An Architect Introduces a Fresh Take on the Classic To-Go Cup
In the quest to create a sustainable alternative to the disposable paper cups used by most coffee shops, award-winning architect, Safia Qureshi, launched a new business called CupClub. CupClub creates plastic cups that can be used 132 times before being recycled. The business establishes designated cup drop-off points (often at coffee shops) throughout London, where tossed cups are then collected and expertly cleaned for reuse.
Biophilic Design Benefits Students, Even in Schools with Tight Budgets
Long before the term ‘biophilia’ entered the scientific lexicon in the 1970s, it served as an innate design practice. In Hellenistic Greek and Roman architecture, open-air courtyards functioned as the center of the home, providing a calming respite with fresh air, natural light, and views of nature. Though few homes today are built around secluded outdoor oases, biophilic elements enable designers to create similarly stimulating and restorative spaces in built environments, ultimately improving the health and wellness of those within them.
As the demand for energy storage grows, given our increasing reliance on technology, scientists say inexpensive products, like soap and detergent, have properties that could help create alternatives to lithium-ion batteries.
Will Your Next Smart Device be a Succulent?
Since apparently there are not enough people we can interact with in the world, we are now able to communicate with plants. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which has specific researchers for “cyborg botany”, has developed technology that allows plants to act as sensors and displays.
Another Beloved Brand Goes Green
Everlane and Adidas may be soaking up all the literal limelight right now for their forays into sustainable sneakers, but they'll soon by joined by Keds. The casual sneaker company will unveil a new collection built on a collaboration with textile company Ace & Jig, featuring shoes made entirely from scraps of waste material. The collection exemplifies Keds two-pronged approach to sustainable footwear, prioritizing ethical materials over trends.
How do you get people to stop wasting water? Appeal to their aesthetic and moral sensibilities. Sukle, a Denver-based advertising agency, did just that with a series of billboards that made use of sticky notes, colored pencils, aluminum cans, clay, and LEGOS, among other materials, to remind people to only use what they need.
In The Future, People Will Move Through Cities In Multi-Directional Elevators
It may sound fantastical, even Wonka-esque, but future urban citizens will navigate their cities not by foot, but by a multi-directional elevator system called MULTI. First proposed in 2014, MULTI could use magnetic levitation technology to move multiple cabins of people up, down, and sideways in "hanging cities" of the future. These hanging cities, says squareone's Design Director Kostas Poulopoulos, will create "a three-dimensional mega-grid that combines towers and multi-story horizontal sectors into a 24-hour urban hub for live, work, and play."
Toronto's Quayside Neighborhood Is Going To Be Incredibly Cool and Green
Sidewalk Labs has revealed some of the concept renderings for Quayside, the Alphabet-helmed smart city development project in Toronto, and it certainly looks like a city of the future. The predominant construction material is timber and the overall design skews towards modularity. There will also be a built-in recycling and composting system that could divert 80% of the district's waste from the landfill. If all goes according to plan and approval is given, Sidewalk Labs estimates Quayside could be up and running within five to six years. Still, the project has attracted a significant amount of controversy due to high levels of secrecy surrounding the contract signed between Alphabet and Waterfront Toronto, as well as concerns over furtive data-gathering apparatuses built into the neighborhood's infrastructure.
Ica & Kostika Launch Nature-Inspired, 3D-Printed Killer Heels
The humble seahorse may not be an intuitive place to find inspiration, but that's exactly where 3D-printed shoe outfit Ica & Kostika looked for their latest collection. Cast in a silvery finish, the seahorse-inspired shoe is part of a larger collection called Exobiology. The shoes are meticulously designed and constructed to fit the natural shape of the wearer's foot.
LG's Roll-Up TV is the Perfect Product for Viewing "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo"
At CES 2019, LG unveiled the world's first rollable TV, which is comprised of just two parts: a super slim OLED screen and a base with built-in soundbar. When not in use, the TV descends into the base and winds around a spool, becoming a piece of unobtrusive furniture. Sure to please both techies and those who strictly adhere to the "a place for everything, and everything in its place" mantra, LG's game-changing product will go on sale later this year.
Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and chipboard may soon find themselves replaced by a new, biodegradable product—and good riddance, too! These commonly used materials are not recyclable and are full of toxic chemicals like formaldehyde. Instead, London-based designer team Chip[s] Board proposes using waste potato peelings combined with fibers from bamboo, hops, wood or more potatoes for furniture construction. Not only will this remove MDF and chipboard from landfills, but it could also reduce food waste, another major environmental and social problem.
Students Tackle Urban Loneliness Through Architecture
Architecture and urban planning have been proven to be incredibly useful tools in combatting the negative effects of climate change on the city level. Could design thinking be the answer to mitigating the epidemic of loneliness in our urban centers, as well? PhD researcher Tanzil Shafique set out to discover if it was possible with his M.Arch students at the Melbourne School of Design and the answer is a resounding yes (view student work here).
Dutch Government Embraces Flex Space in Trains
Flex space is a well-known component of the modern open office, but that concept has now transitioned over to the transportation sector. The Dutch National Railway Company's new series of flexible and modular trains, designed by Dutch firm Mecanoo and Gispen, offers passengers different seating configurations to use as an office, lounge, and socialization spaces. While still in conceptual stages, it's possible that this concept could change the face of transportation in the future.