Pages tagged with "sustainability"

    Saturday, February 20, 2010

    A Little Taste of Heaven


    Wasara describe their product as disposable paperware for spiritual enlightenment, and for what its worth we think they're spot on. Their collection of beautifully designed disposable tableware makes us go weak at the knees. :)

    We've all had the disposable tableware dilemma....borrow in crockery for a chic backyard barby, or buy in the disposables and save on the washing up. In recent years theres been some pretty funky cornstarch alternatives on the market, (plastic hasn't cut the mustard for a long time), but this new offering from Wasara takes disposable to a new level.

    Underlying the concept of the brand is the legacy of  Japanese aesthetic and values. With one of the most refined food cultures in the world and a timeless design aesthetic, this range of bowls, mugs, wine glasses, sushi plates could only of come out of Japan.

    Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    Solar Flower Power Street Lamps


    For once one of the multi nationals is looking to nature for the answers, and in doing so has come up with something truly beautiful. Inspired by how flowers open up to the sun to collect the suns energy, the Blossom Street Lighting by Philips transforms cityscapes from industrial to ecological featuring photovoltaic petals that open during the day to collect energy, then at night, the light closes and Led lights turn on to brighten city streets.


    Eco artist Edina Tokodi is making her mark in one of Brooklyns’ trendy suburbs. With an emphasis on the touchy feely, her moss installations challenge preconceived notions of art and graffiti.

    The mossy graffiti art offers an opportunity for interaction with nature within the city boundaries, and the artist believes strongly that the reaction (or lack thereof) of passersby speaks volumes. In an article in Inhabitat Edina says, ‘City dwellers often have no relationship with animals or greenery. As a public artist I feel a sense of duty to draw attention to deficiencies in our everyday life.’

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010

    State. Respond.


    Recent debate within the design community would suggest that sustainability is, or should now be, a fundamental consideration for all designers. Certainly, there is substantial evidence to show how design is making a positive difference in the troubled world in which we live. However, the design industry also continues to contribute to unsustainable systems of waste and excess and has played a significant role in many of the problems we now face. This is both a confronting and exciting time for designers as they make decisions about the work they do, the way they do it and the impact it has on our lives and our planet.

    Object Gallery invited creative directors from five outstanding design studios – each based in New South Wales and each with a genuine track record in the area of ethical and sustainable design – to respond to this statement.

    Bird Textiles was one of them.

    How did we respond?

    Tuesday, April 27, 2010

    Free As A Bird

    No matter how much the wind huffs and puffs through the hills above Byron Bay, the home of Rachel Bending, founder and creative director of leading sustainable fashion and homewares label Bird Textiles, and her partner Campbell is one house that certainly won’t blow down – despite the fact that it’s made of straw.

    As someone who’s passionate about environmental responsibility, Rachel knew straw bale would be the perfect choice for the home she planned to create in the lush Byron Bay hinterland. A traditional building material with serious eco cred – it’s a renewable natural resource with exceptional thermal insulating properties – straw bale is undergoing a renaissance in dwellings. “It’s durable and, when you combine it with passive solar principles and an awareness of the site’s environmental considerations, you can design a house with significantly fewer energy requirements,” says Rachel.

    Read more from this interview with Home Beautiful Magazine May 2010.....


    Wednesday, May 12, 2010

    Dumpster Diving

    If it’s true that one man’s trash in another man’s treasure, Goldsmiths (prestigious UK art school ) design graduate Oliver Bishop-Young should be an extremely wealthy man. The London-based designer repurposes rented skips under the guise of the ‘Skipwaste Project’ to create patches of communal outdoor space, challenging what we perceive as waste and wasted space.

    He has transformed skips into a variety of cool outdoor spaces, including a swimming pool, a living room, a garden, a skate ramp and a campsite.  His designs aim to encourage recycling and sharing discarded objects as well as creative uses of space in a crowded city.

    Monday, May 24, 2010

    Guggenheim Donut Paper Art

    Paper Artist, Mia Liu was born in 1980, in Taipei, Taiwan. She studied at the San Francisco Art Institute, followed with a Masters in Fine Art at the University of New York. She has won numerous awards for her work.

    Made from reclaimed objects, her paper art is exquisitely beautiful. The artist punches holes into thousands of paper strips to form decorative patterns.


    Monday, May 24, 2010

    Deconstructed Architectonics

    Founded in 1948, the Art League is one of the oldest non-profit visual arts organizations in Houston and is the first alternative art space in Texas, USA. 

    But for some time, the Art League has generated relatively little interest amongst either the art crowd or the general public. Perceived (fairly or not) as more of a kaffeeklatsch for local artists of mediocre talent and ambition than as a dynamic organization with interesting programming, the Art League has, for over 30 years, quietly gone about its business of housing classes and exhibitions in a grouping of nondescript white houses in the Montrose.

    Over the years, there have been many abortive attempts to tear down those houses and make a grander architectural gesture; and it seems, finally, that this most recent attempt is actually going to come to fruition. To celebrate, the oft-disregarded Art League has sponsored what is the most exciting installation in Houston in recent memory.

    Thursday, June 24, 2010

    Weaving up a storm

    Danish designer Annemette Beck takes a creative new approach to textile design by utilizing an extremely inventive array of recycled materials.

    Famous for her experiments with new combinations of structures and materials, her line of woven products include rugs, upholstery, fabrics, runners, blinds and even room dividers made from materials such as rubber, paper and metal.

    Beck’s experimental textiles showcase materials that can be salvaged and re-used.

    Sustainable design was given a big thumbs up in Brisbane last week at the inaugural Queensland Premier’s Design Awards.

    Queensland Premier and Arts Minister Anna Bligh announced Alexander Loterzstain and Kent Gration as the winners of the inaugural awards.

    Loterzstain was presented with the $40,000 Smart State Design Fellow, while Gration received the $10,000 Emerging Design Leader award.

    Nice one boys. Great to see Queensland recognising its champions.

    Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Ghosts of Gone Birds

    Enough with the Olympics posters, official or otherwise.....this, my friends, is priceless.

    Doco maker Ceri Levy is the brains behind Ghosts of Gone Birds. Working with hip creative agency Good Pilot out of London Town, Ceri and over 120 artist, writers and muso friends and supporters, have come together to raise awareness for BirdLife International’s Preventing Extinctions programme.

    Switching off now? Don’t. This campaign is brilliant.

    ‘We are raising a creative army for conservation through a series of multimedia exhibitions and events that will breathe artistic life back into extinct birds species’ says the team at Ghosts of Gone Birds, ‘Shedding light on front line conservation work being done around the world to prevent any more birds migrating to gone status’.

    An innovative art exhibition, spoken word and music events make for a tidy creative events programme. But it is the brand identity, images and series of information posters which sell the concept and cause so brilliantly. Do read on to see the series of posters, and follow this link to their website to read the ‘Ghost Stories’ behind each image.

    Ten out of ten from Mama Bird.

    Thursday, August 19, 2010

    The Living Garden of Knowledge

    An astounding living library built from 40,000 reclaimed books has sprouted in the middle of the forest as part of the 11th International Garden Festival in Métis, Quebec. Designed by Thilo Folkerts and Rodney Latourelle, Jardin de la Connaisance, or the Garden of Knowledge, is a unique outdoor library that features living books sown with several varieties of mushrooms. Playing off the theme of paradise and the Tree of Knowledge, the temporary garden brings the books back to their roots in a natural setting.

    The colourful discarded books were stacked to create garden walls, benches and carpets that are integrated within the site and structure of the forest. In an amazing example of book architecture, the books are stacked like bricks, while open volumes form cushioned carpets on the forest floor. Latourelle worked in collaboration with Folkerts of 100Landschaftarchitecktur to design the ‘utopian’ garden as a compelling new way to experience the forest — as an information platform as well as a return to nature.

    Tuesday, February 01, 2011

    An edible revolution

    Slim striped eggplant, fat purple eggplant, green tomatoes, flares of bright yellow sunflower, corn coming into cob and kale... what has happened to Sydney's Town Hall Square?

    To put it simply, the farm has come to town... or the garden, at least. Where there was once only paving, passers-by glance, realise that this is no ordinary garden, then stop to look at the edibles that have invaded the Square.

    Over the coming weeks fresh produce will ripen before city workers’ eyes, including tomatoes, eggplants, capsicums, sunflowers, lettuce and silver beet.

    The display is part of this season's City of Sydney Living Colour display which can be seen in the city's squares. Themed ‘green living’, the display celebrates community gardens and embraces new ideas to help residents and businesses adopt sustainable practices by reducing carbon emissions, water and energy used when delivering food from growers to shoppers. In Australia, the food supply chain produces 23 percent of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions - that includes direct emissions from agriculture and emissions generated from energy, transport, food production, processing and distribution.

    Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    Treehotel - eco luxury on the Arctic Rim

    Many hotels around the world offer guests the chance to get closer to nature, but only this one, in the forests of Swedish Lapland, lets them disappear within it.

    Treehotel is an eco based boutique design hotel located just outside Harads, a small town just 60km from the Arctic Circle.

    Think abstract luxury tree house.

    Drawn by Sweden’s best architects, a series of unique rooms including a giant birds nest, a mirror cube and a UFO sit high above the ground as a series of suspended sculptures. Each tree house is unique and there are plans to build another 20 over the next five years.

    Tuesday, March 01, 2011

    Egg Nogg for the Urban Chooksta

    In January 2010 we became the proud mama and papa of eight (yes eight!) baby girls.

    Crikey I can hear you cry!  Eight? Yes. Eight darling lickle chooks.

    Our new lickle family, Queenie, Blacky, Glynis, Dorothy, Sharon and M’Lady all lived in a lickle house, under some trees in our orchard on the edge of the rainforest.

    They loved the home we had made for them. Sharon, the Silky, thought her new home was nearly as dapper as her hair do. 

    The girls thought this was a pretty cool place to live. Glynis liked hanging out on her perch. There were mangos dripping off the trees. Citrus. Lychees. Bananas. Figs.

    Queenie and Dorothy had a little natter and decided they were on to a good thing at Rach and Cams nest. And because they were on to such a good thing they laid beautiful fresh golden eggs for our breakfast every morning.

    But, you know, M’Lady ...well M’Lady had an eye for detail. She was a cut above the rest. She yearned for a home, with a little bit more style. Panache. She wanted to nest down in something a little more stylin.

    Ten out of ten for Matt W Moore’s scrumptious seed packaging which I happened across yesterday whilst surfin, duckin and diving the net. I am gonna ooze and rave about them because they really do embody just about all that I love about well designed sustainable product/packaging.

    I’m seriously diggin the combination of illustration and typography....could it be possible to get this much pleasure from a play on shape and colour. Love love love.

    With a ridiculously impressive client list, Matt of MWM Graphics considers custom typography his lifes work...and it shows. Based in Portland, Maine, in the U.S., Matt works across several different disciplines. His style is really unique. Colourful digital illustrations and commercial projects, all sit comfortably next to a growing list of Fine Art gallery commissions and exhibitions around the world.

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Reverse Graffiti

    Sustainable communication......street art.......green graffiti. Call it what you will. A new style of communication has hit the streets and the corporate world is sitting up and taking note.

    An early pioneer of the movement is Englishman Paul Curtis, better known as ‘Moose’. No paint, no defacing, Moose takes his cue from the ‘wash me’ messages on the back of trucks. He works in sooty tunnels and on dirty road sidings, by inscribing images, slogans and tags in the dirt. He has been commissioned by a number of brands, such as Smirnoff, who want to convey a sense of “clean” in an innovative way.

    Other artists have used snow, chalk and sand in the same way.

    Leading the way internationally is Dutch new media and communication agency Greengraffiti. Working in the public, government and not for profit sectors, their messages are clean and strong. In their words, ‘using our business as a tool for social and environmental improvement, we aim to be the world market leader in sustainable communication.’

    Sunday, April 24, 2011

    Debris Chandeliers

    What is there not to like about Stuart Haygarths work?

    With a project portfolio that reads like a dream.......The Design Museum, Vogue Nippon, Habitat, Selfridges, Sculpt the Future.......Haygarth is clearly appreciated in his home country, the UK.  Giving recycling the bling treatment, his artworks and designs are eerily beautiful.

    Haygarth’s work comprises a series of design projects using collections of found waste objects. The objects are collected in large quantities categorized and assembled in a way that transforms their meaning. His work is about giving banal and overlooked objects a new significance. The finished piece of work takes various forms such as chandeliers, installations, functional and sculptural objects, but it is the chandeliers that are to die for.

    His longest ongoing project, is based on collections of tidal debris from the coast of South East England, namely the area of Dungeness in Kent. (More of Dungeness next week...from a  visit nearly 20 years ago, to the home of another very inspiring artist/gardener/filmmaker, Derrick Jarman, who lived in a little shack in Dungeness in the 1990’s.)

    Tuesday, May 03, 2011

    Derek Jarman's Garden

    Derek Jarman’s (1942-1994) public image is that of a filmmaker, who dwelled on themes of sexuality  and violence. He was best known for his films Sebastiane, Jubilee and Caravaggio. He was outspoken about homosexuality and his never ending public fight for gay rights, most notably he was a leading campaigner against Clause 28 in the UK. He also broke new ground in creating and expanding the fledgling form of ‘pop video’.

    In 1986 Jarman was diagnosed as HIV positive, and was one of a handful of public figures who discussed HIV publically at that time. By the time of his 1993 film ‘Blue’, in which Jarman describes his life and vision, he was losing his sight and dying of AIDS related complications.

    He was in fact, a very private man, and chose to live out the remainder of his life at a tiny fishermans cottage called ‘Prospect Cottage’ in Kent, on the south coast of England. The solitude and silence attracted him to what was in all reality one of the most harsh and barren landscapes possible ....within a stones throw of Dungeness nuclear power station.

    If you haven’t had the good fortune to come across Andy Goldsworthy’s work......then be prepared to be amazed.

    I first found out about Goldsworthy whilst I was studying textile design in Glasgow in 1991. He had already been creating his amazing art pieces for fourteen years, and my flatmate, a sculptor, was completely obsessed with his work. It wasn’t long before I was too. Twenty years on, with a vast catalogue of site specific sculptures to his name, he is still, without doubt, my top pick.

    Goldsworthy is a British sculptor, photographer and environmentalist producing  sculptures and land art around the world. He works almost exclusively with the materials he finds in the outdoor environment. He is the grandmaster of wrapping, filling, shaping and balancing. Snow, ice, maple leaves, dandelion heads, twigs, pebbles -  wherever he is, Goldsworthy uses whatever happens to be  around him. Much of his work is ephemeral and he records his creations in colour photographs, many of which, with the accompanying text, form an integral part of his work.

    Monday, May 23, 2011

    Solar snowflakes

    It’s hard to believe, but these divine glitter sized shape forms are actually tiny microphotovoltaic cells. Did you ever think solar could be this cool?

    I know I’m a textile designer, and random repeat patterns rock my boat, but truly......it’s a beautiful thing.

    The ability of light to produce electrons, and thus electricity, has been known for more than a hundred years, but these little snowflakes take solar to a new level. Each cell is formed on silicon wafers, etched and then released  in hexagonal shapes.

    They could revolutionize the way solar energy is used, in textiles and clothing, turning a person into a walking solar battery charger. From 14 to 20 micrometers thick (a human hair is approximately 70 micrometers thick), they are 10 times thinner than conventional 6-inch-by-6-inch brick-sized cells using 100 times less material to generate the same amount of electricity as standard solar cells.

    All this, and soooooooooooo beautiful. Ten out of ten from Mama Bird.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    A compostable USB stick?

    Russia’s leading industrial, graphic and web design studio Art. Lebedev has come up with a new concept for the flash drive USB stick. The Flashkus.

    Purchased in magazine sheets, and detached along perforations as needed, the bulk of the packaging can be composted, with the electronics all contained in the tip of a detachable cardboard module. The recycled cardboard material is easy to write on directly, negating the need for stickers or additional packaging.

    Alternatively, the cardboard can be custom branded or use feature graphics. Maybe a Bird Flashkus?

    Art. Levebdev Studio’s Constitution is worth a glance.  I particularly like points 11 & 20.

    As are the portraits of its art directors.


    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    The Tree in Changing Light

    'We wrote philosophies, built faiths and took every kind of comfort from trees. They gave language to our existence as we put down roots, stretched our limbs, budded in infancy and were felled in old age.

    They were mute companions to our lives and worshipped beyond themselves as the better part of balance and aspiration.

    They offered steadiness and long patience even as we failed in those.

    They offered an image of completion, which was an illusion, but it was enough.

    Theirs was a whisper in the wind to the human ear both tragic and hopeful. Civilisation grew from exploiting, destroying, venerating, and looking back on them.

    Trees led us to ourselves and we stood against them, trunk to trunk, arms upon branches, our thoughts tangled in the stars.'

    Tuesday, June 28, 2011

    Seedbom - a war on terra

    Their strapline reads “War on Terra, seedboms are friendly bombs exploding with flower power for responsible rebels in the war against weary wastelands”. .....and eco vandals around the world are soaking and shaking with covert rebellion.

    Following the growing movement in guerrilla gardening, these funky little seedboms are handmade in the UK from reclaimed and recycled materials such as post consumer paper and used egg cartons. They also contain organic peat free compost, organic fertiliser and a selection of easy to grow flower seeds. The seedboms breakdown over time and biodegrade into the environment leaving only flowers behind.

    The concept struck a chord with Selfridges new concept store in the UK, ‘Grow’ , and so in collaboration with Selfridges and Guerillagardening.org , Seedbom were given the enviable opportunity of creating a Selfridges window display with their product, in Selfridges main windows Oxford Street, London.

    Tuesday, July 05, 2011

    The curvilicious Villa Nefkens

    Those of you who’ve seen this mama birds nest, will know I have a thing for curves. At my house, the walls are made from strawbales, so we were able to create long ambling organic curves with the bales and a chainsaw (see my blog post on our home from last year).

    But the bottom line is....curves just do it for me. I think being a curvy kinda girl gave me a head start on appreciation for the non straight line. But when you put curves with architecture and a northern European aesthetic, well.... it’s enough to make me think I’ve died and am on my way to curvalicious heaven.

    Enter Mecanoo. That’s Mecanoo the prominent Dutch architectural practice, not Meccano the children’s model construction system...although there are parallels across both brands. Both have a joyful approach to building. Both are the complete opposite of cool, abstract and minimalism. Maximalist might be a more appropriate term for their approach to building. But it’s creating that warm fuzzy feeling that both brands really have down pat.

    DeKalb Market opened last weekend, in downtown Brooklyn, New York.

    Another inner city artist market? Well, maybe. But the thinking behind DeKalb has a little bit more to it.

    Its fair to say Urban Space have been reinventing spaces for over 30 years now, both in the U.S and in the UK. Camden Lock, begun by Urban Space in 1978, is the fourth busiest visitor destination in Greater London. In the 90's it was my local weekend haunt. Many businesses I know, found their feet in Camden markets. Not least, The Body Shop founded by one of my all time greats, the late Anita Roddick. So, knowing Urban Space, in conjunction with local designers Young Woo & Associates are behind this initiative, is as good a place as any to start.

    Brooklyn is known for its history in manufacturing, ship building, and as a commercial port, so it's only fitting that its latest community destination is made up of a collection of salvaged shipping containers.

    Tuesday, August 09, 2011

    one tree, 478 lemons

    We've been blessed with a bumper crop of lemons this year, here at Bird HQ in Byron Bay. Homegrown, organic lemons. 478 so far, to be exact. From one little tree! And still counting. Eek.

    It's something to do with all that nutritious chook poo mulch our little chooks have been scratching down the hill towards it me thinks. And lots of love and sunshine too.

    Lucky for us, the chooks have been laying lots of eggs too lately, so we had in mind something we could make with all our eggs and lemons. Even luckier for me, my very handy helper Little Miss Q,offered to help harvest the lemons off the tree. And even luckier still, my mum, aka Granny Ang, is a bit of a dab hand at old fashioned lemon curd.

    Dare I say it, but after 30 years in the Womens Institute (the British version of the CWA) Granny Ang has got the humble sponge and the mighty preserve (and quite a few other little gems) down pat. She's been keeping us busy sending over all her award winning recipes. We've been cooking up a storm in the kitchen of Bird HQ, and the fruit of our labours is going down a treat with friends and family. If you'd like a very special recipe from Granny Ang's recipe file read on......

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    Richard Rogers' ode to Wales

    ODE  1. A lyric poem in the form of an address to a particular subject, often elevated in style or manner, written in varied or irregular meter and expressive of exalted or enthusiastic emotion. 2. A poem meant to be sung.

    Many of you will know that I grew up in Wales. That’s Old South Wales, rather than New South Wales. The land of song.  ‘We’ll keep a welcome in the hillside, we’ll keep a welcome in the vales, this land you knew will still be singing, when you come home again to Wales....’ Sigh.

    This Christmas I’ll be going home for Christmas in Wales. We are taking our daughter home to the land of song for the very first time.

    So it seems kinda fitting to share a special bit of Wales with you today. To share with you a building whose structure ebbs and flows with the songs of Wales, encapsulating the heart and soul of its nation.


    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    The curvilicous Wright House in Durban

    Following up our series of posts on curvy homes, I came across this stunning home in Durban, South Africa. But this one’s a double whammy.

    Those of you who’ve seen our nest, will know I have a thing for curves. Curves.....ahhhh.. But I also have a thing for straw. At our house, the walls are made from strawbales, so we were able to create long ambling organic curves with the bales and a chainsaw (see my blog post on our home from last year).

    What’s fabulous about the Wright house in Durban, is the way they’ve combined the straw and curves. Not strawbales, as we’ve used at our home, but straw thatch.

    South Africans are renowned for their thatched roof homes, its a traditional building technique used for centuries. This take on traditional technique with a very modernist building style is highly unusual...and yet it works. The texture of the straw is divine, and works well with the smooth flowing curved structure.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Eco Chic for Three

    A block of land in Byron Bay, slowly evolved into one couples prefect eco-house, designed to have the lightest possible footprint on the land.

    Rachel Bending remembers the first time she laid eyes on the Byron Bay hinterland and the strong connection she felt to the area. ‘The Byron Shire is very similar to where I grew up in ‘Old’ South Wales in the UK’ she says. ‘Both have stunning, unspoilt beaches, rolling hills and farming land, leading to rugged, wild forests and cliffs’.

    With her partner, Campbell Rowe, Rachel bought a block of land in Byron Bay in 2003. To familiarise themselves with the property and see how it reacted to natures elements, such as the sun and wind, Rachel and Cam spent four years living part time on the site in a caravan, all the while commuting to Byron Bay and Sydney to run Rachel’s environmentally focused business Bird Textiles.

    Read the rest of this interview, from the current November issue of Australian Womens Weekly, by clicking this 'read more' link.

    Now in its 6th year, the Byron Bay International Film Festival has established a reputation for dynamic programming. This reputation is built on the festivals ability to pull together a captivating, stimulating and entertaining dose of screen culture. But there two stand out genres for which both the festival, and Byron Bay, are best known. Surf/street culture, and conservation/the environment. Screening over 10 days, from 2-11 March , further programming and ticketing information will be available in the lead up to the festival at www.bbff.com.au.

    Here’s our top picks from their enviro programme:

    Manufacturing Stoke. Surf. No other sport is so intrinsically linked to nature. And yet, in becoming the multi-billion dollar industry it is today, a great paradox has arisen. Surfers are directly connected to the earth’s pulse and yet a majority of the materials used are environmentally toxic. Manufacturing Stoke, is an introspective look into the surfing culture’s struggle for positive environmental change. Follow this link to the movie trailer.