Company Profile – Viola Park

Seattle, WA may be a Mecca for coffee lovers, but there’s so much more to the city than that.  It’s also a hotbed for sustainable business ethics and the development of a low-impact lifestyle, both of which mesh nicely with this week’s featured company, Viola Park.

But to tell their story it’s necessary to back up a bit. Read the rest of this entry »

Company Profile – Kirei USA

“Demolish another building, it just gives us more to work with!”

John Stein is into demolitions, but not in the way one might think.  The founder and president of California-based Kirei USA has a knack for finding the possibilities inherent in the unwanted.

This vision shows clearly in every Kirei product, including the newest line, Windfall.  These engineered panels are produced in partnership with Windfall Lumber, which takes Douglas & Hemlock Fir from deconstructed buildings in the Pacific Northwest and brings the reclaimed wood to fresh, new life.

“It’s great to reuse demolition material that would otherwise take up space in the landfill,” says Mr. Stein.  “Having it become beautiful wood panels is even better.  This is old-growth wood that just can’t be found any more, and we get to bring it to designers.”

Windfall is manufactured in the United States using low-VOC adhesives.  The reclaimed wood is milled into strips of differing width, which are then randomly stacked to form the panels and cut to size.  Panels are available either solid or 3-ply with a NUAF/FSC-certified core.  They may come unfinished, with a clear coat that shows off the natural grain, or stained and prefinished in Anthracite, Mocha, Ivory, and Leather colors.  The result adds to any interior.

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This little jewel is already creating buzz, but, in case you haven’t seen the Plantini yet, be prepared to be charmed.

Okay, so I’m a sucker for the Victorianesque.  But isn’t it exquisite?  Thanks to the collaboration of Glasgow architectural model makers Finch & Fouracre and the folks at Another Studio for Design in London, U.K., one needn’t have a grand estate in order to own a beautiful Victorian hothouse… in miniature, that is. Read the rest of this entry »

Artisan Profile – M Design

The little wooden robot sits there, head cocked, arms outstretched, vacant drilled eyes staring into space.  Its expression is puzzled and innocent.  It looks like it wants a hug.  It’s cute.

Sometimes, in the earnest seriousness of striving to live green, we forget our sense of humor.  Marjolaine Poulin of M Design hasn’t forgotten… and she loves nothing better than to make other people smile, hence the little army of wooden robots marching out of her workshop in El Salvador.

Marjolaine (“Mao”) has taken scrap wood & discarded furniture and raised them both into art.

A native of Quebec, Canada, Mao splits her time between Montreal and El Salvador, always looking for inspiration.  Her introduction to woodworking came in 2004 in Guatemala, where she learned classical bamboo carpentry from a Taiwanese master.  Shortly afterward she began crafting her own designs hoping to promote bamboo’s many advantages as a building material in Central America.

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Trending – Wood Countertops

Granite countertops are SO last decade. So what’s taking their place? Good old-fashioned wood.



It’s always seemed strange to me that in the society where we remodel our kitchens every 10 to 20 years, we like to put in stone countertops that will last for centuries. Doesn’t it make more sense to use a material that, while long-lasting, is also biodegradable at the end of its use? Besides, wood countertops are not only better for the environment, but they have a warmth and beauty that can’t be beat.

There are plenty of sustainable options, including FSC certified wood, bamboo, and reclaimed wood. Take a look at some pretty examples and then take our poll:

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Etsy Find of the Week – Bamboo Screen

I’m big into juxtapositions. Mixing smooth with rough, tall with short, or old with new – it’s the contrast between elements that brings out the best visually in each object.

Here we see a beautiful example of mixing an old decorative style with the relatively new material. Etsy seller, MHDdesigns has taken the flowing, intricate designs of the Art Nouveau period, and married them to the more spare, modern design element of bamboo ply to create this lovely screen. Read the rest of this entry »

Rockin’ It Right – Kalon’s Hut-Hut

Kids have an amazing ability to find the true joy in simplicity.  For instance, have you ever known a kid who got one of those flashy, noisy, button laden toys for a gift, only to toss it aside after a few minutes play and then spend hours turning the box it came in into a vehicle for a favorite doll or stuffed animal?  So why spend the money on all those expensive, battery laden toys when you could get something great like this?

The Hut-Hut Kids is the old fashioned rocking horse taken modern, sustainable, and sleek.  Designed and produced by Kalon Studios, and available in five FSC certified woods such as black walnut (shown above), bamboo, and even cork, this seat’s simple styling gives a kid’s imagination room to grow.  So whether they want to say “hut hut” (giddy-up to camels) to a trusty steed with one hump or two (or maybe a horse, pony, elephant or tiger), they can create their own adventure as they wish.

So what about those of us who have already grown-up? Read the rest of this entry »

Sustainable Art for the People – Paperwork by Ugallery

I don’t know about you, but I just want to bury my face in these roses…

This beautiful image is one of two brand new, limited edition artworks available starting today from Paperwork.  Titled “San Francisco, CA 2010″, it is by photographer Alex Greenburg, and is printed on archival quality bamboo fiber art paper.  Yep, bamboo!

Of course, the best part is… Read the rest of this entry »

A Treasure – Trove Wood Veneer

Gorgeous.  Simply gorgeous….

Also haunting, ethereal, sublime, and a bit luscious – all at the same time.

This beautiful line of wood veneer wallpaper from Trove, including the Alcyone design shown above, is available in a wide variety of cloth backed, FSC certified veneers, such as maple, oak, cherry, walnut, birch, and bamboo..  Any motif from their library of wallpaper designs can be chosen, and printed in sizes up to 42″ wide x 120″ high.

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“That Girl” – Marlo Chair

As soon as I heard the name of this chair was “Marlo”, my brain did one of those connections things where it went from chair, to Marlo Thomas, to “That Girl”, to being eight years old, lying on the floor of the living room and watching re-runs, dreaming of one day growing up to have a husky voice, perky attitude, killer eyelashes and a cute and devoted boyfriend.   What does that have to do with this chair…?

Nothing really, except the name – and perhaps the perky attitude.

Created by SAGE in Design from bamboo that was bent without steaming, the Marlo chair features an eco-friendly recycled tire inner tube seat.  I find the form of this chair fascinating, especially that dramatic split down the middle.  Seriously, what holds the chair together? Read the rest of this entry »