This is Metem, a material distributed by Minnesota-based Intectural, a sister company of Epicurean Cutting Surfaces and Loll Designs. Metem is made with old milk jugs — like Loll’s Rapson Collection — or to be more specific, post-consumer recycled high density polyethylene (HDPE). It’s highly durable and requires no maintenance, according to Intectural, and can used inside or out in wet or dry applications.
Loll Designs recently announced a new line called the Rapson Collection. As background, it turns out that Toby Rapson, son of the famous Ralph Rapson (architect of Greenbelt Case Study House No. 4), met Loll at an AIA event in Minneapolis and decided to work with the company to resurrect certain of Rapson’s chairs originally designed for Knoll in the 1940s. Loll and Rapson-Inc. came up with a couple prototypes and shared them at ICFF and Dwell on Design this year.
When I mentioned a project by students aiming to build the greenest house in Canada (by means of the Living Building Challenge and LEED Platinum certification), I noted that students planned to use “prefabricated straw bale walls.” It turns out they finished this portion of the project using BioSIPs from NatureBuilt Wall Systems in Ontario, Canada.
Push Design made news with a beautiful Hemp House in Asheville, North Carolina. It received significant media attention — notwithstanding a multitude of jokes conflating industrial hemp and marijuana. Now, hemp is being used for more projects, as shown in the above video from CBS Minnesota. Due to strict regulations, hemp is imported and mixed with water and lime to create a light, insulating, concrete-like mass for walls.
I’ve mentioned some of the various living walls available for home interiors — Fyto Wall, Woolly Pockets, Minigarden, Ballavaz, Urbio, etc — and most of these require a modicum of wall structure and planning for light and water. Along these lines, The Wall Street Journal recently took on the topic of living walls and how various pockets, trays, and assemblies are being used inside for home decoration.
Lindsey Hutchinson and husband Todd — both with design backgrounds and a passion for gardening — decided to build “green curtains” or exterior trellises covered in edible vines, according to the Statesman. The 15-foot living walls will shade the home and rain barrels from the sun, but the Hutchinson’s also intend to harvest the vines for grapes, passionfruit, and Scarlet Runner Beans. Thusly, these green curtains perform double duty in the form of food production and energy conservation. What a great idea!