This Month in Green Design: A Home Made from Cars, Stylish Coffee Shops, and an Inflatable House

This Month in Green Design: A Home Made from Cars, Stylish Coffee Shops, and an Inflatable House

K. Emily Bond is the Shelter Editor at EcoSalon and brings us a monthly column on the latest in conscious and green design.

I’ve been mulling over the perfect opening for my first in a series of guest posts on green design and thus decided that the very best way for to dig in would be…to say, hello.


I’m the Shelter editor at EcoSalon, where we write about a great many things pretty and green. Our aim is to make green design and architecture approachable, thought provoking, attitude-transforming, doable and above all else relevant.

Our readers are mostly women, who aim to infuse their closets, homes, brains, boudoirs and appetites with heart. We serve up green conscious goodness for almost all aspects of their lives, from fashion to sex.

In Shelter, the home is not treated as a hot tin roof to store your stuff. Nor is it an ivory tower or glass dome under which to showcase aesthetic perfection. It’s a refuge, a place to explore ideas for more healthful living.

We try not to bang on about LEED certified this or FSC approved that, though we heart both. We’re jargon and judgment free; dare say, we patch up bleeding hearts with lots of love and heart-to-heart common sense.

Enough about us. On to what’s new, interesting, and relevant in green design in architecture this month.

At Home

This care of one of our favorite design blogs, Design Milk.

Dutch designer Lucas Maassen is pint-sizing his family business. Furniture Factory is a collection of handmade pine wood furniture created by Maassen and his three sons. He employs each of his boys to paint the pieces, paying them 1 euro for every item they complete. Per Dutch labor laws, they are limited to three hours of work per week.

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Maassen is truly teaching his children the value of the euro and DIY enterprise. 

Lucas Maassen & Sons from Lucas Maassen & Sons on Vimeo.

At Work

Remember when there was no such thing as global warming? Times, they are changing. According to a new fancy pants report out of Boston, nearly a third of companies now say that sustainability is contributing to their profits. These so-called “Harvesters” are companies that contribute to lowering carbon emissions, reduce energy consumption and invest in clean technologies.

The green Harvesters supreme are…

Under a Hard Hat

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We followed the Solar Decathlon closely and were among the first to report the winner, University of Maryland’s WaterShed. We are even happier to report that WaterShed the house has found a surprising home. Pepco, the Washington D.C. area's electric utility company, bought the solar-powered house and plans on turning it into a "living classroom" and an energy-testing laboratory.


Say what you will about Starbucks, the new Tukwila, Washington location is truly impressive.

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The company has taken note of the shipping container trend, seen in everything from delicate ceramics to food access solutions, and opened their first store made out of recycled shipping containers. Four shipping containers were used in total, and the store was built to LEED standards using green energy and water efficiency. Evidently, it’s part of a global company initiative to green their buildings.


Green architects Kate Leger and Karl Wanaselja salvaged 104 junkyard cars to make up the siding and roof of their Berkeley, California home. Their concrete floors are made from the remnants of burning coal; the walls are made from poplar bark, considered waste in the North Carolina furniture industry.


Architects from Studio a+i have proposed a moving AIDS memorial to be placed in a triangle across from the former St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. The design is called Infinite Forest and features groves of trees and mirrored glass surfaces.


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Meanwhile, critics in Washington, DC are not so impressed with Frank Gehry’s vision for the Eisenhower Memorial in Washington, DC calling it “creatively unconventional”, “innovative in form and use of materials”, “monumental in scale” and yet totally and completely off. Even latter-day Eisenhowers hate it (hate is a strong word…make that strongly dislike it) and are calling for a redesign.

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The monument focuses on Eisenhower’s dusty, barefoot childhood in the Midwest without paying significant attention to his military and presidential years. It’s now up to the National Capital Planning Commission to decide.


Basic House is a breath of fresh air. Conceived by Barcelona designer Martín Azúa,  the idea is to challenge the concept of a private home. It’s “foldable, inflatable…reversible” and inhabitable.

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It’s also beautiful, in its way, the idea of defining shelter without traditional walls, out of doors, in a mossy field of green. 

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Bart on Feb 15, 2012:

The video under the paragraph 'Experimenting' starts automatically, which is annoying if you open the page in a new tab along with other things. Please turn autoplay off!

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