If you want to use wood in an exterior application, your options are wider than ever. While durable tropical hardwoods have been decimated by unsustainable logging, there are several methods of preserving wood that produce even more durable and sustainable products. These are not woods infused with toxic chemicals or metal compounds that can leach out. Rather these woods are transformed to be more durable and decay resistant.
Encino-based Cyber-Rain, maker of what the company calls a “sprinkler controller with a brain,” recently introduced a new feature that gives users the ability to monitor and control landscape watering from the cloud. The Cyber-Rain controller works similar to, for example, a Rainbird or Orbit system, except an owner can control sprinklers, manually run valves, and check watering activity from a computer or through a free iPhone app.
Design site Core77 recently noticed a new solar product called Tensile Solar from Brooklyn-based SMIT, the same group behind GROW or Solar Ivy. Tensile Solar is a lightweight, membrane fabric embedded with flexible solar cells that could be used to provide shade, protection from the rain, and power from the sun.
This is The Edge, a factory-built home inspired by Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House (not to be confused with the E.D.G.E. prefab). UK-based Boutique Caravans designed and built the modern prefab – which measures 22′ x 42′ – with cold-formed steel, SIPs, and triple-glazed windows. It’s a show house in Penmayne Edge Park in Rock, North Cornwall, a community of 10 low-energy holiday homes in the UK.
I recently noticed this chromatic modular wall tile system called Flock from London-based Hive. The tiles are modern and geometric like Hexagon, though they’re made with 100% wool felt and attach to the wall with a non-toxic acrylic adhesive. Flock is available in 10 colors and packages of six or 22 tiles. Each tile is 6.3″x 10.2″ (16 cm x 26 cm) and a six pack sells on Bouf (UK) for about $42 (£26.00 GBP).