Design Wire August 2020

The latest creation by architect and designer NINA EDWARDS ANKER of NEA STUDIO is the CAPE CHAIR. Its shape was informed by Anker’s years living in Norway, where she found inspiration in the organic forms of ice and snowscapes. The original prototype was created by a Norwegian oil industry engineer who specializes in the production of curved industrial parts. The Cape Chair, which is named for the double-curved shape of its back, is now constructed by a master woodworker in California.

In collaboration with the SEAQUAL INITIATIVE, British textile manufacturer CAMIRA is turning plastic waste into yarn and fabric. A large percentage of the plastic for the OCEANIC PROJECT is harvested from the Mediterranean Sea and beaches in Spain, but postconsumer plastic bottles are also used. The collected plastics are sorted by polymer types, then washed, shredded, and made into polymer chips before being sent to the yarn supplier; the supplier combines the chips with additional postconsumer chips derived from plastic bottles before creating the yarn. After the yarn is texturized, it is sent back to Camira to be woven into textiles. The final fabric is soft and durable, and just one meter of it contains the equivalent of 26 plastic bottles.

A set of stained-glass-style solar panels will be installed as part of the roof at the DUTCH BIOTOPE PAVILION at EXPO 2020 DUBAI (which has been moved to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic). Designed by MARJAN VAN AUBEL, the lightweight photovoltaics generate power while also letting tinted daylight through. Van Aubel created the colorful panels by using organic light-absorbing dyes that cover particles of titanium dioxide and turn sunlight into electricity. The result is a low-cost, flexible, and attractive solar cell that can be applied to a translucent material, such as a sticker. The Dutch Biotope highlights sustainable technology and design and their potential uses. The pavilion will be made from sustainable materials that will be recycled or reused after the event is over.

MOUNTAIN VIEW FARM in Dyer Brook has constructed an in-ground greenhouse—the first of its kind in Maine. Called a “Walipini” (the Andean indigenous Aymaran word for “place of warmth”), the walls of the structure are buried underground in the soil, and the roof is constructed above ground to let sunlight in. At a certain depth, the temperature of soil is constant at around 52 degrees throughout the year; geothermal cooling and heating moderate the temperature in the greenhouse. While personal Walipini greenhouses aren’t uncommon, this is the first time one will be used commercially in the state.

London-based architecture and design firm JAK STUDIO reimagined the everyday sofa into an at-home work pod. Like many of us suddenly facing pandemic lockdowns, studio director Jacob Low found himself working from home and struggling to stay focused. After watching his children build dens from ordinary household items, he was inspired. “It dawned on me that the limit to what we can use our homes for is infinite if we are creative,” he says in an article from Dezeen. While it’s still just a concept, the L20 sofa is L-shaped and splits down the middle. A “quick release” mechanism converts half of the furniture from a horizontal to a vertical position to create a pod, which features a fold-down desk, a reading light, and USB and laptop charging ports; the fabric helps with noise control. And, if you’re finished with work and need a place to sleep, the sofa transforms into a bed, too.

A fisherman and his family have found a way to repurpose old and worn fishing bibs (overalls) and pants. Their company, RUGGED SEAS, creates tote bags, backpacks, clutches, watch caps, and hats from recycled hauling pants and bibs. Rugged Seas started as a way to raise awareness for the working waterfront. “A lot of times, [tourists] purchase a product, but nothing goes to the fishermen,” says cofounder Taylor Strout in an article from Maine Biz. “Fishermen are the reason why people are here in the first place.” Taylor and his wife, Nikki, work with PRATT ABBOTT to clean the gear, while Lewiston-based ROGUE WEAR manufactures the bags. The couple plans to donate a portion of their profits to the MAINE LOBSTERMEN’S ASSOCIATION and MAINE COAST FISHERMEN’S ASSOCIATION.

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