HauteGREEN Sneak Peek: The Best in Sustainable Design

HauteGREEN is coming (we've mentioned it not once, but twice), and TreeHugger is pretty excited about it. Not only is Graham Hill, TreeHugger's founder and fearless leader, one of the curators, but each product is an outstanding example of contemporary sustainable design for the modern home, and finding the best of these is essentially the reason TreeHugger was born. In the next month leading up to the show, we'll be profiling some of the products entered in this year's show; sort of a sneak preview, to whet your appetites and give an insider look at the designs on display.

Part of TreeHugger's Best of Sustainable Designers series, their latest work is designed by Paris-based Godefroy de Virieu, and utilizes the unique characteristics of bamboo (one of TreeHugger's all-time favorite materials) to create a completely new and multi-functional everyday kitchen tool.

Bamboo grows "nodes" which are the natural separations in a bamboo culm. The designer was inspired by the bamboo node to create a patented design that cleverly integrates a spoon rest directly into the spoon handle. This conveniently elevates the utensil head, keeping countertops clean. Each is hand-shaped from a single piece of organically grown bamboo, then burnished and hand-finished with an all-natural food-safe oil. Ultimately, it's a product that solves a problem (imagine: no more sticky, oily, messy counters); isn't that what great design is all about? ::HauteGREEN and ::bambu

The second in our series of profiles leading up to HauteGREEN is Galya Rosenfeld, the San-Francisco-based designer who has also brought the world her Cocoa Modular Scarf. Like the scarf her Modular Pillows are made from upholstery fabric scraps that have been reclaimed and made into the modular units. There are no glues, stitching or other attachment method used, instead relying on an interlocking system to keep the pillows together; this makes for easy disassembly and recycling. Once disassembled, the modular units can be re-purposed into something new, and if a single modular unit gets damaged or stained, it can be replaced instead of having to replace the whole product. About the pillows, Rosenfeld has this to say: "Considering our changing needs and the whimsy of our fashion, I wanted to create objects that could be transformed -- to create a system that would extend the "design life" of objects. Colors and patterns are altered as desires change. Compositional variation can be introduced as oppose to identical mass produced objects, allowing each piece to be one-of-a-kind." ::HauteGREEN and ::Galya Rosenfeld

Today's installment of our series on what you just might see at HauteGREEN next month features Plywood Office Stripe(S) series of bent plywood furniture. The matching end and coffee tables are a study in clean yet striking modern design, and they do an amazing job with resource efficiency; the end table uses one sheet of 3/4" plywood, and the coffee table uses two sheets. That's it. The "stripes" that make up each table are are carefully bent from bamboo, birch or walnut, fastened together with TreeHugger-friendly glues and topped of with non-toxic finishes. Says designer Chris Jamison, "The most important thing this line does is communicate the nature of the materials used. Instead of hiding the reality of the material (the resources consumed plus the process of making it) we celebrate the nature and beauty of it." With results like this, we hope the celebration never ends. ::HauteGREEN and ::Plywood Office

Even though we just featured another coffee table in our Sneak Peek series, technically the Full Slant coffee table by Rhubarb Décor is both a coffee table and a bookshelf. It fuses a novel approach of displaying books utilizing their natural tendency to lean with the elegant nature of bamboo ply. The table was inspired by watching books housed between vertical walls. According to designer Todd Laby, "They seemed to try to find comfort by leaning awkwardly under the weight of gravity and yet were slowly damaging their spines. I decided to create useful spaces where books could recline naturally and still remain upright. Hence the name 'Slant'." The table is made from bamboo ply, chosen for its unique strength and beauty, as well as to showcase that sustainable materials are more then mere material substitutes, that their unique properties can both enhance and drive innovation to create ever more useful, modern and intriguing products. ::HauteGREEN and ::Rhubarb Décor

The fruit of the vine is enjoyed twice in the latest installment in our ongoing series about what just might appear later this month at HauteGREEN. We spotlight the work of Jerry Kott, who we've featured before on these pages. Both the Khrysalis Lamps and RE Series are made with recycled wine bottles, which Kott cuts apart, frosts and then reassembles with decorative results. He uses keywords like rebuild, redefine, relive, reinvent and recycle for his work, which yields simple, colorful, decorative glassware. Jerry has some interesting things to say about the inspiration for his work: "I have often described the RE series as a marriage of Beyond Thunder Dome and the Bauhaus. It is primal, obvious, utilitarian -- an idea waiting to be explored and adds a new dimension and perspective on how we view what we have from another angle"; about the Krysalis, "When lit, they appear to me as a Chrysalis-exuding it's own energy with it's glow…like a hanging sculpture about to come alive. The simplicity of its form and its function echoes 'less is more.'" ::HauteGREEN and ::Jerry Kott

It's no secret that TreeHugger is a big fan of bamboo. Regular readers see it pop up on these pages fairly regularly, and while they may tire of our seemingly ceaseless promotion of the wonder-grass, we haven't run out of reasons to like it yet. We've already highlighted it once in our ongoing series featuring a sneak peek into the entries at this month's HauteGREEN, and we're doing it again. Today's feature, "Slippery Shelves" by Cambium Studio, are available in bamboo, though can also be built with other sustainable woods like coconut palm, FSC-certified walnut, and salvaged urban trees, and they're designed for people on the move. The piece is easy to hang on the wall, uses few materials and travels easily if you need to relocate. Each shelf can move easily through a dovetail in the backboard, offering new configurations in mere moments. Versatile, beautiful, sustainable: a trifecta that should please any TreeHugger. ::HauteGREEN and ::Cambium Studio

Today's entry into our series featuring the best sustainable home designs that have been submitted for showcase at HauteGREEN takes inspiration from leftover cardboard and clumsiness. The team at G|O|E Design (Jeremy Grove, Campbell Orme and Shaun East -- we've featured them before) marry this odd pair into a hand-made table lamp that's sturdy enough to not mind being knocked off a table top while simultaneously using up all of their waste packaging. Waste cardboard is compressed together to form big cardboard laminate blocks. Each one is then hand-turned to form simple, soft shapes; the hand-turning process insures every one is unique. With each lamp produced, there is more beauty, more light and less trash in the world; if only all designs were so thoughtful. ::HauteGREEN and ::G|O|E Design

Though still relatively young (we featured them soon after their launch a few months back), Mod Green Pod is making a splash on the sustainable design scene by putting a modern twist on the damask, a baroque classic, and you just might see their work at HauteGREEN coming up in a couple of weeks. In our ongoing series featuring the entries to the sustainable design show, we take a peek at their pioneering printed organic cotton upholstery fabric. They source their plain cotton canvas from a company that is a certified organic cotton fabric producer. The organic certification enforces not just strict rules to prohibit toxic chemicals from entering the process, but it also ensures that fair wages and safe working conditions are provided for everyone involved in the farming and post-harvest production.

The fabrics are hand silk-screened on tables by skilled artisans in New England, using low-impact, water-based inks. The fabrics are then mechanically finished without chemicals. Says designer Nancy Mims, "One of our major goals is to educate consumers about the importance of choosing organic cotton products over conventional cotton. Conventional cotton represents but three percent of the world’s crops, yet it’s doused with 25% of all pesticides and 11% of all herbicides. We find this shocking and wish to push this message along to customers who may be unaware of this fact." ::HauteGREEN and ::Mod Green Pod

London based Finnish designer Anne Kyyrö Quinn produces stylish contemporary home accessories which are all handmade, and they might just make the cut to be displayed at HauteGREEN later this month. In the latest installment of our series on the best in sustainable home design, we take a look at these gorgeous Leaf wall panels made from 100% wool. The renewable fabric is naturally fire retardant, and the panels are designed in a way that doesn't require offcuts and creates minimal waste. Illustrating an interesting crossover between handcrafting and industrial design, the clever, clean, leaf-inspired design is fascinating to the eye and to the touch, enhancing but not overpowering the room it calls home. ::HauteGREEN and ::Anne Kyyrö Quinn

Before launching in to today's sneak peek, we have an announcement: HauteGREEN is looking for volunteers to help set up for the big show later this week. They're looking for help hanging the show and hanging lighting beforehand, as well as reception hosts during the event and help with breakdown next Monday. Anyone willing to help should contact hope(at)o2nyc(dot)org. Now, on with the post. We're coming down the homestretch before the big show this weekend; today we feature the Shroom Light by MIO (the same designer who brought us fabulous 3-D wallpaper, the Bale Chair and funky Light Capsule). Using traditional felt molding technologies and local manufacturers as a source of inspiration; the Shroom Light explores felt's natural beauty as a material for diffusing light. Material density softens and directs light, producing relaxing atmospheres that range from the warm and relaxed to the psychedelic and fun. Made from 100% wool, the Shroom Light is designed for easy disassembly for transportation and recycling. The shades are manufactured by one of the last remaining millineries in the US, and the design requires the use of compact fluorescent light bulb. Designed by Jaime Salm and Kate Wise, the shroom light works best as mood lighting for tabletop and floor use, and are ideal as nightlights or in clusters around living areas. ::HauteGREEN and ::MIO

We've given lots of love to Adapt Design before, for their various classic bamboo designs like the Spring Chair and similarly-styled side table. They were even featured as one of The Best of TreeHugger Designers, so we're glad to see they're getting some outside recognition for their fantastic work. The Spring Chair's single bamboo part form minimizes weight and material waste, and its ergonomic design is contoured to the body. The strength and flexibility of bamboo create a gentle rocking action in this sensuous chair. We hear they've got something special up their sleeve for this TreeHugger classic; we'll all just have to show up to see what Adapt might pull out of their hat to improve this chair. ::HauteGREEN and ::Adapt Design

Just two days to go until HauteGREEN, which means this series is winding to a close, and we've been saving one of our favorites for today. It's hard for us to think "sustainable design" without thinking of Q Collection, the fabulous New York-based furniture and textile designer (we've featured their furniture and in our "Best of TH" Designers series). For the show, they've submitted two lines of textile fabric: Velluto (pictured) is the most sustainable velvet on the market. Made with 100% New Zealand wool pile, Velluto is backed with 100% European Ecological Cotton. Because it is Oeko-Tex certified, it exceeds European health requirements. For the other line of fabrics, called Satin Wool, Q Collection partnered with one of the world’s leading mills focused on sustainability. Highlights of the textile production partnership include: water that leaves the mill is cleaner than the drinking water that enters it; excess fabric clippings are used as mulch by farmers in the surrounding area; and dyes pass the most rigorous tests for human health and the environment. This is all done with the primary goal of the elimination of toxic chemicals, carcinogens and the leading components of poor indoor air quality; that it looks fabulous is a nice perk as well. photo credit: Chad Hunt ::HauteGREEN and ::Q Collection

After weeks of swooning and drooling over the best contemporary sustainable designs the world has to offer, we've finally arrived at the big event. HauteGREEN starts tomorrow, showcasing the best collection of TreeHugging designs ever accumulated under one roof, and for anyone in the greater New York area, we highly recommend it. Our ongoing series has been bringing some examples of the entries to the show; to find out whether or not any of them show up this weekend, you'll just have to go (though they're all winners in our mind). We've seen today's entry from designer Daniel Michalik before, but it's worthy of another look and certainly deserves to be included in any "best of" sustainable design list. Made from cork that originates as the waste material from the bottle stopper industry, Cortiça showcases cork's tremendous potential to perform in ways unlike any other material. Says Michalik, "I have discovered that when handled correctly, the natural flexibility of cork allows it to form fantastic, complex shapes no other material can match. The balanced form, along with the pliability of the material allows the user of this lounge to rock gently from side to side or on her back with a great degree of stability. The result is a sensation of floating, weightless and totally supported." That's really what we all want when lounging, right? ::HauteGREEN and ::Daniel Michalik

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