add depth to a period property, it brings out a natural look and texture.

Cork:

Cork Flooring is become very popular, mainly because of its economical values and design flexibility. Cork Floors will not absorb dust or bacteria, swell as being able to reduce noise within the home.

Chip Board:

Chipboard is durable and very easy too clean. It’s becoming to be seen as a stylish and easy way to update your home.

In Interior Design, Sustainability on
28th March 2017

Why We Should Boycott Leather.

Animal Skin still has a large part in interior design, having animal products in the home is still seen as a luxury rather than cruel and leather can almost always be found in everyday lives. Being a vegan and animal enthusiast, I want to embrace a total vegan lifestyle, not just diet. To do this I am searching for cruelty free designs and I am starting with the biggest industry: Leather.

Leather look items don’t have to come with this tag of suffering, nowadays there are so many more sustainable options that do the same job. Cows have been proven to be extremely intelligent, they develop complex relationships and they even mourn their loved ones, why cause these animals pain for style?

Whenever I get into a conversation with someone who supports leather, a lot of the time its because they’re misinformed. “But don’t they use the skin of the meat industry cows, at least its not being wasted?” is one I hear often. The truth is leather isn’t a meat byproduct, the cows bred for this are ONLY used for their skin as the leather industry is such a high profile market. People also assume that it would be done in a humane way. But in most of the leather industry, the animals are skinned alive and cut to pieces until they bleed to death. Not very humane.

A large chunk comes from India, where the cows are abused and beaten to horrific states. Because of India’s laws that say you can’t harm a cow, the animals are forced to take gruelling long journeys by train, where roughly 900 cows are crammed into a wagon that should hold 100. These poor innocent animals are put through these inhumane conditions, with no food or water. Roughly 400-500 cows die each journey.

Its not just cows that are suffering for fashion. Goats, sheep, horses, alligators, deers, kangaroos, elephants are other victims of the meat industry. But the worst contributor to this is China, they are the leader of exporting leather and annually skin 2 million cats and dogs for the industry…. Because of ‘mislabeling’, most people would not know that their leather sofa might be made from dogs rather than cows. Ironically if this was more known there would be uproar, but why is a dog any different from a cow?

One truly horrifically prized style of leather is ‘Slink’, which is the skin of an unborn baby calf.

Below is a PETA video, showing more information on the leather industry, I’ll warn you that the footage is deeply upsetting. But it’s important that we know exactly whats going on behind these power corporations, otherwise the cruelty won’t end.

If getting a leather sofa in your home comes with these cruel backstories, why wouldn’t you want a cruelty free alternative? Nowadays there are so many alternatives but the one I want to talk about is Microfibre.

This material was invented in 1970 and is made from polyester, nylon, rayon and acetates. It creates a soft durable leather that is stain resistant and affordable, whilst also looking and feeling exactly like suede leather. If this was seen as the new way in design, for your home down to your handbag, we can pave a way to a cruelty free world where animals aren’t put through abuse for no reason at all. Below is an example of the Microfibre leather made into a rustic ‘pleather’ sofa, the results are so lifelike why wouldn’t you go for this cruelty free alternative?

 

 

In Interior Design, Products, Reviews on
25th March 2017

Ikea’s Recycled Kitchen

For most people, when designing your home, one of the first places you’ll visit is Ikea. It’s such an easy way to decorate, you simply walk through different sections, picking out the furniture you like and then simply collect them at the end… and I also have to mention the food hall, which lets face it, we don’t more of an excuse to visit.

Well now to make this an even better experience, IKEA have come up with a completely recycled kitchen. It’s made up of of recycled plastic bottles and reclaimed industrial wood. With the amount of plastic bottles ending up in landfill, this could be such an ingenious way of cutting back on so much waste, it proves that recycling on a large scale is very possible (which gives no excuse to how much we waste).

The design is structure is formed from the reclaimed wood while the coating is made with plastic bottles. The colouring is a lovely matt grey with a contrasting shiny black handle. John Lofgren, creative designer at Form US With Love, said:

“We wanted it to feel like a black T-shirt, tuned to fit right, practical and still precious.” 

You would assume with how much it costs in production to apply waste materials to design, that this would be coming in at a hefty price, making it not so achievable for a lot of people. But Anna Granith, product developer at IKEA, explained that:

“Overcoming the price as a milestone in the development. Sustainability should be for everyone, not only for those who can afford it.” 

IKEA is paving a way for new design at low cost. The design is effective, low-priced and economic, whilst also having a sleek and sophisticated finish. Did I also mention that it is set to last 25 years? It almost seems too good to be true.  There’s more to come too, as the company is introducing more sustainable furniture in 2017 that are ‘no waste’.