Two small grocery stores are going way beyond the question of “paper or plastic?”
Austin, Texas-based in.gredients promotes sustainability on whole different level than just encouraging customers to recycle. This micro-grocer, which opened in August 2012, offers pure, GMO-free , locally harvested food in a package-free environment. Simply bring your own container and choose as much – or as little – products that you want. Weigh your food, pay by the ounce and take it home.
Likewise, London’s Unpackaged is bringing this unique style of shopping to the U.K. “We believe that a lot of packaging is unnecessary so we’ve removed it; just bring your own containers and reuse them each time you shop.”
Both retailers believe the choice to purchase unpackaged goods will lead their customers to make more sustainable choices in other parts of their lives. Maybe this is a growing retail movement we can all get behind.
While we may not be getting rid of packaging for our materials, Shaw Industries is reducing the impact it has on the environment. The recently redesigned carpet tile packaging is 30% lighter and far less difficult for customers to dispose and recycle. The reduced packaging weight means reduced cardboard usage, over 550 thousand pounds or 3,550 trees each year. The result is a packaged product that is safer, lighter and less laborious.
Nike debuted the future of the company’s retail stores with the Spring 2012 opening of the new Nike+ Fuelstation in East London’s Boxpark, one of the city’s top sporting areas. The store features futuristic architecture and sustainable design, including floors made from recycled shoes known as Nike regrind.
This concept store pairs digital interactivity with state-of-the art customer shopping experience. The store has floor-to-ceiling LED walls that change colors when customers walk by. As an alternative to mannequins, motion-sensitive mirrors show film footage of local runners wearing products from the store. Touch screens located throughout the Nike+ Fuelstation provide product information and news from local running clubs.
A highlight of the space is a software program allowing visitors to create life-size digital images of themselves on screens that can be uploaded and shared through social media. And if you’re going to Nike+ Fuelstation soon, don’t miss the in-store nikeID terminal where customers can custom design their own shoes and active ware.
The 2012 Olympic Games in London start today (7:30 p.m. on NBC). This year’s Olympic planners made it a priority to make less of an impact and create a more sustainable games. Check out a few of the most notable sustainable buildings at this year’s Olympics:
The Olympic basketball arena, brought to life by designers Sinclair Knight Merz, Wilkinson Eyre Architects and KSS, was designed to be deconstructed and recycled after the games are over. The arena (one of the largest temporary spaces ever built for an Olympic Games) measures 30m‐high rectangular volume – the equivalent of a seven‐story building – is made out of a steel portal frame and wrapped in 20,000 square meters of lightweight phthalate‐free and recyclable PVC. The flatpack design will allow for dismantling and future reuse elsewhere in the world – rumors have it that the arena could even be sold to the organizers of the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. Its lighter design also meant less steel and concrete were used in this 12,000 seat facility. London’s basketball area is a step in showing that the Games can be more responsible and sustainable.
Standing out with its wave-shaped roof, the Olympics’ second-largest building (after the main Olympic Stadium) is the first structure visitors see as they approach the Olympic Park. Built on a brownfield site, the Aquatics Centre’s stunning ceiling, which soars over the two 50-meter pools, were built out of sustainably sourced Red Lauro timber. The exterior was constructed with precast modular blocks of concrete, which not only reduced the amount of emissions required to build the facility, but also eliminated the need for painting. The interior stands are made from steel and phthalate-free PVC wrap that will be recycled after the games. And most of the building materials, including the 866,000 tiles needed to line the pool and locker rooms, were delivered by train instead of truck.
The Velodrome’s curved exterior, covered in wood paneling, reflects the sleek race track inside. The 6,000 seat structure benefits from natural ventilation instead of a reliance on air conditioning thanks to the exterior’s timber cladding. The use of artificial light is minimized because of the velodrome’s rooftop skylights. Its 17km of recycled steel cables are equivalent to twice the height of Mount Everest. A rainwater harvesting system reduces the amount of water needed for toilet flushing and grounds irrigation. The London Velodrome, which anchors the northern end of the city’s Olympic Park, will remain after the games conclude in August.
Just like gymnastics and swimming, art and architecture used to be Olympic events. Between 1912 and 1948, artists as well as athletes could receive a medal for literature, music, painting, sculpture, and architecture — otherwise known as the “pentathlon of the muses.” Art and architecture as Olympic events has since been disbanded, but architects still vie for an award each year.
The new stadium built for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London has made the shortlist for Britain’s top architecture honor – the Stirling Prize, from the Royal Institute of British Architects. Every year the prize is presented to the architects of the building that have made a great contribution to the evolution of architecture over the past year. The prize is for projects “built or designed in Britain.” Buildings are eligible if they are in the UK or Europe, and designed by an architect whose head office is in the UK.
The institute said on its website that the stadium design, by the firm Populous, “focuses very much on the ease of movement of the large numbers of people who will use the stadium during the Games.” This year’s stadium (flanked by London’s new eye-catching Olympic structure) is the lightest Olympic Stadium ever built with the roof fabricated from a PVC fabric, helping with the weight issue while keeping costs low. The structure supporting the roof is 2,500 tons of steel tubing sourced from recycled old lines – keeping with the sustainable goal that many other buildings in Olympic Park have reached.
The announcement of the winner is scheduled to take place Oct. 13.
Shaw Contract Group celebrates design excellence with its annual Design is…Award. 2012 winners will be announced August 10 and submissions for 2013 begin in September.
The 2012 Olympic Games commence in London on July 27 and the city has been prepping for the past few years to make a statement. Enter the ArcelorMittal Orbit. Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, wanted a structure and artwork to commemorate the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games, and a design competition was launched. During a chance meeting with Lakshmi Mittal, Chairman and CEO of ArcelorMittal, Johnson secured ArcelorMittal’s support. The winning artist and design of the ArcelorMittal Orbit (by Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond) were unveiled in March 2010. The ArcelorMittal Orbit reached its full height in late 2011 and became the tallest sculpture in England, with 455 steps to the top and a size that scales 377 feet, 70 feet over the Statue of Liberty (ground to torch). The Orbit stands in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, between Olympic Stadium and the Aquatics Centre, allowing for views of the entire park from its two observation decks.
The Aquatics Centre (left), ArcelorMittal Orbit (centre), Olympic Stadium (background, right) and Water Polo Arena (foreground, right) in the London Olympic Park viewed from the Westfield Stratford City John Lewis viewing gallery in May 2012.
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