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by Christiane Lemieux 



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Entries in Green living (62)


Reclaimed Thrones

Neato! Adam Barron, an Industrial Design student at the University of Cincinnati, created this super chic Reclaimed Seatbelt Chair from a steel rod frame and seatbelts he collected from a local junkyard. What started as a school project, ended wining him first prize at a contest which challenged participants to design a product using reclaimed auto parts. His design incorporates three of five Japanese design principles: humor, craftsmanship, compactness, asymmetry and simplicity. The chair is handmade in New York and, because of its nature, each chair is one-of-a-kind.

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A Cave With a View

I've often wondered how people lived back in the Stone Age, and how comfortable their dwelling might have been. I think that was the idea behind the magnificent and intriguing Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita hotel. Located in the village of Matera, in southern Italy, the hotel is based on the owner's concept of total immersion, where all 18 rooms are located inside the Sassi caves themselves. They were very clever in keeping the integrity of the caves intact by using the original architectural materials from the area, disguising the use of modern technology and maintaining the new design to a minimum. The decor of the rooms is very basic using plain furniture built out of recycled materials, yet keeping the rural historic tradition through colors, textures and scents identified with the area. Where elements needed to be added to bring in modern ammenities —such as bathrooms which didn't exist in the original structure— they felt a minimalist approach was best suited. Their philosophy was not to betray the ‘soul’ of the building, but to preserve the caves' rural heritage. I guess Prehistoric men might have never left their caves with these kind of accommodations. I definitely have to put this place on my list of places to stay.

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Recyclable Sophistication

Earth-conscious products have come a long way when it comes to design. What used to be very basic and generic-looking items like disposable plates, are now beautiful paper tableware. Thanks to the Wasara Collection, there is no excuse for not having a stylish table when you don't want to deal with dirty dishes. This line of single-use, biodegradable pieces is made with the aesthetics and sensibility of Japanese design. All 14 pieces in the line are sturdy and suitable for cold or hot (though not boiling) foods and beverages, and are oil- and water-resistant. In order to minimize environmental waste, Wasara uses tree-free renewable and fully biodegradable materials such as sugar cane fiber, bamboo, and reed pulp, representing their spirit of living in harmony with nature. There is no doubt that this graceful and irresistible collection of disposable tableware (that you can buy here) will add special sophistication to any casual gathering. Picnics and barbecues will never be the same.

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A Pod With a View

There's nothing better than travelling and knowing you're also being good to the environment. Swiss-born Sofia de Meyer feels the same way. That's why she had the brillliant idea of creating Whitepod, a unique hotel concept than links man and nature in a very eco-friendly way —of course, without sacrificing comfort and design. Set amid the majestic Swiss Alps with stunning views of Lake Geneva, the 15 dome-like pods are designed to blend in with their surroundings, not only visually but also by having a low impact on the environment (I think it's so cool that in the Winter the domes are covered with white canvas and changed to green in the Summer).

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Eco-friendly Since Birth

I'm so psyched to see how green design is inspiring furniture companies to get behind the great concept of sustainability. The very innovative French company Castor & Chouca has come out with a high-end green collection of furniture from infants to juniors. They've worked together with pediatricians, nurses and mothers to create a line inspired by innovations in the medical field and futuristic design. The company uses sustainable raw materials such as bamboo, linen, organic cotton and recyclable components. I really like the versatility of the pieces and the multiple uses they have. They're really worth the investment as their idea is for the furniture to last and not to be thrown away —so your bambinos can grow up with them. They believe in a universe where ecology, health, security and well-being are inseparable. How cool is that?

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My Top 10: Eco Totes

Image via Deborah MacLeanc

On my first visit to Paris, the City of Lights had me at “hello”. I remember everything being monumentally beautiful, the people dashing and the food to die for. But as the trip progressed, one thing struck a chord: every Parisian would waltz out of the supermarché carrying these fabulous and trendy shopping totes that were not your typical plastic sacs we were used to in the States. After a couple of days, I knew I had to get my hands on at least one. The curiosity was killing me. But my friend, whom I was staying with, filled me in on the scoop. Apparently, this phenomenon of eco-friendly, reusable shopping totes we are now seeing in the U.S. had been the norm in the Old Continent for a while. Go figure

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A Fab Solar House

In my recent trip to Spain I came across this very interesting article about a solar house contest produced by the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, where the Fab Lab House received the audience award for the best of its kind. Because of its organic shape some referred to is as the peanut home, cinnamon submarine, forest Zeppelin or even whale belly. But whatever you might want to call this unique home, its contribution to green living is quite significant as it introduced the most efficient flexible solar panels in the world as of yet — a significant breakthrough in the architectural integration of solar systems.

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Loopy & Cozy

Winter officially starts next Tuesday, so it's time to get our homes warm and comfy since we'll be spending more time indoors, at least those of us living in the Northern hemisphere. What better feeling on a cold winter day than the touch of soft wool to keep us warm. These adorable and fun Matt Lamps, by German design studio llot llov, are covered with fluffy Italian Angora and Merino wool and are just the perfect accent to add that little cushy feeling your room is craving for. They can be molded into whatever shape your little heart desires. Hang them in a cluster to create a chandelier look or just hang one over your bed as a loopy reading lamp. Either way these snuggly lamps will be interesting eye candy.

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