Information Gathering + Reef Robots for the Ocean Decade
The United Nations has declared that 2021-2030 will be known as the Ocean Decade (aka the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development). This comes with the approval of several initiatives aimed at conservation. But as Smithsonian Magazine notes, “Reaching the goals for a healthy ocean by 2030 will mean reaching beyond national boundaries to create a clearer path to sustainability.” Two Smithsonian programs endorsed by the UN—Marine Life 2030 and Coral Reef Sentinels—offer solutions. The former is about information gathering, storage and sharing; the latter will develop a watch and warning system for coral reef health around the world through the deployment of autonomous robots in the ocean. Read more about both groundbreaking international initiatives at Smithsonian Magazine.
Illustration by Paulette Guardia
Space Available + Peggy Gou’s Recycled Trash Chairs
Composed of 20 kilograms of recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic trash recovered from Indonesian waterways and streets, a series of chairs from design studio Space Available and DJ Peggy Gou each feature an under-seat storage space for vinyl records. Space Available was founded during lockdown by Potato Head hotel group creative director Daniel Mitchell, who hopes to draw attention to the ever-escalating plastic pollution crisis. Balinese artisans assemble the chairs by hand, after the plastic is melted and swirled into mesmerizing patterns and then hardened into sheets. Read more at Dezeen.
Image courtesy of Space Available
Tiny Community Forests Emerge in Cities
Across Europe, as well as in India and other countries, communities—and organizations like IVN Nature Education in The Netherlands—have been developing basketball-court-sized native forests. On a small scale, these are “hyperlocal responses to large-scale environmental challenges,” according to National Geographic. But these areas also provide a patch of peace and serenity that bring nature closer to children in cities. They offer shade and even attract other plants, insects and regional animals; they often also repurpose spaces used for things like parking lots. By the end of 2021, IVN Nature Education intends to have roughly 200 ultra-small forests in The Netherlands, which can be created in under a year. Read more about their broader impact, and how their density sets them apart from parks, at National Geographic.
Image courtesy of IVN Nature Education
Historic Paris Department Store La Samaritaine Reopens
After 16 years closed to the public due to necessary renovation and restoration, landmark Paris department store La Samaritaine reopens. Its historic Art Nouveau and Art Deco attributes are now interwoven with dazzling contemporary enhancements, including an undulating glass intervention by SANAA and interiors from Yabu Pushelberg. La Samaritaine, which is owned by LVMH, rises in the heart of Paris (its iconic Art Nouveau façade adorns what is now called the Pont-Neuf Building because of its location). Read more about the way history was highlighted, and see many more images, at designboom.
Image courtesy of LVMH
Muji’s “Essentials Kit” For Airbnb Hosts
Designed to support two house guests, MUJI’s 23-item host essentials kit for Airbnb covers everything from kitchenware to cleaning products and even includes an elegant aroma diffuser. Retailing for $400, the complete amenities collection aims to make welcoming guests even easier—and lets hosts provide dedicated design-forward items for people on their stays. Our favorite inclusion happens to be the recycled paper notebooks and smooth gel colored pens—perhaps to be used together as a guest feedback book, or simply a place to share sentiments. Read more about the development of the Airbnb host essentials by MUJI at Hypebae.
Image courtesy of Muji