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Shigeru Ban Creates Urban Oasis with Greenery

Swatchgroup

Just a quick little post on the new headquarters for Swatch Group Japan in the heart of Tokyo’s Ginza District.  The building was designed by Shigeru Ban and houses seven of Swatch’s luxury brands on each of the first seven floors.  Floors eight through thirteen are used as office space and the top floor as an event area.  You’ll notice the interior green wall, which, as Jean Snow describes it, has "so much greenery that you almost feel as if you’ve stepped into an urban oasis."  I think this represents another example of greenery permeating all aspects of design, both inside and out. 

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Mashup of Modern Topiary + Living Walls

Louis Vuitton Topiade

Gas Design Group designed this overlay facade, "Topiade", for an already existing Louis Vuitton store.  I think the name "Topiade" comes from a combo of the terms topiary and facade, which is pretty creative, if you ask me.  The idea of taking wild greenery and applying design and creativity through topiary is something I’ve seen personally in both Japan and Taiwan.  It appears to be popular in France, as well.  So when applied to the vertical context, the environmentalists get excited.  We like green roofs, living walls, and natural buildings. 

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Organic Fabric from Pick Hemp

Hemp

Whether you are looking for organic fabric for upholstery, curtains, or a headboard, it is definitely a challenge to find.  You would think that by now there would be plenty of companies to choose from with selections similar to regular fabric, but there aren’t.  Pick Hemp, founded in the early 1990′s, has one of the best collections of eco-friendly fabrics on the market.  They offer a range of materials including hemp, silk blends, organic cotton, and soybean and bamboo.  Pricing is incredibly reasonable compared to the other options on the market with a range from $4 – $14 /yard.

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Office Building of the Future, Just Like a Tree! [S2]

Toweroftomorrow This is a preview of what William McDonough (you know, Cradle to Cradle and Time’s Hero for the Planet) will be talking about this week in Abu Dhabi at the World Future Energy Summit.  Dubbed the "Tree Tower" by Building Magazine, a leading UK construction magazine, the speculative Office Building of the Future was originally just a concept for Fortune Magazine in 2006.  There is no commission for the building, but at the very least, it illustrates principles of good design for all buildings.

Blending nature and man-made construction, the Office Building of the Future will positively impact the environment.  Solar and geothermal power create energy, tree-filled terraces recycle water, and multiple skins weatherproof and insulate the inside of the building.  The building, designed with materials that can either be reused or returned safely to the earth, is made to absorb natural light, too.  In all, it’s a super showcase of principles necessary to build something that doesn’t take more than it gives.  We’ll see if McDonough makes any announcements this week.  Thoughts?

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Next Generation Wal-Mart Uses 25% Less Energy!

Walmart_supercenter

I know, I know.  I’m treading on thin water with this one, what with all the haters and anti-sprawlsters out there.  But strictly to make the point that businesses can use less and save money, I like this story.  Next week, Wal-Mart will open the first store of the company’s next generation of green stores in Romeoville, Illinois.  Where their first generation of two green stores saved about 20% energy, this store will save about 25% energy.  The energy savings result from experimentations in refrigeration and heating/cooling systems in their first generation of green stores. 

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American Olean, an Easy-to-Find Eco-tile

American Olean

I was incredibly excited to discover that American Olean, a large well-known tile company, is offering products made of recycled materials.  As we all know, there are a lot of great eco-friendly building materials out there, but it can be a challenge to access them, especially if you don’t live on the West Coast.  Well, here is a product that you can find at virtually any store that sells tile and certain styles are even available at Lowe’s.  Not that I would suggest Lowe’s over your neighborhood tile store, but it’s there as an option, if you need it. 

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