Revamp living room decor on any budget | Money Sense Magazine http://buff.ly/2iZHQA3

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These wood floors could generate energy from your steps | via Business Insider http://buff.ly/2hLxVtk

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The Hardwood Smile

Made of cross-laminated tulipwood, “The Smile,” an installation at last fall’s London Design Festival, was a collaboration between the American Hardwood Export Council, Alison Brooks Architects, and Arup. Photograph courtesy Alison Brooks Architects

Made of cross-laminated tulipwood, “The Smile,” an installation at last fall’s London Design Festival, was a collaboration between the American Hardwood Export Council, Alison Brooks Architects, and Arup. Photograph courtesy Alison Brooks Architects

Our sister organization, the American Hardwood Export Council, does extraordinary promotional work around the globe. Last fall, they collaborated with the British architect Alison Brooks and Arup, the multinational engineering firm, to produce “The Smile,” a timber installation that was part of the London Design Festival. The structure, which comprised a 112-foot-long rectangular tube large enough for visitors to walk through, was made of construction-size panels of cross-laminated American tulipwood (more commonly known as yellow poplar in the United States). Designed to show off the structural and spatial potential of the material—a new product that had not been used on such a large scale before—“The Smile” curved up at both ends like the Cheshire Cat’s proverbial grin.

 

 

 

Visitors entered the curved structure at the point where it touched the ground; both ends provided open balconies with views of the neighboring Chelsea College of Arts. Photograph courtesy Alison Brooks Architects

Visitors entered the curved structure at the point where it touched the ground; both ends provided open balconies with views of the neighboring Chelsea College of Arts. Photograph courtesy Alison Brooks Architects

Entering the structure through an opening where the curved form met the ground, visitors were able to stroll from one end to the other, both of which were open balconies offering views of the adjacent Chelsea College of Arts and the city beyond. All surfaces in the tunnel-like interior were lined with the same tulipwood panels as the exterior, creating a distinctive sensory experience of color, texture, scent, and sound. Brooks designed rows of small perforations along the walls, which allowed sunlight to throw changing patterns on the floor throughout the day. And at night, the interior was illuminated by linear light strips that emphasized the dynamic curve of the space.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lined with the same tulipwood panels as the exterior, the interior of “The Smile” was illuminated at night with strip lighting that emphasizes its curving form. Photograph courtesy Alison Brooks Architects

Lined with the same tulipwood panels as the exterior, the interior of “The Smile” was illuminated at night with strip lighting that emphasizes its curving form. Photograph courtesy Alison Brooks Architects

But “The Smile” was not just a stimulating aesthetic experience. For AHEC, the installation was an important stage in a decade of research and development into structural timber innovation with Arup. “It is the most challenging structure ever constructed in cross-laminated timber,” said Andrew Lawrence, Arup’s Associate Director. “It really showed the potential for hardwoods in construction.” David Venables, European Director of AHEC, concurred: “Alison Brook’s ‘Smile’ was the first-ever use of industrial-sized panels of hardwood CLT. They were produced by Züblin Timber in Germany, one of the pioneers of the manufacturing process, who believe in the potential of tulipwood CLT to bring a revolutionary new element to wood construction.”

 

The new language surrounding ‘Carbon’

For renowned architect William McDonough, the element carbon is not the enemy, but rather “the currency of photosynthesis, a source of Earth’s capacity for regeneration.” Global warming is a design failure, not an environmental one, says McDonough. And he encourages the Build Community to “design with the natural cycle in mind to ensure that carbon ends up in the right places.”

In a recently published opinion piece entitled, “Carbon is not the Enemy,” McDonough said,

  • “After 30 years of designing sustainable buildings and landscapes that manage carbon, I believe it is time to breathe new life into the carbon conversation. Rather than declare war on carbon emissions, we can work with carbon in all its forms.
  • To enable a new relationship with carbon, I propose a new language — living, durable and fugitive — to define ways in which carbon can be used safely, productively and profitably. Aspirational and clear, it signals positive intentions, enjoining us to do more good, rather than simply be less bad.”

William McDonough + Partners has studios in Charlottesville, Virginia and San Francisco, California. To learn more about their design approach, visit www.mcdonoughpartners.com.

Wood goes wide with long span roof over office complex | via Treehugger http://buff.ly/2i30s1i

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Wood barrels are making a comeback with craft brewers http://buff.ly/2h3aRdL

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Growing An Ethical And Sustainable Guitar Forest | via EarthFix http://buff.ly/2gR4gz0

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Live-Edge Wood: Furnishings With a Slice of Nature | The Wall Street Journal http://buff.ly/2fZWSoQ

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Hardwood on Instagram

I’ve been a major fan of Instagram, the photo-sharing social-media network, since it launched in 2010. Design aficionados like me were attracted to platform’s clean-and-simple aesthetics—an elegant grid of square images, each with a hidden caption that’s revealed with a click—and the site soon became a favorite of architects, decorators, fashionistas, and other visually driven folk. While Instagram has developed a strong celebrity quotient—even the Pope has joined, amassing more than 3.4 million followers—it has retained its appeal for the hands-on design community, and that includes a lot of people who work closely with hardwood. Any number of accounts are dedicated to visually recording some aspect of the cultivation, milling, utilization, or sheer beauty of hardwood. Here are three of those timber-loving Instagrammers that I particularly like.

Actor and part-time woodworker Nick Offerman at his eponymous wood shop in East Los Angeles.

Actor and part-time woodworker Nick Offerman at his eponymous wood shop in East Los Angeles.

 

 

Before Nick Offerman landed his breakout role as Ron Swanson, the curmudgeonly department boss on Parks and Recreation, the Illinois-born actor supplemented his income between gigs by building canoes and other wood products. When television called, Offerman didn’t close his one-man East Los Angeles wood shop but brought in a small group of woodworkers to continue producing everything from mustache combs and meat paddles to Oregon elm tables and walnut and oak knock-down beds. The focus is on hand-crafted, traditional joinery and sustainable slab rescue, working with fallen trees from throughout northern California and the urban LA area. Along with its hardwood products, the Offerman Wood Shop chronicles its day-to-day life in engaging Instagram posts whose amusingly ornery tone is not so far from that of the famously cranky Ron Swanson himself. www.instagram.com/offermanwoodshop

 

 

Hardwood Design Co. supplied the striking bleached white-oak floors in this Austin, Texas, living room by Mark Ashby Design and Jessica Stewart Lendvay Architects.

Hardwood Design Co. supplied the striking bleached white-oak floors in this Austin, Texas, living room by Mark Ashby Design and Jessica Stewart Lendvay Architects.

 

 

Texas-based hardwood flooring specialists Hardwood Design Co. pride themselves on the complete vertical integration of the manufacturing and finishing of their materials (i.e., they log, mill, dry, process, and finish their own wood). Their claim that “managing each aspect of the process from planning and design to finishing means we have complete control over each piece, ensuring truly exceptional floors, every time,” seems to be borne out by the acres of handsome flooring on their eye-catching and informative Instagram site. I was particularly taken with the milky white-oak plank floors they installed in an Austin house renovated by Mark Ashby Design and Jessica Stewart Lendvay Architects. “The clients wanted them to look like the old Dutch floors from their native Europe,” Hardwood Design writes. “They’re bleached, hand scraped, and hand oiled. Truly one of a kind!” Mission accomplished! www.instagram.com/hardwooddesignco

 

 

 

Myke of Ravenswood Tree and Landscape climbs high up a beech to do structural pruning.

Myke of Ravenswood Tree and Landscape climbs high up a beech to do structural pruning.

 

Based in Ipswich, Massachusetts, Chris Wood is a young arborist who founded his own tree service company, Ravenswood Tree and Landscape, in 2013. In his spare time, he mills trees into lumber, and he is also a keen collector of antique and vintage woodworking tools and paraphernalia. Wood’s Instagram site is a winning record of his work with, and infectious passion for, trees and the culture around their management. New England is rich in big hardwood trees, many of them of historic importance, and there is a constant need to maintain them. “Tree work is a science as well as an art,” Wood writes. While is critical to make sound arboricultural decisions when trimming, pruning, removing deadwood, and performing other necessary services, it is also essential that the arborist is sensitive to the aesthetics of the tree, to see that its natural beauty is preserved along with its well-being. Wood’s Instagram posts show this approach in action. www.instagram.com/ravenswoodtree

Forest Wood Chips Power Their First Commercial Flight | via Forbes http://buff.ly/2fEpO0x

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