Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Beautiful Plaster Finishes in Natural Clay

We just finished a small remodel at our office, and used a terrific product in one of our conference rooms- American Clay Plaster. It is all natural, coming straight out of the earth, and has absolutely no nasty odor- even during application! It is hand troweled on and can be finished in a variety of techniques that range from very rustic to more polished and smooth, similar to Venetian Plaster. Painted Earth Finishes did the installation for us, and were fantastic to work with.
Manufactured in and using materials from the United States, American Clay uses natural clays, recycled and reclaimed aggregates, and vibrant natural pigments in each of three beautiful finishes: LOMA, PORCELINA, and MARITTIMO.

Earth Plasters are non-dusting, mold and fade resistant, repairable and moisture controlling. For projects in Scottsdale, they would also qualify for LEED MR 5.2 regional material credits. American Clay may contribute up to 7 LEED credits (8 if you include the recycling area as all of American Clay’s packaging is recyclable), and 5 in most areas.

American Clay is available in a wide range of standard colors, and custom colors are also an option, making it the perfect choice for any space.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Fantastic Lighting from Leftover Cardboard

I don't often feel that fixtures or furniture made from recycled or repurposed materials are really all that attractive (frankly I usually think they're cheesy and junky). This is one of those exceptions. Made from stacked rings of corrugated cardboard, Graypants' pendant Scrap Lights are a wonderful example of the power of good design. The ceiling lamps' elegant construction recycles leftover scraps of cardboard to create a semi-translucent shade that gives off a muted, soft glow. The overall effect is elegant, understated and as far from trash as you could possibly get.
The founders of Graypants, Jonathan Junker and Seth Grizzle, have been collaborating in design for eight years. Based in Seattle, Junker and Grizzle have produced everything from chairs and tables to buildings–all made from discarded and repurposed materials like newspaper, cardboard, and plywood.
Their Scrap Lights are an expertly blend contemporary design with a practical approach to materials and waste. Wouldn't these lamps make an fantastic focal point hanging from the ceiling in a dining room, kitchen or bar? They prove that good design can be both stunning and sustainable.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ensure Healthy Indoor Air with Airpod

After sealing and insulating your house to create a more energy efficient home, you also need to be sure you are creating and maintaining healthy indoor air quality. Enter the Airpod, which packs a high quality HEPA air filter into a compact, modern package. Perfect for bedrooms, office, or nursery, this affordable air purifier will have you and your loved ones breathing easy.

Quite often, poor indoor air quality is responsible for prolonged illness, difficulty sleeping, and respiratory discomfort, although it is often overlooked as the cause of these symptoms. With a high efficiency silent HEPA-Air filter, such as the delightfully designed Airpod by Blueair, you can filter out at least 99.97% of impure airborne particles in your indoor environment, which will in turn improve your family’s health.

Compared to air filters with comparable performance rates, the Airpod uses approximately 60% less material in its design and manufacturing. The Airpod costs less to run than a single light bulb, and it does not generate ozone byproducts like Sharper Image’s Ionic Breeze.

Air filtration units used for large areas of space (approx. 200 sq ft-600 sq ft) range anywhere from $150 to $800, which means it can be quite costly to purchase such units for every room in your home. The Airpod allows for good air quality in your smaller personal spaces: it covers up to 50 square feet and costs just $99.95 at most retailers.

The sleek design and easy mobility allows the Airpod to go work with you, so that you can filter out those unwanted particles floating in your office air. The Airpod is perfect for your child’s playroom/area as well. The easily movable unit can dock next to your baby’s crib while he’s sleeping, and then transfer to wherever you go to nurse, cuddle or play with your baby.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Japanese Inspired Paper Lamps

These beautifully patterned cut paper lamps from Brooklyn–based Levent & Romme shown at this year’s BKLYN Designs really caught my eye. Imagined first as pen and ink illustrations, the designers then cut the patterns into a single sheet of thick watercolor paper. Watercolor paper is softly textured and just opaque enough to make the designs pop, and the heavy weight paper lends itself perfectly to the shades’ delicate cuts. The shade fits together using a tabbed design so that it forms a tube without any fasteners or adhesives, increasing the lamps' sustainability. Available in four patterns, the fixture uses a compact fluorescent lamp for illumination.

Designers Anne Romme & Fiyel Levent have been working together for the past two years on furniture, installations, and interior designs. They add a twist to their designs by focusing on technology in their fabrication methods, while basing them around traditional materials and craftsmanship. The patterns used for the floor lamps were inspired by the work of Japanese American artist Ruth Asawa, and other Japanese designs- such as Isama Noguchi’s paper lights.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Eco-luxury Resort in Napa Valley

The newest Napa Valley luxury hotel is an eco-resort- the Bardessono- and it looks to be a nicely sustainable gem. When designing the inn and spa they took care not to disrupt the area’s natural habitat while including a host of green building strategies including rammed earth walls, grey and black water treatment systems, and solar and geothermal energy. Completed just a few weeks ago by eco-developer Phil Sherburne and architect Ron Mitchell, the project is currently pursuing LEED platinum certification.

Building a luxurious restaurant, spa, and hotel in the middle of Napa Valley’s Yountville was a challenging project for Phil Sherburne and architect Ron Mitchell. They needed —and wanted— to be sustainable while also building a relationship with the community.

The architect and developer used recycled cypress wood to build all of the doors, desks, floors and ceilings. They also focused on the interior, targeting elements that would ensure the property’s natural feel. The environmentally rich 62-room hotel stands proudly, with the support of the neighborhood, right on the Bardessono family’s six-acre farmstead in Napa Valley.