* Let’s wrap up this whole week of Back to School posts with every student’s favorite–a field trip to see what’s going on out there in inspired design. (And, don’t worry, those of you for whom back to school feels far, far away still–we’ll link back when it’s your turn). The latest I’ve been reading shows that innovative and creativity will be the tickets to success in the future, so I’d like to celebrate that spirit today–and perhaps awaken yours. The first idea that makes me shout “Brilliant!” from the mountain top (or at least from the bottom of the hill, where I live) is called Solar Ivy. These are solar panels designed to look like leaves of ivy. They mimic the ability of leaves to convert the sun’s rays to energy, plus make solar installations more aesthetically appealing in urban environments (and in those covenant-heavy neighborhoods with homeowner’s associations). I think this still needs some work looks-wise, but I am truly awed by this kind of thinking (which is called biomimicry, for those good students who are taking notes). Solar ivy will be climbing the walls at the University of Utah soon (read more about solar panel ivy here). Smart!
* The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) recently announced its 2011 Student Chapter Award Winners, and the winner in the community service category deserves a shout-out here at ASID.org. The ASID chapter at West Valley College provided interior design services to the Go Kids infant care facility that transformed it from the picture on the left to the one on the right. See what’s possible with some learning?
* Some of the best design work I’ve seen to date results from the challenge of creating emergency shelters. Shipping containers have been put into service in a big way (and have, actually jumped the shark and now are a viable option for stylish, permanent housing as well). I am finding inspiration in this Pallet House, made from used wooden shipping pallets, especially since I just passed a pile of pallets left by the curb as waste yesterday. It was originally designed for refugees in Kosovo, and has since been used as a recycled building material for pre-fabricated low-income housing. Is a writer’s studio made from repurposed pallets I find around town a possibility? Or maybe a chicken coop? Thought-provoking! And isn’t that what school should be? (Find green architects and remodelers who can source all kinds of interesting recycled materials for your home design needs.)
* Want to do your good deed of the day? Donate to ShelterBox, an international emergency relief organization providing lifesaving kits (including a ten-person tent) to those in need. These boxes remind me how much can be done with a small space (and also remind me to update my family’s emergency kit).
Inspired design makes a difference in big and small ways every day. Find top-rated architects, remodelers and interior designers on Kudzu, and put the power of design to work on your “home” work project.