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The Dark Side of Social Media 2012

17 Jan
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For the love of wood

30 Sep

Wood is both universal and unique. No other material is as deeply embedded in the history, culture and life of humans worldwide as wood, yet every single piece of wood is unique.

The color tone, texture, durability, flexibility and even sound qualities of different tree species have puzzled and challenged artists, architects, designers, builders and artisans for thousands of years.

Still today, nothing matches wood in versatility or beauty, so it is great to see how today’s designers and architects continue to face the challenge of wood, and use it creatively to interpret sleek, modern designs.

They use wood to meet their current needs and desires for which wood is ideally suited. People seek calm surroundings, simplicity and minimalism to soothe their frayed nerves and to counter the constant visual overload they face. Wood’s warmth and natural beauty works wonders for creating a sense of balance and calm.

People also look for sustainable alternatives, eco-friendly options, greener solutions. When harvested, managed and used sustainably, forests are still the source of the greatest material on earth.

We especially love the influence of Scandinavian and Japanese traditions that we can detect in today’s wood architecture and design. Minimalist, functional, beautiful, and light in both color and weight.

Scandinavian building and design traditions are based solidly on the use of wood. Finnish modernist master, architect Alvar Aalto, stunned the world with Living Wood, his design for the Finnish Pavilion for the Paris World Exposition in 1937. In the pavilion, he combined both traditional and modern architecture and showcased his functionalist design sensibilities. It was considered one of the boldest and most innovative pavilions of the Expo.

Earlier, Aalto’s exploration of the limits of bent wood and mass production had resulted in the  Paimio chair (1931) and other furniture classics, and had a permanent impact on how furniture looks even today. Aalto’s work influenced many other modernist masters including Charles and Ray Eames and Eero Saarinen.

The use of wood in Japanese architecture and design is characterized by austere construction methods, the lightness of materials, the connectedness between indoors and outdoors, and the way in which buildings merge with their surroundings.

With hardly any furniture used inside, Japanese master craftsmen were able to focus their skills on the buildings themselves, on skilful joining of sections without nails, and on revealing, rather than covering or adorning, the original texture and tone of the wood.

Wood as a material has held a charmed place in architecture and design for both its simplicity and complexity. It lends itself to imposing, bulky structures, yet also yields to delicate, undulating forms that seem lacy and transparent.

We love this lightness and elegance, the play of light and shadow, the countless tones of color that can be achieved with skilful use of wood both structurally and decoratively.

In more and more residential projects, both big and small, architects and designers are finding new, creative ways to reveal and highlight the beauty and versatility of wood. They manage to create structures that appear current and cool, yet also exude a classic, timeless elegance.

Every day, we come across images of fantastic single-use residences, recreational cottages, furniture, decks and patios, where the qualities of wood are perfectly matched with the users’ needs and the requirements of the surroundings as well.

In retail and hospitality, wood is also making an impact. We love the blocky, clean look of the Aesop stores. At the other end of the spectrum a good example is the lightness and playfulness achieved in RDAI Architects’ use of wood-slat “huts” as departments in the Paris Hermès store built inside an old hotel swimming pool.

In not just eco-lodges, but also in luxury resorts, spas and hotels, wood is becoming the material of choice. As guests are looking for a retreat, a sense of being back in nature, a quilt-free, tranquil vacation, resorts are responding with wood-frame structures, wood interiors and sustainable solutions that also look fabulous.

Wood is not trendy yet it is incredibly cool. It is a demanding, noble, ancient, living material that we have the privilege to use and enjoy. In wood, the architect, designer and builder face the exhilarating challenge of the sculptor — to reveal the character of the specific species, the individual tree. And we, the viewers and users of their work, have the opportunity to discover it for ourselves. We are looking forward to more. – Tuija Seipell.

At TCH, we are so obsessed with wood that we even created Treelife, an event to showcase the most innovate work using wood in the design of Treehouses.

Source: http://www.thecoolhunter.net/article/detail/1993/for-the-love-of-wood

Getting back to nature

30 Sep

 

We will never tire of the positive effects of nature. Its calming, soothing and inspiring influence will never go out of style. The more we rush, the more time we spend indoors staring at our screens and devices, the more urban our lifestyles become, the more we crave and need time away from it all.

It has been amazing to follow the newest solutions to the old dilemmas: How to bring more green space to cities; how to reclaim underused urban land for recreational and other “green” uses; how to provide more and more people the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of spending time in nature.

Lately, we have seen fantastic examples of how designers and architects, urban planners and citizens’ organizations have accomplished both large and small-scale projects, from bringing a bit of greenery, and open space to otherwise bleak surroundings, to large-scale neighborhood-changing undertakings.

The most prominent of these large-scale projects in the past few years has probably been New York’s Highline, the “park in the sky” that reclaimed a deemed-to-be-demolished industrial transportation structure for recreational and other uses.

It has been a massive project in all aspects of the word, and it has also become a poster-project whose publicity is helping other projects get off the ground. We hope it will continue to give citizens’ organizations, city officials, designers and architects encouragement and inspiration as they tackle smaller projects, or even ones bigger than Highline.

We expect much more reclaiming of industrial and transportation lands, more green roofs, more natural features replacing concrete and asphalt, more walking and hiking paths, more waterways for recreational use, more spectacular viewing areas, more urban sanctuaries, more trees.

Getting back to nature is not a new phenomenon. For hundreds of years, wealthy city dwellers have travelled to summer residences and summer resorts, and withdrawn to their cottages and lakeside retreats. They’ve enjoyed fresh air in their gardens and hunting estates.

Of course, the need for recreational options has escalated since the industrial revolution. People, even ordinary citizens, now needed a place to catch their breath. They lived in more and more urban environments and also had the previously unknown luxury of a few days off per month.

Children went to summer camps, adults went hiking and camping, entire families went on long drives in recreational vehicles. Tourism boomed and being in nature became the vogue thing to do. And it has remained so ever since.

As we seek balance in our hectic lives today, we see solutions outdoors. “Green space” in the widest sense of the word in cities and surrounding areas is beneficial from recreational, ecological, economical, social and health purposes, but mostly we love it because it is just plain beautiful.

We love gardens and parks, ponds and water features, playgrounds and sports fields, open plazas, avenues and boulevards. We want more of it because even the smallest green feature lifts our spirits, while the wide open spaces can change our lives. – Tuija Seipell

 

Source: http://www.thecoolhunter.net/article/detail/1994/getting-back-to-nature

Deep Space Photo’s : Hubble’s Greatest Hits

19 Aug

The $1.5 billion Hubble rocketed to space aboard the space shuttle Discoveryon April 24, 1990. It’s named after Edwin Hubble, a pioneering American astronomer who furthered our understanding of other galaxies and demonstrated that the universe is continually expanding.

About the size of a large school bus, the Hubble orbits at a speed of five miles per second, 353 miles above Earth. At that velocity it can cross the United States in about 10 minutes and circle the globe in an hour and a half.

Amazing Places To Experience Around The Globe (Part 1)

24 Jun

Preachers Rock, Preikestolen, Norway

Blue Caves – Zakynthos Island, Greece

Skaftafeli – Iceland

Plitvice Lakes – Croatia

Crystalline Turquoise Lake, Jiuzhaigou National Park, China

Four Seasons Hotel – Bora Bora

Ice skating on Paterswoldse Meer, a lake just South of the city of Groningen in the Netherlands.

Marble Caves, Chile Chico, Chile

The Gardens at Marqueyssac http://www.frenchmoments.com/Marqueyssac.html

Ice Canyon – Greenland

Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver, British Columbia

Valley of the Ten Peaks, Moraine Lake, Alberta, Canada

Lake Agnes Tea house hike, Banff National Park, Canada.

Multnomah Falls, Oregon http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multnomah_Falls

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall on the South Coast of Iceland

Petra – Jordan (at night)

Verdon, Provence, France

Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park, Tasmania, Australia

Norway Alesund Birdseye of City

Benteng Chittorgarh, India

Riomaggiore, Italy

Keukenhof Gardens – Netherlands.

Sky Lantern Festival – Thailand

The Wave is on the slopes of the Coyote Buttes, which are in turn located in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, on the Colorado Plateau, Arizona.

Mount Roraima – Venezuela.

Seychelles

Restaurant near Sanyou Cave above the Chang Jiang river, Hubei , China.

East Iceland.

Lucca, Tuscany, Italy.

New York City.

Source: http://www.thecoolhunter.net/article/detail/1957/amazing-places-to-experience-around-the-globe-part-1

Spiral growing tubes enable farming in small spaces

8 Jun

 

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1st June 2011 in Eco & Sustainability.

 

Gardening in bottle caps is a fun concept that’s well-suited to urban settings, but consumers interested in growing more substantial crops might be better off with Whirligro instead. Targeting those with limited growing space, Whirligro uses spiral-shaped tubes to elevate food crops off the ground and enable greater production.

Designed primarily for fast-growing leaf crops, Whirligro uses durable, transportable growing tubes that can each hold three plants. Each Whirligro unit, in turn, holds 10 tubes spiraling around a central post, offering the combined ability to grow 30 plants in an area smaller than one meter by one meter. Plants grow through holes in the plastic tubing, reducing any weeding requirements to a bare minimum; because the plants are off the ground, meanwhile, pests tend not to be a problem, the device’s Scottish maker says. Watering can be done by hand or with a small drip irrigation system. Pricing for the Whirligro ranges from GBP 55 to GBP 140, depending on size.

No end in sight to the urban gardening trend. Who will help bring the Whirligro to urban farmers in your neck of the woods?

Website: www.whirligro.co.uk

 

Source: http://www.springwise.com/eco_sustainability/whirligro/

The Mountain – Amazing Time-lapse

19 Apr