The seemingly endless supply of tap water is the greatest and most tragic innovation of civilisation, leaving urbanites ignorant about what wasteful their water use habit is. The Quantum tap designed by Michael Scherger and Dennis Kulage will totally help you make things right. Continue reading
The impression of a megacity clogged with dust, terrible traffic jams and deafening horns is about to change as sustainability and citizen-friendly designs are popping up in Mumbai. Earlier this week, Mars Architects, a Dutch-Chinese research and design firm based in Shanghai that focused on sustainable architecture and urban planning, unveiled Water Benches now installed in several parks in the Indian metropolis.
Maintaining both a low-carbon travel style and comfort is a dilemma to globetrotters like us, and the term ‘eco-tour’ does sound like something that interests nobody but the nature enthusiasts. The rise, as well as ‘urbanisation’, of eco-hotels across tourist capitals is a pleasant trend welcomed by conscious travellers; and WE are delighted by this Bangkok Tree House very close to the centre of the Thai capital.
“At the Bangkok Tree House, we believe that not everything needs a functional purpose and that sometimes we need to create things that do not only appeal to the head, but also to the heart.”
The Bangkok Tree House is situated in the Bang Krachao district of Bangkok, also known as the Green Lung and a popular destination for urbanite weekenders. A two-minute cross-river ferry ride from the pier at Wat Bang Na Nok on the Bangkok side, the sleepy area is known for its home-stays, a weekend market and elevated narrow bike lanes that wind over mangroves and water hyacinths, flanked by coconut groves and banana trees.
Inspired by – interestingly – Henry David Thoureau’s classic novel Walden, the Bangkok Tree House is a celebration of nature for lovers of trees, plants, exotic lizards, birds, fireflies, cicadas, butterflies, providing cosy nests – including a ‘Room with a View’, where you basically sleep outdoors under the sky, and ‘River Nest’ (take this term literally, it is a floating bed in the middle of a pool). Some nests offer a stunning view over the river or sweet dreams under the stars – where only birds and other animals are watching. There are no roads for cars leading to the Bangkok Tree House, the only way to access this secluded location is by foot, bike or boat.
No, it’s not a jungle. Quite the opposite, it is a chic complex made of discarded juice cartons, plastic drums (for the pier) and reclaimed wood (for the walkways). There is also a trendy restaurant ‘Reflect’ serving produce sourced from sustainable fisheries, organic vegetables from local fruit orchards and vegan dishes – made with solar cookers. The Tree-top Nest and the Bee Hive also provide visitors with a private rooftop and lounge for sunbathing.
Though the Bangkok Tree House stresses that it is not a place for everyone, we think pleasure is well assured. Natural river breeze, maximum ventilation and wind flow due to painstaking architecture design make it unnecessary to have air conditioning. Many parts of the construction use bamboo – a sustainable, fast-growing and beautiful material that also helps cooling. The natural pond is free of chlorine and other chemicals, and it is a rare experience to share with the pond friendly insects and plants. Your laundry will be sun-dried as a natural process of disinfection. Who greet and server you there are 100% locals who know the district, for the hotel only hires locals who live within walking distance from the Tree House, and uses herbal soaps, shampoos and food products sourced from local sellers in the vicinity of the hotel.
A hearty policy to note – the hotel offers a 15% ‘digital detox’ discount for permanent Thai residents if you agree to leave your mobile phones i a locker throughout the stay.
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Water scarcity is an ugly issue to tackle, yet somehow artists like Peter Hoffman understands the trick to get a message through without losing an essence of artistry, where the work presented is partially art, yet speaks the truth of our current state.
With Fox River Derivatives, a series that literally comments on consumption and clean water scarcity, we happened to believe that it might be more than it. The spray-coated negatives resemble the intoxication of society, how humans push their boundaries until something tragic happens, like what we have done to the environment.
In this case, a trial and error process created a work that “teeter on the edge of radioactive and ethereal’ – meaning that it is overall amazing, yet the simple equation of our reliant to luck made us also neglect our responsibilities. Perhaps beauty has a hefty price.
The ethical force in fashion is unstoppable. In an industry that unites countless brilliant minds - it would be a surprise if the vision honest by. Belgium Bruno Pieters is not shared by more. And now at least Heaven Tanudiredja has the gut to join the movement by working with this most transparent brand on earth for a special accessory collection of six – all handcrafted by the Indonesian born designer with lifetime guarantee whilst retailers usually expect customers to shop expensive and come back on the next day with the wallet.
“What is really interesting in fashion today is how fast everything has to be. Fast design, fast production – the expectations are so high to sell FAST. I try to understand the minds of people, why are people less interested in products that require craftsmanship or slow trade, that might possibly last a lifetime. Personally, I like buying products that can be repaired and stay with me forever so I try to offer this to my customer.
Forget about surreal aesthetic theory if that is what you expect from accessories, for Heaven is in fact inspired by the beauty of the fallen. With mental disorders as the topic, the ornaments in 18k gold or in powered pigment feature gold plated hands and chairs, as well as vintage crystals. Yes vintage because, according to Heaven, “I tend to focus on found crystals that are no longer produced, I enjoy the hunt of finding these obscure crystals, its like treasure hunt for me.”
There are a heavily decorated ‘Avoidant’ clutch, delusional bracelets and necklaces etc. And what’s more – VEGAN.
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Almost a year after the launch of recyclable and bio-degradeable ‘liquid wood’ hangers, United Colors of Benetton has just announced its response to Greenpeace’s detox campaign as the 13th global retailer to make a “credible commitment” to eliminate all releases of hazardous chemicals throughout its entire global supply chain and products by 2010.
According to the Italian retailer, Benetton Group will “put in place additional measures across its entire supply chain that will allow for the implementation of even stricter standards and ensure that no hazardous chemicals are used by any suppliers it employs. ” This applies to all the 6,500 of its stores, including Sisley and Playlife, the other two brands under the group.
“Benetton shows its true colors with this commitment to clean up their toxic footprint,” Chiara Campione, Campaigner at Greenpeace Italy, says in a statement. “The question now is when will the other big Italian fashion houses respond to the demand from their customers and affected communities to create fashion that doesn’t cost the earth?”
Something to note is albeit its imperfection, Benetton has always been giving one step further than many mainstream fashion companies. Maintaining COLORS - which has always been fearless in discussing world topics even ‘Apocalypse‘ and FABRICA, the creative think tank supporting young talents under 25, has been a great effort to praise.
Other brands having made such pledges include Levi’s, Adidas, C&A, Esprit, H&M, Li-Ning, Nike, Mango, Puma, Marks & Spencer, Zara and Uniqlo. WE look forward to seeing more of our favourite names in the line – for it is a right and wise thing to do.
One of the cradles of mankind, China has been through more than 5,000 years of evolution. From yellow ashes to grey forts, the civilisation China is a long and eventful story to tell. Continue reading