Category Archives: Travel

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

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Come Ride With Me

Rush-hour streets of New York

Rush-hour streets of New York

 

With fuel prices on the rise and the effects of global warming becoming more apparent each day, many commuters are turning to greener ways of transportation.  In New York, cab sharing is becoming a popular and cost-effective way to get from place to place.  Websites such as RideAmigos.com allows New Yorkers to search for fellow riders with common destinations and arrange to share a ride.  In Washington D.C., a program called SmartBike DC allows commuters to rent bicycles by the hour to efficiently get around the Capitol.  In Paris, a similar bike rental program, called Velib, allows Parisians (and tourists) access to public bicycles, creating an effective alternative for reaching destination points between Metro stations.  Swedish home furnishings giant IKEA takes the concept of rental bicycles one step further by providing “trailer bikes,” bicycles equipped with carts, as an eco-friendly way for shoppers to transport their flat-packed goods back home. These innovative methods of alternative transportation are gradually beginning to take off in many major cities.

Velib bike rental station in Paris

Velib bike rental station in Paris

In New York, a crowded city where traffic congestion and delayed subway trains are a daily nuisance, it would be refreshing to find other (greener) means of transportation. However, a recurring problem is that most urban roads were not designed with cyclists in mind.  The lack of separate bicycle lanes in many cities heightens the risk of accidents for cyclists, and also deters many from considering biking as an alternate form of commute.  This trend for sustainability is still relatively new, and many people are only slowly beginning to adapt to the mindset of a sustainable lifestyle.   Thus, predictably, it will take a while before cities such as New York are able to fully embrace change for a more sustainable society. WU

The Future of Bottled Water is Dry


Saving our environment is talk. The sale of bottled water has not declined since its introduction. A few facts from the Water Quality Association:

* Bottled water sales and consumption continue to rise, according to statistics released April 9, 2007, by the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) and Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC).

* Total US bottled water volume exceeded 8.25 billion gallons in 2006, a 9.5 percent increase over the prior year.

* Wholesale dollar sales for bottled water exceeded $10.8 billion in 2006, an 8.5 percent increase over the $10 billion in 2005.

My goal as a designer is to inspire and lead. It is evident that people are still consuming bottled water. This may be the result of too few alternatives. Forget your Nalgene (www.nalgene-outdoor.com/store) water bottle at home and your next alternative is bottled water. Tap water has earned such a bad reputation, spending 2 dollars on 12oz of water seems normal.

As a solution, I propose:

* Providing consumers with easy Internet based access to the quality of their local water supply.

* A nationwide roll out of water fountains. Yes, water fountains. Prior to the ubiquitous plastic Poland Springs water bottle, your average citizen was happy to use a public water fountain.

Some disagree with me because there is no money to be made by giving filtered water away for free. My reply, because it is not in a bottle does not mean it needs to be distributed freely. An example:

A few visionary restaurants in New York and California have offered filtered tap water as an alternative to bottled water. The filtered water costs the same as bottled water, yet has none of the environmental set-backs.

As the cost of producing and shipping bottle water surges and consumer awareness towards the environment increases, the popularity of bottled beverages will decrease.

I am currently designing filtered water fountains for the public space and welcome the feedback of water drinkers, beverage companies, city planners or filtration companies everywhere. NATALIA

Interesting Links

http://www.globalpackagegallery.com/main.php/v/bev/bottled+water/

http://www.wqa.org

A Cooler World

a cool world

Social networks such as Acoolworld.com and Asmallworld.net are private online communities. Actors, fashion designers, royals, and media makers are only a small percentage of what make up these networking sites. If Facebook is Democratic, they are Republican.

Asmallworld.net is an exclusive social network that only sends out invites to qualified individuals. It provides insight on global events, marketplace, forums on various topics, fashion, and city guides.

Acoolworld.com has brought design to exclusive social networking through the clandestine nature of its members only website. It is a social networking website for strategic connections to the most elite and private hideaways and adventures. Great power people gather here.

These networks provide people with the opportunity to view your profile and your company information in order to set out possible connections. It also acts as a guide to high-end travel, fashion, shops, sports, and nightlife.

So what is the difference between Asmallworld and Acoolworld? Both promote exclusive online interactivity for the privileged, but Acoolworld emphasizes the visual more, it was designed to be graphically chic and arresting, dare we say cool. Then there is the Diamond Lounge, a recent addition to the field. A new market for members only is forming. HANNA

Simon Collins: Carving a Path to Sustainability

Interview with Simon Collins, Chair of Parsons School of Fashion at The New School on: Carving a Path to Sustainability.

NATALIA: How did you first become interested in fashion?
SIMON: As a teenager it became obvious to me that girls liked boys who looked
cool. Hence fashion called to me

NATALIA: Give folks a bit of insight on what exactly your new role entails?
SIMON: I look after our BFA, MFA and AAS (Fashion) courses, for the first time
they all come together as the School of Fashion. I am charged with
creating links between Parsons and the fashion industry in new and
innovative ways. More than providing interns we will be looking for ways
to provide information and creative thinking – particularly in the
sustainable arena where industry is not yet at the forefront.

NATALIA: Is sustainability important to you. Why?

SIMON: Sustainability is important to me, just as it should be to everyone.
Frankly it’s hard to see how anyone can genuinely not think
sustainability is important. The earth’s resources aren’t ours to use up
and discard, we all have responsibilities.

NATALIA: How do you envision sustainability influencing fashion?

SIMON: It used to be that being ecologically conscious meant you had to rule
out many things. Now new options are opening up all the time and instead
we have a whole range of new materials and processes that didn’t exist
before. Fashion isn’t going to change any quicker than it ever has, but
it is going to adopt more and more sustainable aspects.

NATALIA: What challenges have you had with sustainable fashion?

SIMON: Mainly with business managers refusing to use anything sustainable if
it meant a single extra penny on the price of a product. I could name
names…

NATALIA: What are some of the current sustainable projects you are working on?

SIMON: At Parsons we have our sustainable fingers in many different pies, too
numerous to mention here.

NATALIA: Why do you think sustainable fashion does not get as much attention
as hybrid cars or organic food?

SIMON: Because the ad budgets for those fashion companies using sustainable
products cannot compare to those of the food and auto industries. Until
one of the big fashion corporations decides to actually do the right
thing (rather than just garner PR by talking about it) we will be
reliant on small companies with small budgets.

NATALIA: Where do you see the sustainable fashion in 10 years?

SIMON: I don’t expect to see a revolution. But I do anticipate a slow and
inexorable movement towards sustainability without any design
compromise. Only when it looks the same and costs the same (as
unsustainable) will it truly take off.

Phones of the Future

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We were eagerly awaiting the G-Phone. Instead Google surprised us with Android, an operating system for mobile devices (http://code.google.com/android/).

More than 30 technology and mobile companies including T-Mobile and Motorola have come together with Google to create an innovative mobile platform that is more user-friendly. The new platform allows for seamless access and movement of data.

Android is an open-source software and runs on Linux version 2.6 and Java. It includes typical applications such as: contacts, maps and a web browser, but with more of the Internet’s efficiency and usefulness.

Android software stack
1, Optimizes multiple virtual machines to run at once with Dalvik
2, Accelerates graphics by combining both 2D and 3D graphics based on OpenGLS
3, Faster Internet with 3G networking and WiFi technology
4, Streets views, pan around, and zoom in with GPS
5, Open source WebKit, enables you to view a screen as it would appear on a desktop

Researchers are expected to improve and add to the Android Software Development Kit (SDK), leaving the possibility for endless innovation. Phones containing the Android platform will be available later this year.

Google does not want to sell us a phone, they want to revolutionize the way phones operate. They won’t sell us an operating system, they want to provide it to every phone for free. So how will Google make its investment back? Ad revenue of course. Now that’s clever. NATALIA ALLEN

Sold on Skandium

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Not too long ago, I discovered a brilliant shop along Marylebourne Road in London. Skandium is a hub of modern Scandinavian furniture, lighting, kitchenware, and glassware for the home and office. Unlike Ikea, the products are made with quality and built to last. Skandium was named after the rare earth metal scandium, a rough dark metallic that turns pink or yellow when exposed to air. Skandium unites functionality and simplicity and provides a fresh aesthetic to traditional English homes. Developed by a collaborative team of many architectural designers such as, Arne Jacobsen, Poul Henningsen and Alvar Aalto, Skandium design is both ergonomic and beautiful. Their designs are mainly associated with clean lines and clutter-free interiors. Although its designs have minimal ornament its pieces are far from simplistic. The works maintain a contemporary refinement and classic elegance fit for today. Good news, Skandium designs developed between the 1930’s and 1960’s have become valuable collectors items, much like Bauhaus. Today’s Skandium products may be the collectables of the future. NATALIA ALLEN