Minimalist Functional Design

Kenya Hara wrote the book “Designing Design“, which is 472 page tribute to “white” not just as color but as a design concept. It contains chapters by like-minded designers such as Jasper Morrison and Naota Fukasawa. The works of German industrial designer Dieter Rams (Braun), and Apple’s “Snow White” design language are other examples of the “less is more” approach …

Ultrafine Yak Wool Clothing: Efficient

Khunu is a start-up company that aims to be the first to bring yak wool clothing to the global market. They offer a range of athletic clothing that is made with 100% Himalayan yak wool. What are the advantages of yak wool? Khunu says that independent lab tests have shown yak wool to be 10-15% warmer than merino wool of …

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Looptworks: Products Made Of 100% “Excess” Material

I’ve been testing some Looptwork products, and they are amazing. Here’s why: the company makes all their products from 100% industrial “excess” materials. That means every zipper, button and thread used in their designs was about to be thrown out. For example, the Hoptu Laptop Sleeve shown above is made with 100% upcycled nylon neoprene which was recovered from a …

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Ultra-Efficient Design Meets Low-Impact Manufacturing: Patagonia Wetsuits

If you’re not a surfer or a diver, a wetsuit may seem like a fairly specialized or even obscure piece of equipment. But once in a while, a product arrives on the market that’s noteworthy not only for how well it performs its job, but also for how it’s designed and produced. Such is the case with the amazingly efficient …

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GreenFiber Cocoon Insulation: Energy Efficiency From Recycled Material

One of the simplest ways to improve a home’s energy efficiency and comfort is to make sure that it is properly insulated. Cocoon Insulation from North Carolina-based GreenFiber is a highly efficient insulator, offering more convenient installation and higher R-values than common alternatives, as well as utilizing recycled source material.

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Efficient: Bamboo Toys

The Contina line by Hape International is said to be the first range of 100% bamboo toys. They are colored with natural, water-based paints. The full range is available from Hape through Amazon. Found via: Eco Child’s Play

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Bloxes: Modular Cardboard Furniture

Cardboard can be incorporated in modern design pieces — check out this impressive gallery of cardboard furniture. Bloxes (shown above) are the latest option in cardboard furniture. The corrugated cardboard puzzle pieces lock together to form sturdy shapes such as chairs, walls, and play forts.

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Cocona: A Fabric Enhancer Derived From Coconuts

Cocona is a natural fabric enhancer that is made with activated carbon. The activated carbon is derived from coconut husks — it is a “waste” product of the water filter industry. But what does Cocona do exactly? It is said to help traditional fabrics resist moisture, control odor and shield ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Activated carbon has a huge absorbing area …

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Optimal Material For Mattresses: Natural Latex

I’ve come to the conclusion that natural latex is the optimal mattress-making material. I’ve tried all kinds of mattresses: goose down, wool, foam, cotton futons and box spring mattresses. But I have to say that my first few nights sleeping on a latex mattress were the most comfortable I ever experienced.

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Color Grown Cotton: Fox Fibre

Some cotton is naturally colored — it grows that way and does not need to be dyed. “Color grown” cotton has its roots in the ancient Americas. Weavers cultivated native white, tan, green, yellow, red, and brown colored cottons for thousands of years. However, the fiber qualities of the cotton was not suited to modern textile machines. Thus, today, most …

A Paint Stripper Made From Corn

Conventional paint strippers are usually very toxic substances that you’d be better off not bringing into your home. But one company, Green Products, has created a bio-based paint stripper and solvent called aMAIZEing.

Biopavers

We mentioned previously that using porous pavers is an effective alternative to paving with concrete. They make patios and driveways less erosion-prone and they do not get as hot as hard-surfaced pavement. Now a company called Biopaver is trying to take things a step further by introducing a new type of paver designed to catch storm water run-off but also …

MetaEfficient: Metal-Free Inks by Ecoprint

Not many print houses put much thought into making their production processes more efficient or non-toxic. Ecoprint, based in the Washington DC area, is different. They have developed their own “eco-inks”. These inks are specially formulated to be free from toxic metals like copper and barium. The Ecoprint shop also runs on 100% wind power, and uses 100% recycled or …

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Transefficient: Porous Pavers

Porous pavers are permeable replacements for concrete or other hard surfaces. They reduce rain water runoff by 90% thus avoiding erosion. Less pollution reaches the waterways because the rain water penetrates the underlying ground more effectively. Permeable pavement is slightly different — it looks like concrete but is structured to be porous so that rain water seeps through it. See …

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Bamboo Flooring

Bamboo is inexpensive, looks great and is a renewable resource. Bamboo flooring is similar in appearance to hardwood but is even more durable in terms of scuffing, wear and expansion. The bamboo is harvested in plantations that take only 3-4 years to reach maturity. Although still not widely used, it is perhaps the most efficient material for flooring.   Purchase …