EYE ON DESIGN: New Perspectives and Products

Be the Change

I’ve heard Ghandi’s famous phrase often recently with regard to green building. But last Friday at the Dwell On Design Conference and Expo in Los Angeles it seemed relevant in more general terms. Take the panel on evolving modes of architectural practice moderated by the multi-talented Frances Anderton, Dwell’s LA editor and the producer of the design and architecture program “DNA” for KCRW Radio (I was the mystery guest). The architects talked about how they weren’t just designers but also builders, branders, fabricators, and even developers. It struck me once again that the best architects are trained imaginations, adept at seeing problems as opportunities, especially as they spoke about looking for new materials, new uses for old materials, and new ways to make good design available to more people. That’s where I came in, because like Dwell and Sunset, Houseplans.com is also about changing the architectural paradigm so that better home design becomes accessible to a wider audience. The idea of changing perception was visible throughout the expo. For example, here’s a raised bed that rolls. It’s called the Food Map Container, from Food Map Design, founded by a landscape architect.

Food map cntr cropped%204

The tub is made of 100% recycled post-consumer plastic. Its comes in short and tall sizes and is perfect for small patios or decks where you want to grow something quickly and move it around easily. It brings new meaning to the phrase “garden variety.”

More for Outside and In

Some other products caught my eye, like these long narrow modular concrete pavers.

Stepstone pic108

They’re from Stepstone Inc. and create a deck-like pattern on the ground.

Or, getting back to Ghandi — I mean green — here’s a company that makes bamboo cabinets.

bamboo cabinets

They’re from Bamboo Hardwoods in Seattle. They’re durable, sustainable (bamboo is a grass and grows very fast), and the cabinetry radiates a honey-warmth.

Kirei Board is getting more attention. Here it’s used for a vanity.

kirei board vanity r2l

Manufactured in Japan from reclaimed sorghum straw in a nontoxic adhesive, Kirei Board is a strong, lightweight substitute for wood. My friend and former colleague at Sunset, Peter Whiteley, has even used Kirei in his woodworking projects.

These products complement many of our plans, like Plan 48-254.


When you start looking, new possibilities abound. See the change!


One response to “EYE ON DESIGN: New Perspectives and Products

  1. Although I arrived a little late to comment, great post! I will be aware of new updates. a peck.

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