It may be taboo to discuss death, but the fact of the matter is that we modern day humans continue to mess up the planet long after we've stopped driving our cars or picking up our trash. Coffin production wastes natural timber resources, embalming leaches toxic chemicals into our water, and cremation emits chemicals into the air. That's why New York-based designer Shaina Garfield invented Leaves, a sustainable coffin that decomposes the body naturally with the aid of a fungi-laced rope and a pine wood surface.
Biodegradable Planters May Be Key to Reforestation
There's no question that reforestation is a critical component to combating climate change, but the manual labor and cost are frequently-cited deterrents to getting it done. Two Brazilian brothers may have found a solution to the problem. Their biodegradable planter protects seeds and saplings from ants and helps keep them adequately watered, enabling the baby plants to grow into the giants that people think of when they hear "rainforest".
Bad Acoustics Are A Killer. Here's What Designers Can Do About It.
Noise is all around us, whether we like it or not. We're only now beginning to understand the detrimental effects loud sounds can have on our health. Luckily, we can mitigate those effects with design thinking.
Soligami may sound like a delicious cured meat, but it's actually the next development in transforming windows into solar panels. While there are currently coatings that can generate solar energy from windows, they darken rooms and aren't particularly efficient. Soligami, developed by Australia-based design firm Prevalent, would hang like a drape and use unique origami-inspired folds to bounce light around across multiple panels, generating large amounts of energy.
Office Warfare Is Over Thanks To This Temperature-Regulating Fabric
Almost no one can agree on what the perfect temperature is, and when you're in an office, it becomes very apparent. Good thing a team at the University of Maryland may have introduced the perfect solution. They developed a new fabric that both allows heat to leave the garment and locks it in, depending on the body's temperature. It could be the perfect solution for not only athletes and bickering coworkers, but also the elderly and babies who require constant comfort.
Ica & Kostika Launch Nature-Inspired, 3D-Printed Killer Heels
The humble seahorse may not be an intuitive place to find inspiration, but that's exactly where 3D-printed shoe outfit Ica & Kostika looked for their latest collection. Cast in a silvery finish, the seahorse-inspired shoe is part of a larger collection called Exobiology. The shoes are meticulously designed and constructed to fit the natural shape of the wearer's foot.
Neri Oxman is at the forefront science, design, and academic celebrity. A winner of the National Design Award and a pioneering force at MIT's Mediated Matter Lab, Oxman is known the world over for her unique creative vision on how the natural world and the built environments of the future will coalesce. Deep dive into her predictions for a new biophilic future in this 2018 interview with Oxman in Dwell magazine.
Mycelium Wows Again In New Nir Meiri Lamps
Mycelium, the underground "root" part of fungi, is having a moment in the design industry. It's been shown to be stronger than concrete pound for pound and fully biodegradable, making it a compelling material for construction. Lighting designer Nir Meiri took a different approach, instead choosing to highlight the beauty of mycelium in a series of tabletop lamps. Produced in partnership with Biohm, the lamps' light source is in the base and illuminates the naturally-derived shade from below, casting this unusual but beautiful material in a soft glow.
Veganism — The Next Frontier in Hospitality Design
Veganism may not be the ideal diet to mitigate the effects of climate change—there's for that—but its emphasis on compassionate treatment of animals could be the start of a new paradigm in interior design. Case in point, the world's first vegan hotel suite, created by Bompas & Parr for Hilton's London Bankside property, exclusively uses plant-based products and completely eliminates any use of wool, leather, or feathers. The suite makes extensive use of Piñatex, a faux-leather material made of pineapple leaves, as well as cotton in the carpeting.
Renewable energy use has increased rapidly in U.K., leaving local economies previously dependent on coal-generated electricity in the lurch. But in the town of Rugeley, a shuttered coal plant is undergoing an incredible transformation into sustainably-powered housing. Engie, the former owner of the plant, wants to see its former site become "one of the most efficient, low-carbon redevelopment projects in the U.K.”
Technology Veers Into the Absurd at CES 2019
Every January, tech investors, manufacturers, enthusiasts, and journalists flock to Las Vegas to get a glimpse at what the products of the future may look like at CES. This year's crop of gadgets brought some exciting developments in artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, and robotics (including one that can bake bread). But it wouldn't be CES without some truly head-scratching, and ego-deflating, entries.
Terrarium, But Make It Aesthetic
Plants are great house decor, but ever want to kick it up a notch? Enter Studio REM’s “Nebl,” an Archiproducts Design Award winning terrarium-lite that looks like a cross between a snow globe and specimen jar. The Nebls keep your plants warm during cold months, while making them look much more expensive than they are.
When you've achieved Taylor Swift levels of fame, stalkers are an unfortunate and inevitable reality. In order to keep the superstar safe at a recent California concert, Swift's team employed a sneaky facial recognition kiosk, disguised as videos of behind-the-scene rehearsals, to send scans back to a team in Nashville who would then compare them to a database of Swift's known pursuers. The take away? Future tech continues to be an ethical morass!
Potato Peels Find New Life as Alternative MDF Material
Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and chipboard may soon find themselves replaced by a new, biodegradable product—and good riddance, too! These commonly used materials are not recyclable and are full of toxic chemicals like formaldehyde. Instead, London-based designer team Chip[s] Board proposes using waste potato peelings combined with fibers from bamboo, hops, wood or more potatoes for furniture construction. Not only will this remove MDF and chipboard from landfills, but it could also reduce food waste, another major environmental and social problem.
Students Tackle Urban Loneliness Through Architecture
Architecture and urban planning have been proven to be incredibly useful tools in combatting the negative effects of climate change on the city level. Could design thinking be the answer to mitigating the epidemic of loneliness in our urban centers, as well? PhD researcher Tanzil Shafique set out to discover if it was possible with his M.Arch students at the Melbourne School of Design and the answer is a resounding yes (view student work ).