Saturday, August 24, 2013

Two tiny twins

Here are two excellent examples of small living spaces. In both designs, I think that 'treading lightly, with a low impact on the earth' is apparent as a central theme.

1) Meka is a converted shipping container. Modern and sophisticated in design, it covers just 30 square metres. The interior features bamboo, the bathroom in slate, the outside is clad in attractive cedar and 70% of its materials are recycled.

Living in a modest apartment just over this size in Norway, means that my fiancé and I certainly understand small spaces - but this clever and chic design would be a welcome treat. Currently sitting on a New York corner, you can order the cosy abode to your own specifications, with the option to integrate solar power for those wanting to go off-grid.

2) AbĂ©, is an off-grid 'build it yourself' 14 square metre portable unit. Designed using 3D software, the houses are completely customizable, come flat packed and can apparently be assembled in just 2 days! 

While this option doesn't include the necessary functions for long-term living, it's certainly a fun short-term option for a festival, camping or little garden retreat. I think the materials and size contribute to it's romantic and earthy feel. A very clever idea - I think we can expect to see more from this design group.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

In your home and on the street...

David Mellor, a specialist in cutlery design spread his talent to the street - here's an interesting article and interview with his son on

I particularly like his street bollards resembling salt and pepper mills, and his cheese accessories (which I think relate somewhat to Starck tableware) look to make many a dish more fun.

DM believed that well-designed equipment can improve your life - I totally agree with that notion. You can find out more and view further products here.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

back to the books

I recently came across this article on; offering a course in passive solar design. It could have something to do with the summer holiday nearing an end, my interest in sustainable design, or merely the rainy and cold weather in Bergen right now - but I clicked through enthusiastically, interested in the opportunity. That enthusiasm waned once I realised the fees involved and I moved on.

Then, just today, I read about different (and more low-tech) sustainable building workshops being run across the US... and I thought, since I can't get involved over there - there must be some good online options to keep abreast of avant garde techniques and methods that can also contribute to my studies in Scandinavia. I didn't have to search very hard before coming across this site, listing various institutes that offer downloadable course material (called OpenCourseWare or OCW).

While my semesters are pretty jam-packed and we do have our own recommended reading, it's always interesting to see what other leading institutes (such as MIT) have to say and to have access to material from subjects that might not be offered at your own school.

I've done an advanced search to find courses that link to my own specific interests. You can do the same here.