Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Eco - Luxury Style ... the "Modern Installation South Face"

I just came across this interesting article that I wanted to share from a website called "Modern Homes Design" about a modern exterior installation that is juxtaposed against a very classical, Italian colonnade at the University of Milan. It was designed by Italian architect Iosa Ghini, as part of the Interni Design Energies exhibition. The structure, with sheltered seating supposedly absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and insulates the environment it encloses from humidity.

As I scrolled down the article, the first three photos that I saw gave me a mixed reaction. I love the structure... but it just didn't seem to fit it's environment... even as much as I like to mix contemporary with the classical. It just wasn't quite doing it for me...

But then... I saw the fourth photo and I thought... WOW... that is really nice!

The hollow panels in eco-cement creates a vertical pattern that is stunning against the vertical columns in the background. The addition of the plantings in the wall softens the modern structure and brings it together with the surrounding landscaping.

If you would like to read the full article go to:

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Eco - Luxury Style ... the Beauty of Natural Earth Plaster

You just can't get any more natural than earth!

It also happens to be one of the products that I most love in an interior to build upon ...

It isn't just the visual aesthetics of the product that makes it luxurious, but the physical qualities that is felt by your own senses. I have used this product and I would include it in almost all my interior projects if the budgets of my clients allowed. When you enter a space with the natural clay wall finish you immediately feel the coolness of the plaster. And since it is reported to give off negative ions, it also creates a feeling of wellness. I was originally struck by the subtle beauty of the product from photographs, but it wasn't until I actually first used it on a client's project that I experienced the material to it's fullest impact.

The color palette has a wide range of pigments to select from, and of course mixing can be done to achieve custom hues. There are also various textures that you can select from.

There are various sources for natural earth plasters, but the one that I have used and therefore can recommend is American Clay out of Albuquerque

Even though many of the pictures in their photo gallery reflect the Southwest style of architecture, there are several that indicate how the plaster looks in contemporary settings, old world style interiors and even a Nantucket style interior. (All photos are from the American Clay gallery)

(taken from American Clay's website)

Negative Ions

Many things in nature hold a negative charge, and humans living close to nature are accustomed to being surrounded by a negative charge in the air, or Negative Ions. Inside today's modern homes and offices there are computers, electrical appliances, electric cords, LEDs and synthetic plastic products (which includes most modern wall coverings like latex paint), all of which produce and maintain a positive charge in the air. Normal ion count in fresh country air is 2,000 to 4,000 negative ions per cubic centimeter. At Yosemite Falls, you'll experience over 100,000 negative ions per cubic centimeter. On the other hand, the level is far below 600 per cubic centimeter in an average home, and in a windowless office with computers it can be zero.

Natural clay maintains an incredibly dense molecular structure and shape, giving it the capacity to produce a self-generated negative charge upon hydration. Even the simple evaporation of water from clay has the capacity to produce negatively charged particles in the air. This means that when your walls breathe, or hydrate slightly with changes in humidity and slowly dry out, your interior space is being steeped in negative ions.

Negative ions are proven to produce positive biochemical reactions in humans. A negative charge in a space acts on our capacity to absorb and utilize oxygen, causing us to have more energy and feel invigorated. Negative ions also have been proven to increase levels of the mood chemical serotonin, helping to alleviate depression, relieve stress, and boost our feelings of well being.

Surrounding your interior environment with unsealed clay plasters, or clay paints, that produce Negative Ions will not only help neutralize the electromagnetic effect created by computers, appliances and synthetic plastics, but also will help eliminate static charge on walls. Your walls stay clean and will not attract dust! Also, by having clay plaster on a wall, you are helping to filter air of pollen and dander. The negative charge emitted by clay causes particulates in the air to clump together and literally fall to the floor where they can be vacuumed up.

The capacity of clay plaster to "breathe" and release negative ions is unique and not found in any other wall covering on the market today. Concrete, Gypsum, Marble, Lime, and decorative acrylic plasters do not release negative ions, breathe with changes in humidity, or resist dust. American Clay is unique in its ability to literally alter a space for the benefit of those inhabiting it!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Eco - Luxury Style... for dreamy ideas

A perfect night's sleep begins with...

fresh, sumptuous and soothing layers of finely woven fabrics to envelope you, as you drift into alpha...

Started in 1833, in Turbenthal Switzerland near Zurich, the mill Boller Winkler has become one of the most recognized and highly respected mills in Europe. It produces millions of yards of fabric per year for many different markets, including apparel and bed linens. The bed linens are marketed under the name Bonjour of Switzerland around the world, and now in the United States. It was the first mill to take advantage of the equipment and machinery coming out of England during the Industrial Revolution, using the spinning machines to replace hand labor.

Bourbon of Switzerland is a mill with not only state-of-the-art technology and superb craftsmanship, but also a mill with a design philosophy and environmental awareness matched by few mills in the world.

Their linens are luxurious, with an amazing palette of fresh colors in urban, classic and contemporary styles.

A collection of luxurious fabrics combining oxford cloth and sateen stripes

duvet covers, fitted, flat, cases, shams, bedskirts, fabric by the yard

Millennium Towel Collection

A natural product made of 100% beech wood cellulose.

Softer than terry toweling with a natural luster that doesn’t wash out.

50% more absorbent than cotton and dries more quickly.


duvet covers, fitted, flat, cases, shams, bedskirts, fabrics by the yard

Collection is reversible Light or Dark background available

Sensitive Towels

The world's first and only towel line to be certified "Cradle to Cradle". Each towel is made from biodegradable ingredients, right down to the label, yarn and thread. True sustainability, not just organic! "Cradle to Cradle" certification assures that the materials utilized in fabricating the towel will biodegrade naturally. Also, the manufacturing processes are environmentally friendly.

Coshmere ®

• 100% Supima extra long staple cotton.

• 20% combed yarn.
• 100% natural and ecologically correct manufacturing.
Oeko-Tex certified.

• Patented Hi-Tech spinning method provides yarn as soft
as cashmere.
• Optimum absorbency. Dimensional stability. Color fast.

Ritz muscade bag

They have a beautiful selection of robes and dressing gowns that coordinate with the collections. Speaking of collections... check out the Spring and Fall 2009 Collection photos. Not only could I easily work with the various color selections and prints for my clients' bedroom projects, but I just may have to get a set for myself...


The pureness of white with fine details

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Eco - Luxury Style ... that Surpasses the Test of Time..

With quite an interesting beginning, Cisco Brothers has set the bar for business principles and integrity.

The entrepreneurial drive has also defined a path for others to follow... especially when it comes to eco-luxury, style, and sustainability...

"In 2006, Cisco developed the Inside Green™ method of construction and became the first designer to create 100% FSC Pure sustainable upholstered furniture. The company moved exclusively to FSC Pure certified woods on upholstered furniture, using reclaimed hardwoods for a collection of stunning case goods and the use of water based glues and environmentally friendly detergents to wash all fabrics. "

Their collabortation with designer John Derian has broadened their collections:

“Over the last 14 years of having my shop I have seen a real need for comfortable, good-looking upholstered furniture,” states John Derian. “I have had many great antique and vintage pieces come and go and I thought it was time to pull together some of my favorite pieces from the 18th and 19th century and share them with a wider audience. I am so excited to work with Cisco Brothers because they share my appreciation for creating stylish, comfortable, handmade furniture that truly complements my design aesthetic. Furthermore, Cisco Brothers takes the design process one step further by being the industry leader when it comes to eco-conscious and sustainable practices with an end result that is always remarkable."

Pieces from their collection are available through select stores and Professional Interior Designers

Monday, July 6, 2009

Eco - Luxury Style ... the Furless Variety

So... Show Me the Green!!!

OK, the truth is... I have lusted after the Jaguar XKE Convertible (in cream with off-white leather interior to be exact) since I was old enough to drive. When I saw this 2010 Jaguar XK convertible it brought back stomach churning memories.

So where is the "green" you ask... well it does have "new rear lights fitted with LED technology". Besides, what could be more ecological than to live vicariously through a photograph ... Cost - zero..., Carbon Footprint - zero..., memories - priceless.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

ECO-LUXURY … for the love of green and …

Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury. ~ Coco Chanel

Eco-Luxury is not an oxymoron. In fact, the expansion of this niche market puts a whole different perspective on green design. True to the spirit of the creative mind, the free market, and capitalism, the green market offers something for everyone… regardless of the level of taste or bank account.

I have a pragmatic view of green design and its future… and that is to keep government out of its way. Market driven demands and entrepreneurial creativity are the foundation to the development of new solutions and products, and a healthy economy. Without a healthy economy, consumers do not have the buying power that is needed to sustain the development and supply for the market. You can’t have it both ways.

Three reasons why Eco-Luxury Fur products are eco-friendly:

  1. It is minimally processed, renewable, durable, reusable, biodegradable, pesticide free, insecticide free, fertilizer free, is not petroleum based, uses no land and uses minimal water.
  2. The products are 100% sourced and manufactured in New Zealand where first world living wages are paid.
  3. Use of the Paihamu ameliorates an ecological nightmare caused by an invasive species. It truly is the best way to reduce, reuse and recycle.