I’m fascinated by the work of Netherlands-based Dave Hakkens in a recent project called “Rubble Floor.” Interested in reusing old building materials as new building materials — and inspired by terrazzo floors — Hakkens conducted several tests on materials such as roof tiles, bricks, nails and screws, and glass. He used concrete as the binder and crushed old materials into pigments and fillers. In the end, Hakkens found it’s entirely possible to make new materials with the old.
San Diego-based DuChateau Floors, maker of luxe natural flooring, just announced a new collection that replicates the popular look of reclaimed barn wood. The Heritage Timber Edition is made with FSC-certified European white oak and then distressed with surface scrapes, nail holes, notches, and saw kerf marks reminiscent of salvaged textures. Heritage has an environmentally friendly, zero-VOC, preservative-free, hard wax oil finish with planks of 7-7/16″ wide. Pricing starts at $12 per square foot.
When the Museum of Science and Technology in Chicago wanted a “smart” house on their grounds to showcase energy-efficient and healthy living at its best, architect Michelle Kaufmann was a natural choice to design it. After all, her passion for sustainability, coupled with an impeccable eye for style and plenty of award-winning projects under her belt, has made Michelle an authority on good green design. The Smart Home: Green and Wired exhibit has inspired thousands of visitors with its perfect mix of high and low-tech green building techniques, materials and gadgets in a friendly, modern setting.
Current and recent projects for Michelle Kaufmann Studio include a sustainable neighborhood, a co-housing complex for some very with-it Franciscan nuns, and several private residences for green-minded clients. With so much hands-on experience with many of the materials and technologies we write about here at Jetson Green, I was eager to pick Michelle’s brain.
I proposed a series of open-ended questions starting with “What is the one green product …”, hoping the busy designer would find it a fun, thought-provoking exercise. Luckily she did — and I hope you find her responses as illuminating and insightful as I have!
When Vanillawood founders Kricken and James Yaker outgrew their home office and started shopping for a design studio in Portland’s hot Pearl District, opening a retail store was the farthest thing from their mind. Yet they happened upon a 1000 square-foot warehouse with beautiful natural light and too-good-to-pass-up lease terms, so the design/build team seized the opportunity to showcase their organic contemporary style.
When Aquafil began manufacturing carpet fiber almost 50 years ago, sustainability wasn’t an option but a must. Doing business in the Lake Garda region of Italy, where environmental protection has always been top priority, meant constantly innovating to keep up with strict mandates on noise, water, and air pollution. “Preserving the environment is in our DNA,” says Giulio Bonazzi, President and CEO of what is now the second largest worldwide supplier of Nylon 6 yarn for carpet producers like Interface and Desso. A timeline of unprecedented milestones, including the recovery and reuse of all their own internal production waste, has led to their most important environmental undertaking to date: the Econyl Recycling Project.
Wood, metals, and plastic are all beginning to give way to a new category of materials that combine the best properties of each along with advanced properties. Many of them come from renewable stock utilizing biomaterials as the raw ingredients. One manufacturer of such biocomposites is e2e Materials, which is producing a range of plant-based products which the company describes as “like a form molded plastic – but stronger, fire resistant, biodegradable and looks like wood.”