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Category Archives: eco awards
Australia is just bursting with design talent, some of which was showcased last week at the Australian Interior Design Awards 2012. Across the 15 different award categories, there was one in particular that I have been keeping a keen eye out : The winner of the Sustainability Advancement Award.
Elenberg Fraser Architects are the talent behind the interior design of famed Melbourne restaurant Vue de Monde, and their fit out showcases just what can be achieved in the arena of sustainable design. Incorporating true Australian flavour, the fit out includes local designer Ross Didier’s kangaroo skin and hide chairs and tables (previously blogged here). But sustainable design does not stop there. Incorporating sustainable design principles into the restaurant’s core operations, Elenberg Fraser Architects included strategies to deal with energy and water use, in addition to food waste disposal.
The jury cited “the project redefines sustainable interior design” and acknowledged the architects set a “new standard for Australian design identity”.
Congratulations Elenberg Fraser Architects – You’ve showcased to a worldwide audience that there is nothing dull about sustainable design!
Photography: Australian Interior Design Awards 2012
The Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show 2012 attracts thousands of visitors each year. The array of talent is jaw dropping, inspiring and makes you absolutely LOVE the outdoors in all its wonder and glory. A standout category each year is the Sustainability Award. Not only did local Melbourne firm Phillip Johnson Landscapes take out the Gold award (as they did last year!), but their innovative and eye catching design ALSO won Silver in the Outdoor Exhibit Category. Not a bad achievement for a display that was originally intended for educational purposes only – not an award entrant!
The EQUILIBRIUM contrasts two gardens of equal size ~ One being an everyday standard Australian backyard, and the other, a sustainable and self sufficient oasis. Collaborating with the Victorian Government and State Water, the display goes far beyond an incredibly eye catching and tranquil garden display made from natural and recycled materials. It also provides a working example of how good garden design can contribute to improving our ecology.
In place of concrete slabs, water guzzling plants, and drains leading to storm water pipes is natural stone, native plants, and a billabong reservoir that harvests stormwater runoff and cleanses it prior to flowing into public waterways. The display also encourages community interaction and action ~ it shows how interlinking backyards can create water and habitat corridors that rely on rainfall collection, in addition to urban farming where neighbours backyards each grow different homegrown produce. The very thought of being able to knock on a neighbour’s door for fresh herbs, fruit and vegetables is enticing….moving the traditional fresh farmer gate purchase, to your picket fenced neighbour!
To experience this beautiful sustainable garden display in person, you will need to hot foot it down to the Carlton Gardens in Melbourne THIS WEEKEND. Who knows ~ with a bit of neighbourly collaboration, this time next year your street could well be on its way to harvesting your own water, and sharing fresh homegrown fruit and veg! A beautiful vision.
MIFGS EVENT DETAILS:
March 28 – April 1, 2012
Royal Exhibition Buildings and Carlton Gardens: 9am – 5pm
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When most of us think of Far North Queensland (FNQ) in Australia, we think rainforest, reef, beaches, gorges, humid days and balmy nights. It is all that …and a LOT more. I was lucky enough to live in Cairns in the early 1990’s and discovered many treasures off the beaten track, and am delighted to find there’s another reason to go back. Late last year, EcoTourism Australia awarded Paronella Park the coveted Gecko Award, that recognizes outstanding excellence in sustainable tourism.
Situated just over an hour’s drive South of Cairns, Paronella Park is like discovering a hidden oasis in the desert..except that it’s more hidden castle in delightful lush rainforest.
The story behind Paronella is as captivating as the concrete moss covered buildings themselves. Put VERY briefly, a Spaniard named Jose Paronella purchased the 13 acres of scrub in Mene Creek in 1929 whilst on his honeymoon. Just six years later, it was opened to the public featuring grand open air staircases, reception centre buildings complete with dance hall (with giant mirrored ball of course), a theatre and refreshment rooms. Over subsequent years 7,000 trees were planted, a hydro electric generating plant installed, natural swimming pool tennis courts and children’s playground. All however has not been beer and skittles. Over the past 70 years, various natural disasters have struck – flood, fire, and three cyclones have proved challenging, but somehow Paronella with its’ old and now present owners Mark and Judy Evans, has faced those disasters, picked up the pieces and soldiered on.
Mark and Judy Evans have made Paronella Park their home for the past 9 years, and have embraced the legacy of founder, Jose Paronella in continuing to provide a special place for the public to visit. Since 2009 they have injected an impressive $450,000 into bringing the hydro-electric pump back to life which again provides all electricity to the park. Here, they share with us a little insight into their life at Paronella Park:
1. Tell us about how you first came across Paronella Park in the early 1990’s. We came across Paronella Park almost by chance. As a family, we had been travelling around Australia in a caravan for 18 months. We arrived in Cairns in late 1993 and were told about a “Castle for sale down the road”. It seemed interesting enough to at least drive down and take a look! What we found was very run down and overgrown, but we could see enormous potential. We purchased the Park just before Christmas that year and were greeted by a flood just a few weeks later – this was our introduction to life at Paronella Park, in the tropics.
2. What sustainable features have been implemented into Paronella Park since 1993? Initially, it was more about uncovering and repairing some of the sustainable features that the Park’s founder, José Paronella,had put in place back in the 1930s. José was a pioneer in Ecotourism – he planted over 7000 trees and plants, he used recycled materials in his building, he harnessed the waterfall to create hydroelectricity, and he used gravity to feed the fountains. Amazingly, things like José’s gravity fed fountain was almost still operational. We unblocked some piping and the fountains sprang back to life! Initially, the most significant project was clearing away many of the weeds that had taken hold throughout the gardens. This was a gradual task and remains an important part of our maintenance program.
3. What can visitors expect to experience whilst staying at Paronella Park? Visitors to Paronella Park can expect to experience a remarkable place, and to hear an amazing story. The wonderful thing about Paronella Park is that the majority of our visitors arrive not really sure what to expect, but always leave amazed and delighted at having discovered something special. We always encourage our guests to make the most of what Paronella Park has to offer. The day tour, the night tour, a 2 year return pass, and a night in our caravan and camping grounds are all included in the admission fee. If possible, it’s great to be able to take advantage of everything – it’s better value, and a better experience.
4. What do you see as your best achievement over the past 8 years at Paronella? To have suffered through a devastating Cyclone (Cyclone Larry) in March 2006 and to not only recover and reopen, but also to improve and enhance the Paronella Park experience as a result. The cyclone was a major setback but it also acted as a catalyst for a number of changes in how we operate our business. In the years that followed, we picked up several Queensland Tourism Awards, were voted the “Number 1 Must Do” in RACQ’s 150 must do’s campaign, restored the original 1930s era hydro electric system, re-built major infrastructure at the Park (including 6 new cabins and new amenities) and won the Ecotourism Australia GECKO Award for Ecotourism. We also had some of our busiest years ever.
5. What do you see as key issues for ecotourism in Australia? Lack of interpretation. So many ecotourism businesses have some great innovations in place, but don’t do enough to share their story with their guests. Interpretation and education is such an important element of ecotourism and is very often overlooked.
6. Can you give us a sneak peek into what’s planned for the rest of 2012? As always, we have plenty going on. Most importantly, there will be a continuation of major structural work following Cyclone Yasi (February 2011). This work is crucial as it ensures José’s work remains safe and structurally sound. We also have an exciting new project on the horizon. At this stage we can announce that it will include accommodation, food service, and a whole new visitor experience. More news on this soon!
7. Can you share with our readers a local MUST DO tip whilst visiting Cairns? A visit to Cairns isn’t complete without a trip down through the Atherton Tablelands, and to Paronella Park of course! Many visitors to Cairns, particularly returning visitors, are looking to do something different from the usual (the reef, the beach and the rainforest). There’s plenty of unique and interesting things to see and do for visitors willing to get out and explore a little.
Who loves going to the movies? A new and thought provoking film named Waste Land is being released THIS week, documenting the story and amazing artwork created by the “catadores” in Brazil, who work on the worlds largest rubbish dump – Jardim Gramacho located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.
The film follows the journey of renowned artist Vik Muniz who travels to his native Brazil to photograph an eclectic band of “catadores” – self-designated pickers of recyclable materials. Whilst it was Muniz’s initial objective to “paint” the catadores with garbage, the collaboration evolved into them creating artistic images of themselves out of garbage. This incredible artwork created from all manner of waste materials have since sold for hundreds of thousands dollars, and the money returned to the community to help them transform their lives.
Thanks to Hopscotch Films, 5 Double passes are available to see a screening of Waste Land at Sydney Hoyts Entertainment Quarter commencing December 1, 2011. To enter, simply leave a comment below! The winners will be drawn at random on Wednesday 31 November 2011 after 7pm, and sent to you ASAP!
**Also showing at Cinema Lygon, Melbourne from Dec 1, 2011.
If you were asked to design a piece of furniture using Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 hit Dancing in the Dark as inspiration, what springs to mind straight away? I personally can’t get a young Courtenay Cox dancing in the crowd and being pulled up on stage by the Boss out of my head. Thankfully our local artists and designers dug a lot deeper when presented with this challenge, and came up with an eclectic, inspiring and innovative furniture range that can currently be viewed at Melbourne’s premier independent arts event – the 27th Melbourne Fringe Festival.
Creative Producer of Melbourne Fringe Festival, Neal Harvey explains “Dancing in the Dark” is a song “about frustration. About wanting something, but not knowing what that something is…. Bruce suggests you dance in the dark. It’s a small solution to a big problem – Each piece is a tiny dance step that leads us towards a smarter, greener, healthier, more sustainable and beautiful future”.
Sally Mill made her mark at Fringe Furniture scooping two awards for her artistic lighting made from bedsprings – Best Lighting AND Best Design Addressing the 2011 Fringe Furniture Theme Award.
RMIT Furniture design students Dale Hardiman and Andre Hnatojko collaborated to design the AIR light made from inflated PVC and wire – winning the Award for Sustainable and Waste-Wise Design.
RMIT student Elizabeth Bowtell, may be one to keep an eye on, taking out the Emerging Designer Award for her angled “Tri” bench made from sustainable bamboo and stainless steel.
Many more cutting edge designs are on display at the Fringe Furniture exhibit, which continues to run to 8 October 2011.
Dancing in the Dark: Small Solutions to Big Problems
Abbotsford Convent, 1 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford
22 September – 8 October, Thursday – Sunday 11:00am – 5:00pm
Be still my heart! Have you had a look at the entrants in this year’s Australian Timber Design Awards? Now in their 12th year, this annual competition encourages builders, designers, architects and engineers to showcase their outstanding uses of timber in both residential and commercial applications. To say the gallery is impressive is an understatement – it is jaw dropping viewing.
There is something about timber in architectural applications that makes me go weak at the knees. It evokes a sense of warmth, calm, relaxation and tactile beauty all in one. Mix in some natural stonework and I’m in heaven.
The range of entries in this year’s Timber Awards covers a wide range of applications. Equestrian Centres, concert halls, and outhouses (above) are just some of the entrants, amongst some spectacular residential houses, libraries, bars, spa retreats, retail shops and more!
You can vote for your favourite design in the People’s Choice Award – With just under 100 different designs submitted, you are SURE to find one that resonates with your sense of style. Now before you click on over, get yourself a cuppa and sit in a comfortable chair, as you’re going to be there for a while …….
Photographs Courtesy of Australian Timber Design Awards 2011.
It’s always fun buying the latest and brightest technical appliance and bringing it home. You pull it out the box, toss the reams of packaging over your shoulder, then turn it on! The dull part, is gathering up all the cardboard, plastic bags, ties and polystyrene foam packaging and filling your bin with it. Whilst most of us discard this rubbish, innovative Australian industrial designers Andrew Bezzina and Justine Smith take the packing foam, and re-create it into something far removed from its original form and function.
At first glance, and most likely your second too, the Foamboys homeware collection looks like a solid modern silverware set. Instead, this collection was created from reclaimed foam and metal castings to produce a very smart double walled aluminium tea set.
The delicate process of making these vessels incorporates finely turning each piece, packing it in sand and then casting in aluminium. Not for the faint hearted, this arduous and very technical process must be taken with care, as the slightest presence of moisture during the aluminium pour results in the mould and foam exploding!
It is evident Andrew Bezzina from Chunk! Design has a way with foam. Prior to collaborating with Justine Smith for the recent “tea set”, he has experimented with foam in various forms, including his award winning Tooth Stools which were appropriately sealed with an enamel finish (see below)! Earlier this year, the stools won the Edge Green Award at the Australian International Furniture Fair for the most sustainable new product, where judges commended the design for “taking waste hazard material and transforming it into a quirky, fun product with commercial appeal”.
Inspired? Next time you buy that new appliance and go to discard the packing foam, take a second look at it. Your inner designer (no matter how hidden you think it may be) may just be able to breathe/craft a whole new second life into it!
Here’s your brief: Create a beautiful and practical piece of furniture using off-cuts of short hoop-pine. This was the challenge put forward by frame makers Chapman and Bailey as part of this year’s “Sow’s Ear Challenge”. The objective of the competition was to provide an sustainable design solution for the mountain of timber off-cuts produced by Chapman and Bailey when making their stretcher frames for paintings.
This year, Hayley-Anne Brown won the top prize for her “Hooped Light” creation, which when lit up, illuminates the room in decorative hooped shadows. Drawing on the spikey fruit produced by the Hoop Pine tree for inspiration, Hayley-Anne’s creation is both elaborate and simple. Over one thousand small timber off-cuts with small drill holes have been painstaking threaded onto individual hoops, to form impressive balloon shaped light shades, with a warm splash of red throughout its centre.