Fumihiko Sano Studio creates cedar-lined chocolate cafe in Kyoto

Dandelion Chocolate, Kyoto, designed by Fumihiko Sano Studio

Fumihiko Sano Studio has created a cafe and shop for San Francisco chocolatier Dandelion Chocolate, which occupies a century-old house in Kyoto, Japan.

Dandelion Chocolate is a small-batch bean-to-bar craft chocolate maker from San Francisco that has cafes dotted across the US and Japan.

The brand’s latest Kyoto branch is located on a quiet street in the city’s Ichinenzaka neighbourhood.

Dandelion Chocolate, Kyoto, designed by Fumihiko Sano Studio

Shortlisted in the restaurant and bar category of the 2019 Dezeen Awards, the 200-square-metre cafe is arranged over two floors of a 100-year-old timber-framed house.

It comprises a cacao bar where customers can order pairings of alcohol with chocolate desserts, a shop and a traditional Japanese courtyard garden.

Dandelion Chocolate, Kyoto, designed by Fumihiko Sano Studio

The self-titled studio of Tokyo architect Fumihiko Sano, which was charged with developing the cafe’s interiors, opted to use cedarwood as the main material for the project.

“Considering the parallels between craft chocolate and cedar, both require authentic craftsmanship and carefully selected natural ingredients – so I made the decision to place cedar at the centre of materials used for this project,” said Sano, who began his career as a Sukiya-Daiku – a carpenter for traditional teahouses.

“Cedarwood is also one of the main materials of Japanese architecture.”

Dandelion Chocolate, Kyoto, designed by Fumihiko Sano Studio

The interior of the building was completely renovated years ago, making it impossible for the studio to know exactly what it would have originally looked like. However, Sano’s redesign features the building’s original exposed beams and columns.

“My plan was to revive the atmosphere of the traditional Kyoto to which this building used to belong, while at the same time creating a casual, open space reminiscent of San Francisco, where this brand was born,” he said.

“The interior needed to be recreated as if it had never gone.”

Dandelion Chocolate, Kyoto, designed by Fumihiko Sano Studio

Customers enter the cafe via the shop space, walking past a coffee bar through to a foliage-filled courtyard wrapped with tall panels of glazing. A corridor leads from here to the cacao bar that’s situated at the rear of the store.

Here staff serve chocolate dessert and drink pairings from a counter lined with vertical planks of 700 – 900 millimetre-wide Yoshino cedarwood.

Dandelion Chocolate, Kyoto, designed by Fumihiko Sano Studio

A wide staircase nearby takes customers up to the first floor where more seating is located.

“The store is designed to make you feel you are in a dynamic open space,” said Sano. “The floor plan is laid out to give reinforcement to the building where needed..”

“It is my pleasure to give a new purpose to a building that has stood there for more than one hundred years. May it thrive for another hundred, full of new memories.”

Dandelion Chocolate, Kyoto, designed by Fumihiko Sano Studio

Fumihiko Sano Studio has previously an installation made up of Muji shelving units and a wood-lined members club in Paris.

Other sweet-treat stores include Mast Brothers in New York, which features stripped-back interiors that allow visitors to view the chocolate-making process and Glace et Chocolat in Tokyo, which boasts stacked-soil walls that resemble layers of cake.

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One prosthetic leg by Klippa on the rocks please!

We usually find our way around doing the everyday things despite any hurdles, emotional or physical, that we face. But some of us can miss out on the things we actually want to do, things that aren’t a part of daily routine but an escape from it! For those special people who want to climb rocks, Klippa is here to move mountains with its unique prosthetic leg.

Although it is still just a concept, Klippa has created a prototype prosthetic leg with a biometric approach for amputee rock climbers. It was inspired by the documentary Higher Ground which films 11 veterans climbing Himalayan Mount Lobuche to heal from their war experiences. Research also revealed that between 2010 and 2013, more than 600 American veterans were amputees and most amputees take up physical activities like rock climbing to rebuild their strength – Klippa was born for serving exactly that very audience so that they can enjoy their life with a prosthetic designed keeping all their non-daily needs in mind.

Amputees face a lot of challenges like loss of strength, no control over the ankle, no grip and no feedback from their foot. Klippa addressed all of the above by making sure to add 5 types of foot techniques to increase toe strength, custom sizing, advanced articulation with springs, shock absorption and extra pivot points. The design has a human and biometric approach inspired by mountain goats which is the reason behind its hoof-like sole! Klippa’s prosthetic leg is ergonomic, adaptable and will be your rock throughout your journey.

Designer: Kai Lin

David Rockwell designs Sage office furniture to be more sustainable and adaptable

David Rockwell and Benchmark Sage Collection

American architect David Rockwell has designed a collection of more sustainable office furniture for Benchmark that draws on the adaptability of his theatre set design.

David Rockwell and Benchmark Sage Collection
The height of the Sit-Stand Desk and Workbench can be adjusted at the touch of a button allowing users to work while standing

Rockwell Group designed the Sage Collection for furniture manufacturer Benchmark to comprises workspace furnishings like sofas, benches, storage units and movable desks all constructed with sustainable materials.

The New York firm, which has designed sets for Broadway plays, approached the collection’s design with a similar mindset to create pieces that are flexible, but that also promote wellbeing. Several of the furnishings can be transformed and customised to suit multiple functions and environments.

David Rockwell and Benchmark Sage Collection
A panel made with wool, felt and cork extends up from the centre of the desks to create separate work spaces and board for pinning up items

“It’s similar to set design; you need to create the right pieces for the actors to manipulate and advance the storyline,” Rockwell told Dezeen. “Adaptability, privacy, and wellness are key to establishing a sense of wellbeing in your personal space.”

Sage Collection is designed to align with environmental and sustainability standards set forth by WELL and Declare.

David Rockwell and Benchmark Sage Collection
The pieces all use “natural, sustainable non-toxic materials and finishes” and comply with environmental sustainability standards.

WELL is a certification that credits buildings enhancing the health of their inhabitants, while Declare is an initiative that was launched earlier this year by the International Living Furniture Institute. It calls for material transparency, so consumers know where parts are sourced from, where the product was manufactured, and its expected lifetime and recyclability.

All of the materials and finishes in the Sage Collection, which include, walnut, sycamore, oak, wool and copper, are natural and non-toxic. Upholstery on the sofas, lounges and benches is filled with coir, latex, sheep wool and recycled cotton, rather than plastic foam.

David Rockwell and Benchmark Sage Collection
Also in the collection are the Sage Meeting/Dining Tables, which are available in three shapes: round, oblong and rectangular

“This overcomes the significant environmental concerns surrounding the disposal of plastic foam in landfill as well as eliminating the need for toxic, fire-retardant chemicals,” the studio said.

Among the collection is the Sage Sofa which comes in two heights. One features an extended wooden back that curves around the upholstered base to allow for separation and privacy from surroundings.

David Rockwell and Benchmark Sage Collection
A curved wood back wraps around the textile seating to make up the Sage Sofa 

The Sit-Stand Desk and Workbench is modelled after the craftsmanship of a classic drafting desk, and combines contemporary technology and timeless design. At the touch of a button the height of both can be lengthened, allowing users to work on their feet.

A rounded panel, made with wool felt and cork, extend up from the desks to act as a functional space divider.

David Rockwell and Benchmark Sage Collection
The collection also features circular oak and sycamore side tables

Other pieces in the collection include circular oak and sycamore side tables, upholstered benches that can include a wood backrest, dining tables with rounded or rectangular edges and patinated copper details that can also double as adjustable height meeting surfaces and a sideboard that serves as both a divider and storage unit.

David Rockwell and Benchmark Sage Collection
All of the pieces have been upholstered using natural wool materials and are filled with coir, latex, sheep’s wool, and recycled cotton rather than plastic foam

Founded in 1984, Rockwell Group has completed a variety of projects across the fields of architecture and design – including a plywood stage for Diller Renfro + Scofidio’s The Shed, furniture for Chinese brand Stellar Works and interiors for hotels including Moxy Chelsea.

Benchmark was founded by Terrance Conran and Sean Sutcliffe over 30 years ago it brings sustainable and innovative technology to all of its products. The Sage Collection, which launched this week at London trade event 100% Design, follows other collaborations with architectures including Foster + Partners.

Photography is by Petr Krejci.

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Polycarbonate roof spans long Brazilian residence by Nitsche Arquitetos

Piracaia Residence by Nitsche Arquitetos

This residence in Brazil designed by São Paulo architecture firm Nitsche Arquitetos features a covered veranda and infinity pool that overlook the nearby waterway.

Piracaia Residence by Nitsche Arquitetos

Nitsche Arquitetos designed the 1400-square-metre house for a site at the top of grassy hill in Piracaia, a town located in Brazilian state São Paulo.

Piracaia Residence comprises a metal structure made up of 17 3.8-metre-wide-modules that are used define rooms and form areas such as the covered porch. A large gabled roof featuring a metal frame with polycarbonate panels slotted in between covers over the entire structure.

Piracaia Residence by Nitsche Arquitetos

The house is divided in to sleeping areas, a large open patio and enclosed living room and kitchen space. Glazing wraps around the latter to provide expansive views of the entire landscape, including the waterway, with sliding glass doors that open to an outside patio.

“The social and intimate areas of the house develop on a unique, elevated level of natural terrain,” Nitsche Arquitetos said.

Piracaia Residence by Nitsche Arquitetos

“Large sliding glass doors allow the living rooms and kitchen to blend in with the covered area, blurring the boundaries between inside and outside, which the house insists to disrupt,” the studio added.

The indoor kitchen features black countertops and stainless steel appliances. A tri-coloured hexagonal strip of tile extends seamlessly from the interior kitchen to the outdoor cooking area, which is decorated with similar textures and colours.

On the opposite side of the residence, five bedrooms, each with an en-suite bathroom line a single hallway that runs along the entire wing.

Wooden lattice screens, known as mashrabiyas, line the exterior of this section and mark the location of the bathrooms. The carved wood is also used to create panel folding doors inside each bedroom.

Piracaia Residence by Nitsche Arquitetos

Sandwiched between the bedrooms and indoor living areas is the porch with several seating options and an outdoor kitchen complete with a pizza oven. The space steps down to the pool deck which is highlighted by the infinity edge pool that buts up to the hillside overtop an estuary.

Piracaia Residence by Nitsche Arquitetos

“A large covered free standing space connects intimate and social areas allowing the landscape to cross the house,” the studio said.

The house also features garage and service and technical equipment located in the subterranean concrete basement.

Piracaia Residence by Nitsche Arquitetos

Other houses in São Paulo state include a residence by FGMF Arquitetos that rests on top of a sloping landscape, a modernist house by Perkins + Will, an open-air home with pivoting walls and a snake-like house with a grass roof.

Photography is by Nelson Kon.

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Cyberpunk Scenes of Animals Roaming the City at Night

Le photographe Carlos Jimenez Varela combine des images libres de droits et ses compétences en Photoshop pour créer des scènes surréalistes d’animaux sauvages errant dans les rues de la ville. Varela a joué avec l’ampleur et la proportion de chaque animal par rapport à l’architecture, ce qui a conduit des pandas de la taille d’un King Kong à s’enlacer contre les murs des bâtiments ou de gigantesques escargots à glisser le long de la route. Pour donner au projet une esthétique cyberpunk, l’artiste a baigné chaque scène de la lueur des néons. Plus d’informations sur le site Web de Varela, Behance et Instagram.

Outpost tops London terrace extension with a zigzag zinc roof

Albion Terrace by Outpost

A zigzagging zinc facade and a bright blue kitchen are part of an extension to a house in London‘s Albion Terrace, designed by architecture studio Outpost.

Called Albion Terrace, the project is located in the Albion Square Conservation Area in Haggerston. Outpost extended and restored the Victorian terrace from the 1840s that was in need of modernisation and repair.

Albion Terrace by Outpost

Following the constraints of the site, the single-storey extension projects outwards at the rear of the home. The new part matches the width of the original building, creating a kitchen and living area that opens out onto the garden.

Zinc cladding provides a dramatic silver contrast to the brick terrace. A large door and window with Douglas fir frames open to the garden.

Albion Terrace by Outpost

The kitchen has cobalt blue counters that match the house’s front door.

To create what the practice called a “beautiful internal ceiling-scape”, the roof is formed of four long, narrow pitched-roof sections. The result is a distinctive exterior appearance that maximises the feeling of vertical height inside.

Albion Terrace by Outpost

“Narrow west-facing roof lights pick up the movement of the late afternoon but do not allow excessive heat gain,” explained the studio.

These skylights in each roof section create a changing scene of natural light throughout the day, casting patches of sun and shadow across the space.

Albion Terrace by Outpost

The interiors, arranged around a single black steel column that support the extension’s roof, have been finished simply in white, with a concrete floor and the contrasting blue kitchen counters.

Lighting rails have been incorporated along the length of the extension to help illuminate the dining area at night.

Albion Terrace by Outpost

The new dining room sits at the end of a narrow corridor that leads from the home’s entrance, and has also been directly connected with a new set of doors to the existing living room.

In order to future-proof the building for hot summers, the ceiling incorporates a built-in heat-source pump system, which pumps chilled water through the structure.

Albion Terrace by Outpost

Outpost was founded in 2016 by Robin Sjoholm and Thomas Housden.

Other house extensions with interesting features in London, include Archmonger’s corrugated metal extension inspired by a stegosaurus, and an extension by MATA Architects featuring movable wooden shutters.

Photography is by French + Tye.

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Yuri Suzuki shows the fun side of sound design in seven offbeat projects

Yuri Suzuki

There’s a lot more to sound design than special effects, says Yuri Suzuki. The London-based designer talks Dezeen through seven projects that show how he is using design to improve our relationship with noise.

Born in Japan, Suzuki trained as a designer rather than as a musician. He is now a partner at major design agency Pentagram, working on installation, interaction and product design, and also sidelines as a DJ.

Suzuki’s work explores how the world of sound can be made more tangible, through its relationship with objects and technology.

“So much sound is not well designed”

“My definition of sound design really comes from the perspective of a designer, thinking about how we can design the sound of our environment,” he told Dezeen.

“So much sound in our surroundings is not well designed, like in public transport for instance,” he explained. “I want people to know that product design can offer an answer.”

First sound designer at Design Museum

From now until January 2020, Suzuki is presenting some of his “strange and fun” projects at the Design Museum in London, alongside the installation Sound in Mind, for which he has installed a network of listening tubes in the building’s main atrium.

He is the first sound designer ever to exhibit at the museum. But he hopes to inspire more people to work in the field.

“Music and sound can really help in communication,” said the designer, “and physicality can really emphasise the presence of the sound.”

Here are seven projects that Suzuki is particularly proud of:

Yuri Suzuki sound design: Sound in Mind

Acoustic Pavilion/Sound in Mind

The first iteration of Sound in Mind was created inside the Le Corbusier-designed Saint-Pierre church in Firminy, France in 2015. Visitors were invited to piece together tubes, to make listening devices in varying shapes and sizes.

Different shapes created different sound effects. “This project was about the participation of people, building their own sculptures” said Suzuki.

At the Design Museum, the structure has been designed to climb up a staircase in the atrium.

Yuri Suzuki sound design projects: Sonic Playground

Sonic Playground

Following on from the Acoustic Pavilion, the Sonic Playground was a series of sculptural horns installed outside the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2018. They were designed to encourage interaction between strangers.

A person might scream or shout at one end, while another person might stick their head inside the tube at the other end to hear the result. Different distortion effects were applied, and the sounds came out of different places, so the result was often surprising.

“I wanted to make a moment for communication with somebody else,” said Suzuki.


OTOTO is an electronic device that allows you to turn any object into a musical instrument. Colourful crocodile clips connect anything – from a solid object to a liquid – to a synthesiser, then any touch will cause the device to make a sound.

It is also possible to change the type of sound each object makes.

The project stemmed from Suzuki’s own frustrations trying to understand computer programming. He wanted to make it easy for everyone, regardless of their experience, to make electronic music.

“When I was child, I was always making my own electronic musical instruments, but you need to have programming and physical computing knowledge, so it was really hard for me to build anything,” said the designer.

“There are plenty of people who have no idea how to make an electronic project, but those kind of people could still have really amazing ideas for how a music interface should be.”

Yuri Suzuki sound design: Colour Chaser

Colour Chaser

This is another toy-like project that Suzuki developed in response to his own struggles making music. Being dyslexic, one of the biggest obstacles for him was being unable to read musical scores.

The Colour Chaser was born out of the desire to create a type of musical notation that could be drawn by anyone. A robot follows lines drawn in felt-tip pen, and when it passes over a colour, it plays a corresponding sound.

“I wanted to create a new kind of musical notation that would allow more visual people to understand how sound works,” said Suzuki.

Yuri Sukuki sound design: Amateur Music Production

Amateur Music Production

This project, which Suzuki created in collaboration with Jerszy Seymour, considers how the rise of digital music means that analogue mediums, like the CD or cassette tape, will soon be little more than a memory.

The pair developed a primitive stamping device to allow people to make their own vinyl records, as records of their digital purchases.

“Records are really difficult to copy, so records keep their value in their physicality,” said Suzuki. “It made me think about how we could create records in a craft way.”

Yuri Suzuki sound design: Tube Map Radio

Tube Map Radio

Suzuki created this radio, which takes the form of the London Underground map, for the Design Museum’s Designers in Residence programme back in 2012. Every component has a reference, for instance the battery sits in the location of Battersea Power Station and a speaker can be found on Speaker’s Corner.

The idea was to make it easy for people to understand how the circuit works and how to fix it if necessary. It was a reaction against today’s consumer culture, where it is often easy to replace rather than repair.

“I created this circuit board design to help people visually understand what’s happening with the electronics,” said Suzuki.

“From commuting, you know each Tube line really well already. So we actually linked the component functions to stations.”

Yuri Suzuki sound design: Sound Taxi

Sound Taxi

This installation from 2012 saw Suzuki transform a typical London taxi into a sound machine. Covered in speakers and microphones, the car recorded the sounds of the city and transformed them into music.

“As we walk down the street, it is really provocative in way, because people treat us with noise that is not music at all,” said Suzuki.

“By driving this car, the street can have a totally different music composition. We translate the street noise into something else.”

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This week, installations by Kengo Kuma and Sam Jacobs opened at LDF

Bamboo Ring Kengo Kuma V&A installation

This week on Dezeen, installations by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma and British architect and designer Sam Jacobs opened at the V&A museum as part of the London Design Festival.

As part of London Design Festival the V&A played host to a number of installations including a bamboo and carbon-fibre structure called Bamboo Ring designed by Kengo Kuma. The architect hopes that the material will be used to create earthquake-proof buildings.

Also on display is a four-metre cube suspended above a public walkway within the museum. Called Sea Things, Sam Jacobs’s installation looks to a future where there is more plastic in the ocean than there are fish.

Masters of Disguise masks: MLXL
23 weird and wonderful masks feature in Masters of Disguise exhibition at Seeds

Other things going on at the design festival included an exhibition of 23 masks at Seeds Gallery, that saw various designers create face-covers from fabric, wood, glass and even a cut-up bottle.

On South Molton Street in central London, designer Camille Walala installed 10 brightly coloured benches, and cube-shaped planters to “inject some colour and light” into the shopping street which previously had no public seating.

Alessi private equity fund
Alberto Alessi sells 40 per cent stake in family business to private equity fund

In design-industry business news, British lighting manufacturer Plumen revealed that it will cease production of its award-winning Plumen 001 light bulb and that the company is looking for a buyer.

Meanwhile, Italian homeware brand Alessi has sold 40 per cent of the family-owned firm headed by Alberto Alessi to a London-based private equity fund called Oakley Capital.

Marcus Thomas and Dezeen Awards 2019 judge Nelly Ben Hayoun with Dezeen's founder and editor-in-chief Marcus Fairs and Atelier NL co-founder Lonny van Ryswyck
International architects and designers celebrate at Dezeen Awards 2019 shortlist party

In other news, we announced five new speakers for Dezeen Day, our inaugural architecture and design conference that will take place at BFI Southbank on 30 September.

Added to the impressive line-up are Dara Huang, Arthur Mamou-Mani, Paul Priestman, Natsai Audrey Chieza and Andrew Morlet.

The announcements followed the Dezeen Awards shortlist party that saw Mamou-Mani join architects, designers and revellers at the Delta Light showroom.

The Twist art gallery at Kistefos sculpture park in Norway, by BIG
BIG bridges river in Norway with twisting art gallery

Bridges were big in architecture news this week, literally in the case of The Twist, a spiralling, aluminium-clad art gallery by BIG that spans the river dividing Kistefos sculpture park in Norway.

In the US, architects Payette used overlapping panels of weathering steel to create a 98-metre-long bridge connecting two areas of Northeastern University in Boston. The bridge offers glimpses of the trains that pass beneath.

Glug creates digital database of protest posters for today’s climate strikes

With climate strikes taking place around the world yesterday, Dezeen live-streamed a summit on the Architecture of Emergency from London’s Barbican Centre on Thursday night.

Creative organiser Glug created a digital archive of posters that climate protesters can download for free and carry on marches, whilst numerous UK architects closed their offices for the day to take to the streets.

Gateway to Space interiors by Viewport Studio
Viewport Studio completes desert-inspired interiors of Virgin Galactic’s Gateway to Space

In architecture news from the US, the long-running saga over housing designed by Kanye West and built on his Calabasas property appeared to come to a close this week. Three of the four dome-like structures have been taken down.

In the New Mexico desert 800 miles away, the Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space building has been fitted out with neutral tones that avoid the “clichés of the space age” by Viewport Studio.

Kooroomba Chapel by Wilson Architects
Wedding chapel by Wilson Architects will slowly become overgrown with vines

Other popular stories this week included a a $5 million gold toilet that was stolen from Blenheim Palace in the Oxfordshire countryside, a wedding chapel in Australia that will gradually become overgrown with vines and 11 architectural shelters for cats.

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Bio-ID Lab designs DIY algae-infused tiles that can extract toxic dyes from water

Algae tiles Indus by Bio-ID Lab at the London Design Festival 2019

The Bio-Integrated Design Lab at the Bartlett School of Architecture has created a modular system of tiles inlaid with algae that can filter toxic chemical dyes and heavy metals out of water.

Called Indus, the tiles are on display in the UK for the first time as part of the London Design Festival. They are designed to be built on site in areas with contaminated water sources, where artisans can pour water over the tiles to purify it.

Algae tiles Indus by Bio-ID Lab at the London Design Festival 2019

Each tile is made simply by pressing clay – or a similar low-cost, local material – into fan-shaped moulds with a series of “vein-like channels”.

These mimic the structure of leaves and their ability to distribute water evenly to every part of a plant.

The ravines are then filled with micro-algae which are suspended within the “biological scaffold” of a seaweed-derived hydrogel. This keeps the algae alive while also being completely recyclable and biodegradable.

Algae tiles Indus by Bio-ID Lab at the London Design Festival 2019

“The materials required to prepare the hydrogel along with the algae cells can be supplied in powdered form,” explained the project’s lead, Bartlett PhD student Shneel Malik.

Much like cooking, you can add just the right amount of powder to water in order to prepare the hydrogel for application to the tiles.”

Once filled, the tiles are assembled into a wall and water is poured into the system through inlets at the top. It trickles through the tile channels and is collected at the bottom.

As it flows over the channels, the water is subject to a process called bioremediation, in which microorganisms such as algae or fungi are used to consume and break down pollutants in the environment.

Algae tiles Indus by Bio-ID Lab at the London Design Festival 2019

This is a symbiotic relationship, explained Malik: “The algae produce a set of compounds called phytochelatins, which enable them to capture these metals, without which they would be unable to grow.”

The compounds remove the pollutants from the water and deposit them within the cell of the algae, where they are stored.

“At some point, the hydrogel will become saturated and will need to be replaced,” she told Dezeen. “The exact timing depends on the amount of pollutants in the water, but we have made several formulations that are stable for months.”

Once they are saturated, the algae can be replaced with a fresh batch. The base tiles, however, can be continually reused and re-filled.

Algae tiles Indus by Bio-ID Lab at the London Design Festival 2019

Each modular tile unit is attached to the next through half-lap joints, and so can be individually removed without taking apart the entire system. This is crucial, as it allows for easy maintenance and adaptation to the constraints of the local built environment.

The particular size of the tile wall can be customised to suit the available space and the distance the water must travel to be fully purified.

“Through our site visits, we realised that the artisan workers had no space available for westernised high-tech water treatment solutions,” said Malik.

“Neither did they have the economic capacity to get additional support. So we needed a system that was spatially compatible and could be constructed and maintained by them.”

Hence the idea of moulding the tiles via templates which, once the project is rolled out, would be custom-made by the Bio-ID Lab with a different system of channels to correspond to different contaminants.

Algae tiles Indus by Bio-ID Lab at the London Design Festival 2019

Future milestones for the project include performance tests in the UK and then, Malik hopes, a pilot project on-site in India, where an estimated 80 per cent of surface and ground water is polluted.

While in the current iteration of Indus, pollutants are merely captured, she has ambitions to expand the system to include a second stage, in which the hydrogel is processed to remove the heavy metal nanoparticles from the algae cells.

In an “incentive-based closed loop system”, these valuable raw materials could then be sold on to high tech companies, which use them within their own manufacturing processes.

Algae tiles Indus by Bio-ID Lab at the London Design Festival 2019

Indus is one of several works on show in and around the V&A for London Design Festival 2019 which runs until the 22 September.

More than 400 installations and exhibitions will be on show across the city as part of the event, including Kengo Kuma’s bamboo nest and an exhibition of sustainable, animal-centric wildlife shelters.

Other recent projects that use algae as a sustainable biomaterial include a fully compostable T-shirt by start-up Vollebak and a single-use plastic alternative by Chilean designer Margarita Talep.

Photography is by Andy Stagg.

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Architects should give up concrete say experts at Architecture of Emergency climate summit

Architects urged to cancel concrete

Experts and activists at the Architecture of Emergency climate summit in London have called upon architects to fight climate change by ditching concrete.

“If you came here with the hope of one clear action for what you can do in the office tomorrow – stop it with the concrete,” said Maria Smith, founder of architecture studio Interrobang, who gave a keynote speech.

“We don’t have to wait to solve every single problem in order to start something today.”

Over 10 speakers took to the stage at the Barbican to give short presentations and join a panel discussion asking how the architecture industry can respond to climate change.

Architecture Foundation deputy director and Dezeen columnist Phineas Harper said the summit was the “largest gathering of architects to discuss climate change in the UK”.

Concrete a major carbon emissions culprit

The four billion tonnes of cement produced each year for concrete construction accounts for eight per cent of the total global carbon dioxide emissions.

“If we invented concrete today, nobody would think it was a good idea,” said Michael Ramage, an architectural engineer and University of Cambridge academic.

“We’ve got this liquid and you need special trucks, and it takes two weeks to get hard. And it doesn’t even work if you don’t put steel in it,” he added, suggesting timber is a much more environmentally sound alternative.

“We have an incredible industry that produces concrete and rebar. We don’t have that infrastructure for trees anymore.”

“We don’t have 50 years”

As concrete buildings can last a long time they can have low levels of embodied energy over their lifetimes.

However, these buildings that release a large amount of carbon during the building process meaning that they shouldn’t be considered sustainable argued Andrew Waugh, co-founder of Waugh Thistleton.

“We have BREEAM and LEED that look to control or reduce the amount of carbon at construction puts into the atmosphere, but this is measured over a period of 50 years,” said Waugh.

“If you build a building now it’s in 50 years time when the carbon is measured from that building,” he continued. “We don’t have 50 years.”

Targets could be met with timber

In order to meet the EU’s target of cutting emissions by 40 per cent for 2030, even sustainably-rated concrete buildings are hindering progress.

The only material that has a lower embodied energy level is timber, which locks in the carbon it transforms into oxygen as the plant grows.

Encouraging architects to switch to timber-framed buildings has rattled the cement and concrete industry, which has taken out adverts warning about the supposed dangers of timber buildings.

“We must be doing something right because, much like the tobacco industry in the 1980s and 1990s, Big Concrete is beginning to fight back,” added Waugh.

Waugh Thistleton Architects has been pioneering housing developments built using cross-laminated timber frames, and experimenting with methods of high-rise timber construction.

“We must fundamentally shift our model”

Even with the housing crisis being faced by the UK, concrete should not be used as a short-term solution agreed Louise Wyman of Homes England.

“We’ve got to move away from cement,” she said.

Along with calls to end building with concrete, the summit speakers called for a radical overhaul of the systems that cause environmental damage while enriching the richest one per cent.

“Incrementalism is dead,” said Greenpeace activist Danielle Paffard. “There’s no time for fannying around the edges.”

“We must fundamentally shift our model for all relationships, from one of domination towards a model based on sharing on co-operation,” concluded Smith. “Substitution is not enough – we must think and act differently.”

Watch the Architecture of Emergency summit here

Main image by Igor Ovsyannykov from Pixabay.

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