Product Letter 11.2008

Dear Readers

Everybody is talking about the subject of sustainability. In conversations with designers and manufacturers we wanted to know what their attitudes to this subject really are. In a suitable vein we are also presenting ecological mini wind turbines for individual use, news from the Cersaie ceramics fair and a project implemented by the University of Utah in support of needy families - total sustainability.

Producing plastics from renewable raw materials is nothing new, but in spite of this the overall proportion of biopolymers is still relatively low. Swiss designer Beat Karrer has for some time now been researching new processing methods which are aimed at increasing the prospects for the use of biodegradable plastics on an industrial scale. We have been able to take a look at his laboratory.

Be inspired!

Your Architonic Team
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What is Sustainability?
Call for a more sustainable debate
Sustainability is both a commandment and a buzzword for our times. But what do we mean by sustainable design? Are sustainable production and sustainable marketing at all possible in a global market place? At this year's Orgatec we discussed the subject with representatives from the furniture industry in an attempt to find out how ‘green' design is interpreted. The reference to long lasting products with a timeless design, a reference which is as popular as it is over-used, is correct but a simplification and only a single cog in the complex clockwork mechanism of real sustainability. What is urgently required , is an international evaluation standard, but we're still a long way from this. Here are a few opinions from the industry:

Koray Malhan, Brand & Product Manager at Koleksiyon
«1. A product shouldn't be trendy but classic, like the timeless Eames chair which you should still be using after 80 years.
2. All parts should be separable to be recycled.
3. Resources are important. They should come from a sustainable forest without habitat or fauna. Wasting one rainforest tree means wasting millions of years of DNA. Short-term »green« products are just marketing and lead to green destruction.

Our most sustainable product: CALVINO by Studio Kairos is the most sustainable. Because of the construction: all parts are separable, all parts are recyclable. The extended pieces are made of aluminium, which is 100% recyclable. The thin frame uses a special structure that holds together with less material. The pieces are connected by screwing together; all framing is done within two minutes.»

  What is Sustainability?  
Calvino work table and Calvino complementaries by Koleksiyon

Mimi Lindau Rikardsson, CMO of BLA STATION
«Getting right behind a product from start to finish, this is what sustainability means! Local manufacture and distribution are important. It's not enough to launch a green product just because it's trendy and it's what the customer wants, while the rest of your production is rubbish. Sweden thinks ahead. Why does everything always have to be new? For a long time now eco has been anything but dull and dowdy.

Our most sustainable product: the BOO chair
The felt is drawn over the frame. This is a cooperation with Kvadrat and the chairs are also tested by Kvadrat. The felt which is used can be recycled. The felt base carries the eco-Swan label, which means it is manufactured in an environmentally-friendly way. This also absorbs sound - a metal or plastic chair makes a lot more noise. It's modern in design and material. For gluing we use a special adhesive, a mixture of polyester and micro-fibre. This chair is made to 60% from recycled materials and can be fully recycled. Everything is produced in Sweden, which means that no CO2 is required for air transport. We monitor the entire production chain, from design to production. Even small family companies have kept their production in Sweden - we were thinking green and local at an early stage.»

BLA STATION stand at Orgatec 2008 with the BOO chair, design: Stefan Borselius, 2008. Received the Swedish Design Award S 2008.
High-Tech meets Eco
The Swiss designer Beat Karrer researches new processing methods of bio-degradable plastics

There was no lack of euphoria in the last century when plastics and the corresponding industrial processing methods were developed. The world began to light up in all the colours of the rainbow, but few people were able to anticipate the effects which petroleum-based plastics would have on the global eco system in the future.
Today 225 tonnes of plastic are produced every year worldwide. Plastics owe their success above all to their useful properties, because they are easy to mould, durable, and above all cheap. Probably too cheap, because only a small percentage of this material, most of which can be recycled, is actually recovered. Apart from what is today seen as its devastating carbon footprint, plastic also makes a major contribution to global rubbish problems. An obvious example of this is the waste maelstroms which are formed in the oceans by the accumulation of floating rubbish. The biggest of these carpets of waste lies between California and Hawaii and has achieved the size of central Europe.

  High-Tech meets Eco  
Material tests with biopolymeres by Beat Karrer
It is fanciful to imagine that one day all these drifting plastic bags and bottles will suddenly break down and disappear.
The Swiss furniture and product designer Beat Karrer has for a long time been researching applications and processing methods for biodegradable plastics.
«Design as Italian Value»
The 26th Cersaie
    «Design as Italian Value»  
Series «Dechirer», Patricia Urquiola for Mutina

Ceramic tiles as wall decoration were brought to southern Europe by the Moors and the first European ceramics industry was to be found in the Roman Empire. It is therefore not surprising that the most important trade fair for the ceramics industry takes place in Bologna, Italy, and acts like a magnet for architects, interior designers, manufacturers and dealers from throughout the world.
To the present day the craft of ceramics, with its cultural and design values going back thousands of years, represents an important industry for Italy and one which is to be marketed even more intensively in future.

The more than 85,000 visitors to this year's Cersaie fair from 30 September to 4 October banished the fears of the over 1,000 exhibitors that the current financial crisis would lead to falling turnover.

Audience at the press conference, Palazzo Re Enzo, Bologna

Ceramic products have a wide range of applications, not only in public buildings, offices and hotels, but also in private houses. With functional and attractive design the participating manufacturers presented an innovative and sometimes surprising approach to ceramics.
The Quiet Revolution
How mini-windmills find their way into urban spaces

When mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that he wanted to make New York the foremost eco city in the USA his announcement was met with a certain amount of incredulity. At first glance supplying the major energy needs of a city with a population of ten million by wind power sounds like a rather foolhardy dream. However, it shouldn't be forgotten that this is the United States, a place where the 'American dream' can and does come true.

  The Quiet Revolution  
Energy Ball by Home Energy

In fact Mr Bloomberg is not so far from the truth in his assumption that there is no reason why wind turbines shouldn't find their application in an urban environment. There are now a number of companies on the market which specialise in the development of micro wind turbines that enable individual power generation. The energy which is generated in this way can then either be fed into the grid or, by means of suitable storage equipment, enable self-sufficiency in terms of energy supply - once more increasing the relevance of the strong trend towards «mobile living».

Vertical and Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines (VAWT and HAWT)) by the British company Quietrevolution and the California based company Aeronvironment

So far wind power installations have not found their way into the city, partly because of a lack of consistent wind conditions and partly because of the noise which the turbines create. However, the development of smaller turbines could change this in future.
Students from the University of Utah planning for and with families who live below the poverty line

DesignBuildBLUFF is a studio headed by philisopher and architect Hank Louis. At the University of Utah College of Architecture and Planning first and second year students of architecture are given the opportunity every spring to build housing for poor families on the Navajo tribal reserve near Bluff, Utah. Over 43 % of the Navajo nation, whose territory covers south-eastern Utah and parts of Arizona and New Mexico, live below the poverty line, and the need for housing is correspondingly high.

In cooperation with the Navajo Housing Authority the students select a needy family who are ready to work with them in an innovative and sustainable design. The families are involved from start to finish in order to ensure the comfort, sustainability and success of the project.
Product & Material Innovations 2008
Part 1
With its new category «Product and Material Innovations» Architonic is from now on presenting a regular service with the aim of keeping you right up to date with the latest information, innovations and developments from architecture and design.
Each of our newsletters will provide you with a selection of the latest, most interesting new developments from over 50,000 products and materials - researched and compiled by our scouts, who attend all the relevant fairs and exhibitions throughout the world on behalf of Architonic and filter out the best of the best, exclusively for you. This is part 1:
  Product & Material Innovations 2008
More Articles from «News &Trends»
I wear my eco-glasses at night
The world's first ecological disco opens in Rotterdam, Holland
  More Articles from «News &Trends»

At a new disco in Rotterdam clubgoers can not only drink and dance -- they can also do something for the environment. However, it's not a place where organic vegetables are sold. Instead the operators of 'Club Watt' are trying out an entirely new energy concept. It's called 'sustainable dance club'.
Laboratory of the future in the desert
In 2015 the world's first carbon neutral city will be ready for occupation near Abu Dhabi. The main role here will be played by pedestrians.

The concept of an ideal city is often connected with the idea of Utopia. A city which is planned from nothing is an attempt to provide an environment for an ideal concept of society.
The floating home

In many countries there is a long tradition of living on the water, and even today many people feel the desire to live close to it. For them the solution is a houseboat or floating home.
Professional family excursion
Designers' Saturday in Langenthal - a former tip for insiders has become a major attraction.

The twelfth Designers' Saturday took place in Langenthal during the weekend from 8 - 9 November. In contrast to the major furniture fairs, Designers' Saturday focuses more on the setting for the products - within the production facilities of the six organisers
Unsung America: Less Callous in Calais
The new land port of entry in Calais, Maine, is designed by Robert Siegel Architects
In searching for an American design, one may as well start at a bookend. The sun rises over Calais, Maine, the easternmost city in the United States.
Koolhaas Houselife
A film by Ila Bêka and Louise Lemôine
«For example up there, what's holding it up? Okay, it's a wall, but that's not supporting anything....
I hope it all doesn't come tumbling down one day. It just hangs there, you see».
Prefab, High-Concept and Green

Thomas Small is an accomplished cook, so it's important for him to try new and exotic ingredients every now and then. When it came to the construction of his eco-friendly house, that's exactly what his architects gave him.
New & renewed memberships on Architonic
Coming soon on Architonic
    Coming soon on Architonic