“Lagniappe” is a concept from my Southern Louisiana childhood — it translates roughly as “a little something extra,” and refers to things a merchant might toss in with a purchase (think a baker’s dozen). This week, I thought I’d give you a little lagniappe on some of our previous Greener Consumption themes. So if you’re looking for new reuse projects, green items for the kids or more indoor gardening ideas, we’ve got ‘em.
Sure, kids need lots of stuff, but that doesn’t have to be a reason to compromise your environmental values. From back-to-school shopping to playtime, we’ve found a whole range of products that keep your kids green.
Your garden not doing so well? Neither is mine — this heat and drought have been brutal. Rather than bitching, though, those of us with yards might want to take a look at the practices and products used by people without them (or with really limited space) for growing ornamental plants and vegetables.
What do you do with stuff when its reached the end of its useful life? Usually we trash it, but there’s probably still some kind of use left in it. From take-out containers to phone booths, here are some product ideas that make use of that “garbage.”
When I saw Don and Megan Draper’s find out where the set designers found every single item. You probably don’t have your own set designers, so I’m going to help you find a few products to midcentury-up your own abode:
Refrigerate and cook food without electricity? We’ve got finds this week that get you pretty close, along with mushrooms that eat plastic, and plans to reuse dirty diapers (really!).
The DIY, electricity-free refrigerator: Ever heard of a zeer pot? This very old concept for keeping food chilled only requires two clay flower pots, and some sand and water to build yourself. (via @dothegreenthing)
And then cook that food without power: Well, not exactly, but with a lot less power. The Wonderbag keeps food cooking after the heat’s turned off, and was originally designed for very poor people who couldn’t afford much fuel. (via Inhabitat)
Flip Chairs: Each of Daisuke Motogi’s candy-colored chairs can be flipped upside down or sideways to create new seating options. A high-backed chair becomes a low seat, or a lounger becomes a rocking chair. Come to think of it, it’s about time the rocking chair had a design makeover…
Article: Green tech finds, 10/6/11
A plug-in outdoor table, and how your labtop might contribute to rainforest destruction: this week’s green tech finds.
Wisconsin as a microgrid hub: There’s more than ugly political battles going on in the Badger State. A university-industry consortium announced an initiative to establish “microgrids” at UW campuses in Milwaukee and Madison over the next two years. (via @RepowerAmerica)
Milan Design Week may be over and done with, but so many incredible ideas made their debut on the vast showroom floor that the event still has us buzzing. Take this deceptively simple idea from Italian designers Peter Bottazzi and Denish Bonapace that turns used up and useless old furniture into artfully rendered homes for plants. Called Da Morto A Orto, or from redundant to abundant, Bottazzi and Bonapace took various pieces of furniture and combined them into hybrids – a rolling desk chair with a wooden dresser drawer and an aluminum lamp or a plush armchair with metal pots sprouting out its back. The combinations are endless and these pictures are the ultimate inspiration for DIY-ers.
Article: A Taxonomy of Office Chairs
For designers, the chair is the ultimate object. Designer Ross Lovegrove puts it well. “Chairs,” he says, “are an infinite source of potential to explore material, structure, technology and form…all related to the human body and its elevation.” But given its status, Jonathan Olivares, who heads a design consultancy in Boston, was surprised that he was unable to find an objective reference manual on the subject. Books about chairs are popular, to be sure, but they’re skewed towards the author’s own personal tastes. So Olivares decided to write the book himself, an unbiased compendium that designers could refer to in order to get the whole history, not just one person’s historical preferences.
Article: The walking table
Dutch designer Wouter Scheublin created this kinetic walnut table, “Walking Table” that responds with an uncanny shuffling walk when pushed and thus “perplexing our perception of the ordinarily static piece of furniture.” The designer also built an accompanying walking bookcase. As someone who moves apartments as frequently as I have, I’m hoping walking furniture is…
To accompany the debut of the now-iconic Eames Lounge Chair in 1956 designed by Charles and Ray Eames for the Herman Miller furniture company, this commercial aired on NBC. To the soundtrack of a playful piano, the film demonstrates in a stop motion manner, the utilitarian assembly and construction of their lounger that reflected the…
Article: Transforming oven lounger
A design student at University of Cincinnati – College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) built this amazing transforming oven lounger for his class project. It was constructed as an art piece to illustrate an elegant example of the principle of reuse. Fully functional as a piece of seating, this oven lounge has the…
Yep, today is America Recycles Day, so if you spend any time at all in the green blogosphere, you’ll be seeing lots of recycling stories and tips. Much of that will focus on the typical household materials — paper, plastic, and aluminum — along with electronics (since e-waste has become such a huge issue).
My own browsing around this weekend brought me to another item that probably won’t get as much attention: the wooden shipping pallet. If you’ve spent any time at all around any kind of warehouse operation or shipping/receiving docks, you’ve seen these… and know they generally go straight in the dumpster. You may not know, though, that these humble items represent a massive waste of wood.
Article: Lois, a cool looking table
Charles Waugh of Boring (!), Oregon makes this cool flexible table named “Lois.” The cedar table top gives it a rustic warmth, while the metal legs, with parts scavenged from steel yards and dumpsters, adds a certain steampunk vibe. Get it here.
Article: Cool bike-book shelf
Furniture designer Chris Brigham and his one-man firm “Knife and Saw” created this nifty storage solution that’s perfect for any bicycling bibliophile. This shelf however will not work for upside-down bikes.
Article: Modern chair foosball
Jakob Maurer, Rupert Adlmaier and Thomas Egger are new heroes of mine. The three designers made an incredible foosball table from different pieces of furniture: a dresser, a kitchen table, and a pair of rollerskates. Instead of little soccer men these furniture geeks made two different teams of chairs. Team one are classics of the…
Article: New-Old designs of 2010
New York Magazine’s recent Home Design issue highlight 21 designs for the home that embody the “Neo Classics” aesthetic which refresh old iconic and classic designs with new materials, edgy colors and styles. I’m particularly enamored with this “cyclone lounger,” a Le Corbusier inspired chair from Red Hook furniture company Uhuru’s Coney Island line which…
Article: Real Good movie
Blu Dot Real Good Experiment from Real Good Chair on Vimeo. Full confession: by day I work for the furniture manufacturer Blu Dot. The film above that documents the Real Good Experiment is wonderful. And I am not just saying that because I worked on it! Blu Dot (me included) dropped 25 Real Good chairs…
Article: Gymnastics furniture
No, my headline and this entry isn’t a euphemism for those tastefully shaped furniture advertised in the back of lifestyle magazines to aid limber couplings. These actual benches and end tables spotted on a German blog (translation help anyone?) are created from recycled pommel horses typically used in men’s gymnastics. The distressed brown leather quality…
Article: Tilt chair
I’m not sure if this is what Fat Joe was referring to when he rapped “Do the roc-a-way, now lean back, lean back,” but as a guy who chronically tilts back in his chair, Deger Cengiz’s cleverly designed chair is filed under “Want” and “Need.” Maybe I can justify expensing it with the excuse that…
Article: Eric Ku, Chair/Chair
School of Visual Art graduate Eric Ku created this functional typographic chair that’s getting some well deserved buzz around the Internet. He’s currently looking for a job. [Via]