Monday, 2 November 2009

Norwegian Coppers

If you happen to be near St. Louis, don’t miss the exhibition ”Lost in Nature” about Jarmund Vigsnaes, one of Norway’s most interesting architectual practices, at the Steinberg Hall Architecture Gallery, Washington University. On display until Nov 29. If not, have a look anyway, here or here.
During 2010 the exhibit will be at the State University of New York (Buffalo, NY, USA), the Museum of Nordic Heritage (Seattle, WA, USA), the Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada) and in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).
Image: Svalbard Science Center. In copper.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Textile Times

Have I told you about Hedvig? She’s an industrial designer, specialized in textiles. And, sadly, that’s far more controversial than you might think. We’re in the year of 2009 and live in country famous for its attempts to achieve equality between men and women. Still, textiles are considerad a “female” material in the “male” industrial design business.
Although this is about to change, according to Hedvig, who wants to give a softer and more human touch to common household devices like radiators and vacuum cleaners.
Her ”Knitted radiator” is made by textile heating cables usually intended for floor heating. And ”Collapsible hoover” is an all textile vacuum cleaner. The fact that the plastic shell is stripped away make it much less energy-intensive to produce than the typical vacuum cleaner. Not to mention that it’s more flexible and lightweight.
These times, there are a lot of reasons to cut the crap. In the design business and elsewhere. And that´s exactly what Hedvig did.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Summer promises

Green vinyl might seem like a contradiction in terms, as vinyl is a plastic and plastics traditionally are based on oil. But Swedish manufacturer Bolon, who is into woven vinyl flooring, now claim that they will become the first company in the world to switch entirely to using plasticizers based on renewable resources. Sounds promising. I’ll come back to this. But first I’m off for summer holidays. Back in August ➽ September!

Friday, 12 June 2009

Green roof invasion

Green roofs seem to be in every architects mind for the moment, judging not only from the ongoing exhibition “The Future of Architecture is Green” at Louisiana Museum outside Copenhagen. And of course green roofs do a lot of good, for the climate as well as for the people in the building, who get their own green spot. But are green roofs always for the better? Or are they being used as a form of "greenwrapping" to put buildings where they shouldn't be? Look at Treehugger under slideshows and judge for yourself.

Image: The building hiding under this green roof is the Nanyang University School of Art in Singapore.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

House warming

The world’s first zero carbon emisson house lives in Denmark. The Active House, as it’s called, was developed to be a more comfortable and user-friendly response to the Passive House, which has set the standard for sustainable living in the last decade. Passive houses rely on incredibly effective insulation, plus a heat exchanger that warms fresh air on the way in during winter. A true Passive House has no conventional heating system because, in theory, it doesn't need one. In practice, owners tend to install back-up systems, because it's no fun even to risk being cold.
Rikke Lildholdt, project manager for the Active House, says "This is about living a comfortable life in a house that produces more energy than it uses."
Solar panels warm underfloor heating. Fifty square metres of solar cells generate electricity. Computer-controlled windows automatically regulate internal temperature.
British journalist Andrew Purcell doesn’t believe his eyes. In The Guardian he writes: “This is the last place you would expect to find the solar-powered home of the future. Lystrup, a suburb of Denmark's second city, Aarhus, is grey from street to sky. The spring sun, hidden behind a bank of clouds, barely seems strong enough to run a pocket calculator, let alone meet the energy needs of a family of four. But it is here that a dream of zero-carbon living is being realised.”

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Flower Power

A lamp that “burst into blossom” when your energy comsumption has been low for some time, isn’t that a great way to increase energy awareness? The Flower Lamp, developed in the research project Static! at the Interactive Institute in collaboration with Front Design, is now included in the collections of Centre Pompidou, Paris, and will be exhibited at elles@centrepompidou until May 24 th 2010. Now all there’s missing is a producer.

Friday, 29 May 2009

What a waste

Students Petter Thörne’s och Anders Johnson’s easy chair Mold looks like a piece of art made by the Brasilian Campana brothers, but is actually ment to be massproduced in Sweden. Developed to be made out of veneer waste from different kinds of wood, it not only saves the waste from it’s usual destiny – that of being burnt despite it’s low energy value – but uses it in a much more constructive way: to make new furniture. By their work the designers have converted the disadvantage of the small format veneer-waste slivers into a constructive advantage that has facilitated the double-curved surface. And the variety of veneer in terms of wood type and format make each individual piece of furniture unique. Let's hope this chair will soon find its producer.