The longer I stare at Habitat Hotel, the more I realize what an inspiring, albeit superfluous, idea it was. Created by Enric Ruis-Geli of Spain, the model of Habitat Hotel was exhibited in “New Spanish Architects” at the MoMA last year. While Enric heads up Cloud 9 Archictecture, his background is heavy in directing and set design for experimental theater. This past adds a spectacular quality to this model, now a permanent piece in MoMA’s collection.
Habitat Hotel is, however, a brightly lit model of a hotel, so it’s hard not to think Vegas. A Vegas hotel with smarts.
Not since the Tron debuted have I spent this much time thinking about cars that don’t exist that I want to drive. With the increasing synergy between design and practical engineering, and given the attention to global warming and peak oil, major and minor automakers are stepping up and taking notice. And they’re doing it in style.
A handful of sexy alternative vehicles have already appeared or will soon make it to market – see our top 5 near-term sexy “G” production vehicles here – but that leaves out a vast swath of dreamers imagining a better, sexier way.
So here they are, with less ado then they deserve – the top 5 sexy concept cars.
5. Audi R-Zero
Admittedly this puppy looks like an ethereal fantasy, and will likely remain just that. In other words, what better way to start the list!
Think LEDs are just for your TV, remote control or cell phone? Guess again. Once the tireless workhorse of the electronics industry, LEDs have become the darling of the design world — making inspired appearances in modern day chandeliers, textiles, furniture, and multimedia art. And guess what? Some modern offerings are actually affordable — like this cluster of blow-me-away Balloon Lamps by Japanese design studio Kyouei Ltd.
Did I say affordable? These mood setting lanterns are available for $30 each at Charles & Marie. The lamp arrives flat, ready for you to give it some life. Snap the balloon on to the fixture, and blow into the valve until the lamp has reach your desired dimensions. Suspend them individually, or in a constellation designed by — why, you.
This fabulous pre-fab comes from the Salzburg based company, Espace Mobile. Their sleek home is made from spruce wood and aluminum metal sheeting for optimal energy conservation. Factory made and set up for you by crane, this home comes with a three-year warranty. Kind of like a car, but without the wheels.
However, unlike a car, it’s comfortable to live and work in. The interior and exterior are fully customizable, and the only things not included in the price are the piece of land you’re putting it on, the foundation, the connection costs, the transport and the set up.
A report from the Internal Investigations Panel for World Bank found that the organization had been encouraging destructive logging of the world’s second largest forest. According to The Nation, “the Congo’s forests act as the planet’s second lung, counterpart to the rapidly dwindling Amazon.”
The Congo forest locks around 8% of the world’s carbon. Close to 40 million people depend on the Congo forest for medicine, food and shelter. Controlling the affect of rainfall over the North Atlantic, the Congo forest plays a huge part in the biodiversity of our planet. Over the past few years, with encouragement from the World Bank, timber firms have taken around one quarter of the forest, which is equal in size to the state of California.
In 2002, the World Bank entered the Democratic Republic of Congo with the thoughts of aiding in the country’s economic recovery after years of war. New forestry laws were created. However, the Internal Investigations Panel found that the new policies set in place by the bank were having an opposite effect – not just socially, but economically.
Updated on Volvos push to become an electric car company. The company says they have a 5 year $1.2 Billion investment and plan to bring the Recharge concept to market. The project started back in 2006 and they showed off the Prototype C30 in 2007. Since then the company seems be in hiding and may even be on the chopping block and sold off by the parent company Ford. They are looking for buyers, but no takers as of yet.
Ford vice president of sales and marketing Ken Czubay said in a statement.: “We continue to operate in a very challenging economic and competitive environment,”
What does that mean, for all the very promising technology designed into the C30? Will we ever see it in a Volvo or any of the other Ford brands? Isn’t this exactly the thing Ford needs to save their company? The prototype test vehicle uses the same type of technology GM says they are rolling out in the Volt. An electric motor system assisted by a small gas engine generator, which would only produce electricity for the electric motors to us. The Volvo concept takes that a step further by placing the motors in the wheels.
The Prototype C30 Technology test and concept vehicle that works: an electric car with a combustion engine as backup. It’s called the Volvo ReCharge, and it reminds us a lot of the Chevy Volt. Except that it looks likes a Volvo C30 hatchback and has funky green wheels.
Their bright orange/red hue may be a sign of their demise. The Sumatran Orangutan is in many ways being treated like the “red-headed stepchild” of Southeast Asia. Which is hard to imagine because their perma-smile instantly puts a smile on my face. But there’s some seriousness in the lives of these happy-natured animals. Their natural habitats are being destroyed in order to clear the land for palm oil production.
If you take a look at any of your favorite snacks, chances are you’ll see palm oil among the list of ingredients. It’s low in trans fat which makes it very appealing to food makers. And with Biofuel becoming more popular, the need for palm oil is off the charts. Therein lies the double edged sword. How do you promote the use of alternative fuels without harming an entire species?
Wikipedia, in 2002 the World Conservation Union put the species into the IUCN Red List with “critically endangered” status – and it’s still there on this year’s list. That’s just one step away from being extinct in the wild.
But before you start tossing out everything in your cupboards that contains palm oil, check out the Orangutan Conservancy’s website. It has a list of brands that use oil from “environmentally sensitive” operations.
If you live in Portland, chances are you’re a bike loving, tree hugging, raincoat wearing, beer guzzling pale faced greenie. I see you shaking your heads. But lets not generalize, or anything, lets just look at the facts. Portland has more beer pubs than Starbucks, more bike lanes, than highways, and more rain than, well anywhere on earth.
My guess is that there are no limits to loving your bike if you live in Portland, am I right? For example, it would be completely normal to say, use bikes as moving vans, or ride around in big groups completely naked. (naked Portlanders on bikes after the jump)
The media definitely makes the rest of us feel that way, when we hear things like, Portland has more bike commuters than any other U.S. city. Portland’s city officials even encourage their citizens to stop driving completely, by giving them bike lanes, bike traffic lights and even bike parking. Oh yeah, not to mention the light rail trains with bike friendly spots inside the trains. Green freak land is really the only good description I can think of for this place.
All of this encouragement to get on a bike has had a major effect on the cities economy. In addition to growing the number of riders, Portland has developed a thriving bike industry. There are independent bike frame builders, bike shops, and local cycle clothing companies. Of course, there are also Portland-headquartered national companies such as Nike and Columbia Sportswear that contribute to the city’s bicycling interests, but a recent New York Times piece focused on local businesses like Team Estrogen, an online retailer that sells cycling clothing for women.
By the end of the century, the shellfish species could disappear completely if the amount of C02 into the atmosphere doesn’t decrease. Oceans take up carbon dioxide as it’s produced into the atmosphere and it’s then converted to carbonic acid in the ocean. This acid reduces the availability of calcium carbonate needed by shellfish to produce their shells. The more carbon dioxide in the ocean, the less carbonate is available to those who use it.
Even now, with the ocean being as acidic as it is, shellfish, plankton, sea urchins, starfish, and coral may have difficulty forming their skeletons. Dr. Richard Feely, an oceanographer working at the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle says that water samples show a 30 percent increase in the amount of acidity compared with 200 years ago. Unlike lakes hurt by acid rain that can be treated with alkaline products, the ocean is too big to be treated the same way. The only way to help the oceans is to emit less carbon dioxide.
As we get closer to summer, I start thinking about spending more time in the backyard. I think this every year, but this time I mean business. And as a means of being proactive, I recently went to an enormous home improvement chain to look at outdoor furniture. And to my horror, all I saw was metal and wicker.
Metal furniture, while durable, lacks the warm, cozy feeling I associate with outdoor living. It’s too industrial for my taste. Plus, what happens to all that furniture when it’s disposed of? While metal is certainly recyclable, a big chair doesn’t easily fit into your blue curbside bin, so I bet most people just trash it. As for wicker, I simply hate it. It looks cheap and it’s uncomfortable. Who knew buying outdoor furniture could be so complicated?
Looking for an alternative, I stumbled across Minnesota-based Loll. Their outdoor furniture is contemporary, durable and sustainable.
Would you buy a car that runs on air? After watching this video I admit I would. Innovators in France and Australia have developed engines that run on compressed air. A 2-3 minute injection of air can get you driving up to two hours. It’s an incredible concept that’s taken 10 years in the making and if mass marketed, just may trump mainstream attraction for hybrid cars. This video takes you under the hood, into the engine, and a look into the future of transportation today.
They have some design concept cars on their site at mdi.lu and more videos about the technology they are rolling out the factory door today.
Like the new modular mobile container houses, designer Ben Chappell has created a very uniquely designed trainer (or, as we in the U.S. like to call it, “sneaker”) that embraces cradle-to-cradle thinking to its fullest. Think trainers. It’s a shame more products haven’t been produced using this simple, completely sustainable approach.
But I guess not everybody’s Thinking.
The Think trainers are made with only five separate parts. The design consists of no toxic chemicals. They are simply held together using a mechanical lock system instead of toxic adhesives or cements. Each individual part can be removed, replaced, or recycled at any time. If one part wears out, you don’t have to throw the shoe away, you just recycle the piece. With a variation of colors and styles, it makes it easy for the Think Shoe owner to switch up a look and customize these funky, trendy sneaks to accessorize even the sauciest outfit.