These houses can survive natural disasters

 

Japan Dome House, a modular home manufacturer, has been making and selling its styrofoam dome houses for over fifteen years, but since the April 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes, there has been a surge of interest in the company’s products.

Some readers may do a double take, as the material used for these homes is indeed styrofoam.

Polystyrene (more commonly known as styrofoam) is widely used for everything from cups and food containers to packaging material. Polystyrene is a petroleum-based product made from the styrene monomer, which is classified as a possible human carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

 

Some countries and municipalities around the world (including Taiwan and Portland, Oregon and Orange County, California in the U.S.) have also banned the use of polystyrene foam.

Nevertheless, the future of earthquake-resistant home building in Japan may very well come in the shape of domed houses built from this material.

Aso Farm Land
On April 16, 2016, a magnitude 7.0 main shock struck the city of Kumamoto in Kyushu Prefecture (following a foreshock two days earlier). The two earthquakes killed at least 49 people and injured some 3,000 others.

Many structures in Kumamoto and Oita Prefectures collapsed and caught fire, and more than 44,000 people were evacuated from their homes due to the disaster. Thousands of evacuees are still living in temporary housing.

However, among the structures that were not damaged was a small village of 480 houses at the Aso Farm Land resort, a health-themed national park built on a somma volcano, in Kyushu. Visitors to Aso Farm Land can enjoy numerous open-air hot springs and stay overnight in differently-themed accommodations.

The “Village Zone” of Aso Farm Land consists of 480 closely-packed dome-shaped houses made of a next-generation form of polystyrene foam. When the Kumamoto earthquake struck, none of these dome houses were damaged. This has has lead to a surge of interest in the technology behind their construction.

Fourth-Generation Building Material
Japan Dome House, based in Kaga City, Ishikawa Prefecture, claims that it has developed a fourth generation building material (following wood, iron, and concrete); and that its dome house has a number of characteristics that makes it superior to conventional materials and house shapes.

Using proprietary technology, it has developed an expanded polystyrene (EPS) product that is much stronger and more compact than the foam that is used for shipping material and food containers.

 

The company believes that its dome houses have a number of benefits. These include:

Ultra-Short Building Time

A dome house can be assembled in about a week by three or people, using modular dome pieces that weigh only about 80-kg (176 pounds).

Ultra-Low Cost
The company says that the total construction cost of a basic dome house is between ¥7 million and ¥8 million ($68,700 and $78,500) for a house with a floor space of about 36-sqm (387-sqft) and a ceiling height of 3 meters (9.8 feet).

Highly Earthquake Resistant
Because of its dome shape, the lack of a need for posts and beams in construction, and its extremely light weight the dome house is highly earthquake resistant.

Ultra-Thermal Insulating

Expanded polystyrene also has very high thermal insulating properties. This combined with the dome shape (which allows air to circulate by convection and prevents it from accumulating in corners) makes the dome house highly energy-saving.

Highly Durable
Polystyrene also does not rust or rot and is not subject to termite infestation. After assembly, the walls of the Dome House are also coated with fire retardant making the houses fireproof.

The dome shape of the house also makes it resistant to high winds.

Antioxidant Building Construction
The company also claims that its houses are healthy to live in because an anti-oxidant solution is kneaded into the polystyrene foam building material. Formaldehyde is also not used in the construction process which means that Japan Dome Houses do not suffer from “sick-house” syndrome.

Certification
The Dome House and the company’s specially developed polystyrene foam have also been certified by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Tourism and Industry as being compliant with national building codes.

Customizable Dome Houses
Japan Dome House has developed a number of modular parts for its dome houses, which makes them highly customizable.

The company says its dome houses are used around Japan not only as residences but also as small hotels, steam rooms, temples and churches, child care centers and educational facilities and even karaoke bars. Because they can be quickly assembled there is also growing interest in using them as temporary housing for evacuees from natural disasters.

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Perfection: Greek Hotel Made For Families with Little Travelers

Based on my personal experience traveling with kids is 10x harder Than traveling with adults. The kids nends special places that satisfy their desires and needs ! On the other hand though, I experienced  more that traveling with kids has become much easier (such a contradiction I know) but it all depends on the destination. It does take a bit more effort on the parent’s part but hotels have become much more accommodating and even have suites dedicated to traveling en-famille. You don’t have to forgo your love of travel just because you’ve added a couple additional travelers to your family. The Ekies All Senses Resort, a member of the Design Hotels collective, understands this sentiment and has created a Greek oasis for families on vacation with little travelers.

Located on the paradisiacal coastline of Halkidiki, Greece, the Ekies All Senses Resort owned by Alexandra Efstathiadou features 10 eco-luxury suites that encourage children to run free and explore, all the while encouraging adults to do the same. The newer Pine and Evergreen suites designed by Athens-based architectural firm Agarch+ seem to blend into the lush, rustic landscape of fauna and flora. The materials and decor incorporated into the suites, like the hand-laid herringbone stone flooring, are a nod to traditional Greek artisanship alongside modern furnishings, like pieces by Philippe Starck and Achille Castiglioni.

The suites come equipped with cozy loungers, hammocks and private soaking pools. And Alexandra’s mother’s family co-own Coco Mat, a company that produces natural sleep products, bed linens, towels, and furniture, all of which are used throughout the hotel.

Blue accent walls and tiles reflect the waters of the Aegean shores just mere steps away from the property. Illustrations and typography showcasing Greek poet Aesop’s fables adorn the walls of certain suites. There are 69 rooms and suites in total, each with their own pool, sea or garden view and each are unique in terms of color and decorations.

 

Alexandra shares her vision for the property:

” I wanted to display Greek culture but in a modern way. I wanted to create a new way for people to look at the country. It is a place filled with love. In other words, it’s the perfect place to spend with your family and little ones.”

What: The Ekies All Senses Resort
Where: Sithonia, Halkidiki, Vourvourou, 63078
How much:  Rates for the Pine suites start from $264 USD, rates for the Evergreen Suite start from $522 USD.
Highlights: This Greek hotel has all the modern amenities you need to stay more than comfortable while on vacation (we’re going to assume that it won’t be that hard on a beautiful property like this) but is a true escape into paradise with the lush landscaping, scenic views (Mount Itamos is just a drive away) and Greek-influenced interiors.
Design draw: Agarch+ chose materials and decor that give a nod to Greek craftsmanship while also maintaining a contemporary aesthetic with modern furniture and fixtures.

Book it: Visit the Ekies All Senses Resort

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Via Design Milk.

Take Quick beautiful Product Photos Using Your Smartphone

When setting up your ecommerce store, it’s important to remember that good photographs are crucial for sales. However, fancy-looking photography doesn’t have to break the bank! Nowadays we have smartphones with cameras that can capture photos up to 12 megapixels. (For non-camera nerds: that’s a lot!) This new technology in our pocket is perfect for capturing product images. Read on to learn about the simplest setup for product photography, and how to edit photos with Apple’s tools.
Materials you’ll need:

1. Smart Phone
2. Foam Core 24×36
3. White Poster Board 24×36 or larger
4. Table
5. Window
6. Tape (Optional)

 

How to set up your tabletop photography studio

 

Capturing Your Product

Tip:

When you’re looking at your product through your smartphone you can tap around to have the camera focus and adjust the brightness of the image.

 

Basic Editing Techniques

Now that we have a few photos to work with let’s edit our favorite selection.

 

Step 1
Open your “Photos” App.

Step 2
Select the photo you want to edit and select the “edit” icon.

Step 3

Select the Photo Filters.

 

 

Step 4
For this particular photo, the “Chrome” filter was best option to show more detail of the wood grain.

Step 5
After applying this filter the photo looks a little dark. To adjust the brightness, you can go into the slider controls and select the “Light” arrow.

Step 6
Once you’re in the “Light” editing area you can increase the Brilliance, Brightness and Contrast of the photo. I was pretty happy with the results!

 

                                          Original                                                                                             Edited

 

The results are pretty great, considering the fact that we used a simple tabletop and the basic photo editing tools on the iPhone!

Via: VelusionBlog

 

A Venice, California Home Wrapped in Computer Cut Flowers

Located in Venice, California, 4016 Tivoli is a residence that boasts lots of personality with a 3,000 square foot facade of metallic, computer-cut flowers. Reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s oversized flower pattern, the house is the brainchild of Electroland architect Cameron McNall who looked to his California childhood for inspiration. The colorful house was designed for his family as kind of a living experience that reflected his love of art, architecture, and design. The house is clad in Aluminum Composite Material (ACM) that was designed in CAD and cut using CNC technology.

The facade not only brings an art component to its curb appeal, it creates cool light patterns from either side you view it.

The house features four bedrooms (plus a flex room) and four and a half bathrooms, each with a bold tile color. In addition, the home was built to LA’s “Green Building” stands (Calgreen 2013) and includes two high-efficiency heating/cooling units, double-pane thermal low-E windows and doors, LED lights, low VOC paints and adhesives, low-flow toilets, rain barrels, permeable pavers, eco-compliant insulation, and EV vehicle 100-amp Tesla quick-charging capability.

Via Design Milk.

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A Psychedelic and Cartoons Painted Building in Germany


If you go in Braunschweig, Germany, you will probably discover Happy Rizzi, the playful structure created by late pop art american artist James Rizzi in collaboration with architect Konrad Kloster. The different facades are drawn with colorful and psychedelic cartoons very characteristic of the artist’s style. Such a structure strongly contrasts with the authentic surroundings and offers a very joyful and surreal dimension to the town.

 

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Flexible, Space-Saving Furniture for City Living

Recent Royal College of Art graduate Andrea Pallarès explores the idea of flexible furniture for urban living in her graduation project. With the cost of living always on the rise, people continue to downsize, which often means having to rely on rooms and furniture that pull double duties. With that in mind, Pallarès designed Nook, an all-in-one piece of furniture that adapts to your needs throughout the day.

Nook is a bespoke bed frame that comes with a pillow and duvet covers that double as a backrest and armrest and three upholstered cushions that become space dividers. Overall, the design easily transforms from being a social spot to welcome guests during the day to a cozy, private corner to sleep at night. With smaller homes, not everyone has the option to own both a bed and a sofa making Nook a great option for optimal comfort and functionality.

Adding to its functionality, Nook also has built-in flat surface on one side that works as either a side table or desk. A system of magnets keep the three cushions propped up vertically for privacy.

 

The pillow and duvet covers roll up to become an armrest and a backrest. Nook was made using FEBRIK textiles, which contributed to the project by half sponsoring the textile part.

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Via (Design Milk).