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kbis 2011

KBIS 2011: Part 1

This week, we headed to the annual Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (more commonly referred to as KBIS, pronouced "k-biz") in Las Vegas, Nevada, to check in with favorite manufacturers and see what's new for 2011. In Part 1 of our coverage from the show floor we highlight sinks made in America, granite quarried in Italy, hammered-copper sinks handmade in Mexico, and more.
April 29, 2011
David Neivandt, a professor of biological and chemical engineering, has developed a biodegradable golf ball made with lobster shells. Unlike other biodegradable golf balls, this one can be used with both drivers and irons. Photo courtesy of UMaine.

Golf Balls Go Green

At the end of March, the Bangor Daily News reported on a clever new development in the realm of green sporting goods: a biodegradable golf ball made of crushed lobster shells. Professor David Neivandt and group of students at the University of Maine have devised a prototype that plays and feels like a regular golf ball but is made of "ground lobster shell, a natural binding agent, and a golf ball mold purchased on eBay." You wouldn't use it to play a regular round of 18, but the Mainers do see a market on cruise ships, where duffers can get the thrill of whacking a ball out into the sunset without worrying about polluting the sea. In fact, the ball starts to break down in just a week, a process hastened by a good smash from a driver. Check out this video from WLBZ in Bangor to learn more.
April 24, 2011
Greensburg GreenTown Conversation

Daniel Wallach of GreenTown

After an EF5 tornado devestated the tiny town of Greensburg, Kansas, (then populartion 1,500) in 2007, the residents came together and did the unbelievable: Rebuilt as a sustainable town. Leading the charge were the mayor, city administrator, city council president (who assumed the role of mayor just three weeks after the storm), the governor (then Kathleen Sebelius), and two residents from nearby Stafford County: Daniel Wallach and Catherine Hart. In January, we sent photographer Alec Soth to document the town as it is today, nearly four years after the tornado struck, for our May 2011 Photo Issue. Here, we chat in further depth with Wallach about the days after the storm and the latest construction and developments.  
April 21, 2011
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HelioTrace Robotic Facade

I was intrigued by a rendering featured in the latest newsletter from SOM, which came across my desk a few weeks ago. So I wrote the firm for more information. Turns out this new invention—a kinetic, solar-responsive curtain wall system—is still in development and won't be available on the market for a few years still. But it's an intriguing concept, so I figured I'd share.
April 11, 2011
Second Chances exhibit at SFO

Second Chances at SFO

One of the nicest parts of traveling through the San Francisco International Airport is its art gallery in Terminal 3. As I made my way to Las Vegas this week for Surfaces and Las Vegas Market (check back soon for slideshows highlighting the best from both), I took a stroll through the latest installation titled Second Chances: Folk Art Made from Recycled Remnants.
April 7, 2011
Maru's Wasara collection features an array of beautifully designed biodegradable picnic plates, bowls, and cups.

The Next-Generation Paper Plate

I'm currently planning a party (ok, wedding) and have been coming across lots of interesting paper party supplies—including these awesome Gunilla Axén-designed cocktail napkins, which I am unreasonably thinking about shipping from England, and these ubiquitous but very charming paper straws, which I am most definitely ordering. Although we'll likely be serving dinner on proper china, I am tempted by these beautiful paper plates, bowls, and cups by Wasara: the loveliest disposable tableware I've seen.
April 7, 2011
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"Sustainism": the New Modernism?

Honestly, when the book Sustainism is the New Modernism: A Cultural Manifesto for the Sustainist Era (D.A.P. / Distributed Art Publishers, New York) first crossed my desk, I wasn't sure how to react. The book's graphic aesthetic was a bit cluttered but the concept of the book was intriguing—the authors Michiel Schwarz and Joost Elffers propose that "Sustainism" (a term they've coined to describe a new cultural movement related to sustainability)—is the "new ecology of our networked world." "Sustainism in the twenty-first century will be what Modernism was in the last," the authors state. It's "the confluence of globalization, the web, climate change, localism, media democracy, open source, environmentalism, and more," and "a collective worldview that stresses the interdependence among cultural and natural environments." The rallying cry is "do more with less"—in contrast to Modernism's ubiquitous "less is more." Here, Schwarz and Elffers talk about Sustainism (the book, and the concept) and why they think it's the way forward.
April 4, 2011
Carneros Cottage

Carneros Inn's Green Water System

A couple months back I stayed at the Plumpjack-owned Carneros Inn in Napa County. A more bucolic location you could not imagine, but beyond its tasty fare and sylvan setting, the Carneros has a deep commitment to sustainability. I got the tour from facilities manager Dan Philbin when I was there, and we recently spoke about the Inn's wastewater treatment facility, an on-site exemplar of water catchment and reuse. Here's what he had to say about making the most of the resources you have.
March 10, 2011
Completed in 2010, the 656,600-square-foot Eight House comprises over 107,000 square feet of office and retail space at ground level and 476 units throughout the nine floors above. Inside the two courtyards are over 5,300 square feet of public space for t

Bjarke Ingels on 'Bigamy'

It might be an understatement to say that Bjarke Ingels' firm the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has gone gangbusters. In a climate where much new construction is being delayed indefinitely and architecture firms are shrinking in size, BIG was recently awarded three high-profile contracts: The Greenland National Gallery of Art, Copenhagen's future 700-million-dollar waste to energy plant, and their first project in North America, a 600-unit residential building on West 57th Street in Manhattan. We caught up with Ingels right before he gave the keynote speech at the Global Green Cities Symposium last Thursday. He briefed us on his recent projects, how New York is becoming more and more like Copenhagen, and why "Bigamy" could be the next great concept in design.
March 1, 2011
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