Category Archives: Cool

Design Futurist – joins World Economic Forum – Young Global Leaders

natalia-allen-design-futuristNEW YORK, NY – February 25, 2009 – Natalia Allen received an honor, bestowed each year by the World Economic Forum. The Forum recognizes and acknowledges between 200 and 300 outstanding young leaders from around the world for their professional accomplishments, commitment to society and potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world.

Drawn from a pool of almost 5,000 candidates, the Young Global Leaders 2009 were chosen by a selection committee, chaired by H.M. Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, comprising 31 eminent international media leaders.

About The Forum of Young Global Leaders – Established in 2004 by Professor Klaus Schwab, The Forum of Young Global Leaders is a unique, multistakeholder community of the world’s most extraordinary young leaders who dedicate a part of their time to jointly address global challenges and who are committed to devote part of their knowledge and energy to collectively work towards a better future. Together the Young Global Leaders work to discover innovative solutions to today’s most pressing problems through various initiatives and workstreams as well as catalysing the next generation of leaders. Please visit the link for more information. Source: http://www.weforum.orgWorld Economic Forum announces Young Global Leaders 2009 http://www.younggloballeaders.org

The New, Green Museum

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The California Academy of Science in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park has long been dedicated to the study of nature, and after 8 years and half a billion dollars in sustainable renovations, Italian architect Renzo Piano’s design is a pioneer in sustainable architecture. Unlike traditional theater museums, this museum is built inside the park, well underneath it to be more specific. The 2.5 acre living roof is the signature element. After walking the grounds in silence and observing the hills from a run down building, Piano sketched a simple rolling hill with a line underneath and with only his sketchbook, Piano beat the other five competitors.

Not only has Piano’s design been compared to Frank Lloyd Wright’s spiraling Guggenheim Museum and Frank Gehry’s titanium Guggenheim in Bilbao, the new museum is expected to capture the attention of the public with its design and green focus. Hoping to receive the highest ranking from the U. S. Green Building Council, a platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, the living roof absorbs storm water and according to the museum will prevent 3.6 million gallons of polluted water from entering into the eco-system. The living roof is also home to wildlife and California wildflowers. It is said that the roof keeps the building 10 degrees cooler and turns carbon dioxide into oxygen.  Solar cells produce 5-10% of the museum’s energy as well. The structure is insulated by nearly 216,000 pairs of Levi’s jeans, paying homage to the native San Francisco denim company.

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Underneath the living roof, the museum houses the Steinhart Aquarium, Morrison Planetarium, Kimball Natural History Museum and includes a four story rainforest, a coral reef, a 100,000 gallon tank with Pacific coast marine life, a swamp, a habitat for penguins and exhibit on climate change and global warming.

Piano explains, “You almost never get a chance to build something in the middle of a great park, so it needed to be transparent…here you need to know about the connection with nature, so almost anywhere you are in this building you can see through to the outside.”

California Academy of Science: http://www.calacademy.org/
More on Renzo Piano: http://architect.architecture.sk/renzo-piano-architect/renzo-piano-architect.php

NANCY GANDRUD

Recycled Fashion

Believe it or not, the fashion industry is responsible for a large part of the world’s pollution. From manufacturing to shipping, tons of toxic chemicals, CO2 and greenhouse gasses are discharged, and huge amounts of oil and energy are consumed.  That said, where can one go for stylish, yet eco-friendly clothing?  Enter Goodone, a British label that creates hip and trendy clothes made from recycled garments. 

Founded by two Brighton University graduates, Nin Castle and Phoebe Emerson, Goodone takes second-hand or throwaway clothing and repurposes them into new garments that don’t look obviously recycled.  Their style has an urban and edgy vibe, with each garment being unique since all textiles and prints come from used clothing.  All products are locally hand-made from individually chosen recycled garments or sourced from textile recycling factories.  What is innovative about Goodone is that they are providing a creative and sustainable solution to counteract the damage that the fashion industry has been wreaking upon the environment.  By using materials that already exist, they don’t need to consume more energy or expend more toxic waste in order to manufacture new products.  And unlike some other companies that have hopped on the recycling bandwagon, Goodone’s garments are not only eco-friendly and fashionable, but also completely realistic and wearable.  Now that’s fashion with a conscience.  WU

Green Architecture, Brave New World

For some urbanites, a sustainable lifestyle means unplugging their MacBook at night, carrying a reusable tote bag to Whole Foods, and buying organic cotton t-shirts at American Apparel. While doing all these things can certainly help to lower one’s carbon footprint, believe it or not, there are even greater ways to live green. Enter a new wave of architects and designers, who (literally) take green lifestyle to new heights.

As natural resources dwindle, it is no wonder that sustainable architecture is a rapidly growing trend. Carbon neutral buildings and green housing projects are cropping up in cities around the world. Many countries now have their own rating systems for green buildings, such as the well-known LEED standard in the US. Companies like URBN Hotels are revamping the concept of eco-hotels by updating them for the urban jet-set. These new hotels feature minimalist aesthetics, recycled materials, and 5 star luxury, just for starters. From New York to Singapore, green housing projects are also making appearances. The benefits of living in one of these apartment complexes include solar powered energy, water-based air conditioning, and rain-water collection systems. Even the pre-fab home has seen a recent rise in popularity since it’s mid-century beginnings, with a new exhibit at MoMA in NYC dedicated solely to these DIY properties. Lastly, another emerging and innovative concept is the “smart building,” which incorporates bio-mimicry techniques into architecture, creating buildings that are seamlessly integrated with their surrounding environments.

What is interesting, and relevant, about all these new concepts is that it takes sustainability to a whole new level. In these new eco-buildings, people don’t have to consciously change their behaviors to live green; rather, it becomes their surroundings that are changing instead. Instead of focusing on changing the way people act, these buildings are designed to directly change the way people live by infusing sustainability into their daily lives. WU

iPhone Odyssey

Apple's new iPhone 3G

Apple's new iPhone 3G

iPhone Odyssey
One New Yorker’s quest for Apple’s new iPhone 3G

Monday, July 7, 2008 – WASHINGTON

12:45 – Visit local AT&T store to check phone upgrade status. Everything is cool, but the sales guy warns that I should get there early on Friday if I want the iPhone. Last time they sold out before lunchtime. I didn’t think it would be a big deal.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008 – NEW YORK

10:00 – Download and read gizmodo.com’s “iPhone Survival Guide.” It says to go bring energy bars and bottled water and be prepared to camp out. Also, the AT&T account holder must be present. Since I’m on a family plan, that means I have to go back to DC and persuade my mother to wake up early on Friday and camp out at AT&T with me. I decide to make a weekend vacation out of it.

17:30 – Book bus ticket to DC, check AT&T’s website for iPhone checklist.

Thursday, July 10, 2008 – NEW YORK

16:30 – Leave work early and go to Penn Station. The bus is jam packed. After being stuck in traffic for an hour, the bus finally exits out of NYC.

22:35 – Finally arrive home.

00:45 – Set alarm for 6:30. Go to bed early in preparation for the long day ahead.

Friday, July 11, 2008 – WASHINGTON

7:45 – Arrive at local shopping mall. The parking garage seems rather full for 8 in the morning. I get a little nervous.

7:50 – Enter mall and run to AT&T store in time to see a long line snaking around the corner. We queue up behind a skinhead with major tattoos. He says he’s not worried. He’s gone through all this a year before for the first generation iPhone. He’s an iPhone veteran.

8:00 – The doors open exactly at 8, and the line finally moves. An AT&T salesperson walks by, explaining that they only let a few people in at once, and you must register your phone in the store, which takes about 15 minutes. I do the math; it’s going to be a long morning. I survey the barely moving line. Judging by appearances only, it looks to be mostly comprised of young/middle-aged professionals. I idly wonder if they are all skipping work this morning.

8AM queue at AT&T

8AM queue at AT&T

Getting closer!

Getting closer!

10:00 – Two hours later, we are ushered into AT&T. The sales rep asks what can he do for us today. I reply that I’m here to buy an iPhone. Like, duh, as if he didn’t know that already. He hands me my new iPhone 3G, but tells me that I can’t use it yet since it’s not activated. Apparently, the computer systems are down so everyone has to activate their phones at home through iTunes. Okay, that’s cool, as long as I can still get my phone.

10:20 – I walk out of AT&T feeling accomplished. The line is even longer than when we arrived over two hours ago. I proudly hold my yet-to-function iPhone. I’m dying to try it out to see if it lives up to all the hype.

11:00 – I try to set up my phone as per the instructions. I hook it up to my MacBook Pro and watch it connecting to iTunes. Ten minutes later, a memo box pops up. The network connection has timed out. I guess it can’t handle a million people trying to activate their phones all at once. Looks like I’ll have to wait to try out my new phone.

17:30 – I attempt to activate my phone again. This time I am lucky as it hooks right up to iTunes. Fifteen minutes later, my phone is finally activated! I set it up so that all my emails, contacts, and calendars are seamlessly synced to my phone. Then I upload music, photos, and videos.

Syncing iPhone to laptop

Syncing iPhone to laptop

18:20 – Eight hours after leaving AT&T, my new iPhone is fully loaded and ready to go. Now I can enjoy spending the rest of my weekend customizing my phone.

Monday, July 14, 2008 – NEW YORK

10:00 – Back in New York and back at work. Everyone is talking about the new iPhone. The New York Times reports that Apple sold over one million in the first weekend. My co-worker complains that he waited for three hours on Friday at AT&T, only to find that it was sold out. Another co-worker says that on Saturday, the line at the 14th St Apple Store went all the way down past Jeffrey’s. Yeah, sounds like it was one hell of a weekend for all parties involved. But every time I pick up my new iPhone 3G, I remember that it was all worth it.  WU

The End

The End

Sent from my iPhone

Dress Detective Gone Green

Although this is a project, the design idea is interesting enough for us to cover. All around us, the push for going green is visible. But have designers gone too far to try and capture the “green market”?

Designer Stephanie Sandstrom developed a dress that detects harmful emissions in the air. You can identify the smoggy days and areas when crinkles and kinks start to form on the dress. Powered entirely through sensors incorporated into the fabric, the wrinkles stop with higher quality air. This idea will allow you to stray away from the harmful air that lurks in the most precarious conditions, or to even make a statement about our declining air quality.

The harmful effects of global warming are changing our world and it is time for everyone to notice. But do ideas like this help us achieve the goal of becoming more “green-friendly. Instead of replacing ones wardrobe with fashion that senses smog, which would increase the carbon footprint, we suspect there are better ways of addressing the problem of air pollution.

You can learn more about the Dress along with other imaginative designs at the San Francisco Exploratorium’s 2nd Skin Exhibition through September 7, 2008. HANNA

Green Racer

With fuel prices on the rise, and governments attempting to curb carbon emissions, it’s no surprise that the auto industry is leaning towards more eco-friendly cars. Recent auto shows revealed a new generation of cars that are more sustainable than ever before. What sets the new breed of hybrid cars apart is that, unlike past concepts, many of these vehicles are more practical and road-ready.

Toyota has introduced a new Prius that draws on solar energy for power, creating an endless source of renewable energy. The energy will power the car’s air conditioning unit, making for a more fuel-efficient ride. Fellow Japanese company, Honda, is not far behind, with a Civic hybrid that utilizes lightweight parts made from biodegradable materials. Leading French automobile company, Peugeot, has also been dedicated to developing sustainable vehicles. Their urban-friendly Citroen C-Cactus prototype debuted last year in Frankfurt, and they’ve recently introduced the 308 RCZ, a fuel-efficient car jointly produced with BMW. The 308 BioFlex represents a new wave of cars that run on eco-conscious biofuel.

What is innovative about these eco-cars is that the designers have more to consider than just performance and aesthetics. They must tap into a specific lifestyle and market where people want smaller, lighter, and more sustainable vehicles. Drivers are increasingly seeking cars that can reduce their environmental impact. As new technologies make way for a dazzling array of possibilities, it won’t be long before “green” cars dominate the roads. WU