"Suited Case" by Erik de Nijs via Treehugger.com
We try on Style Sheet to regularly touch on green design, but our makeover obsession sometimes gets the better of us. While much of what we feature — in this new world order — has elements of Green, such an important and exponentially growing aspect of contemporary living deserves at the very least a monthly feature. Starting today, look for monthly picks bringing you sustainable design and decor, hopefully helping to keep you in the course of what’s new in Green.
I begin with my green pick: Treehugger.com
This gigantic, online magazine, blog, vlog and vast green resource is one of the most visited websites in the world. Not just green blogs, of ALL the blogs out there — some 75,000,000 — Treehugger.com is ranked #20 by Technorati. The site was founded by multifarious designer/entrepreneur Graham Hill, aiming to make it the primary go-to for what’s new in sustainable living — and he did it. Along with receiving prestigious industry awards it’s been dubbed the "CNN of Green" and has been noted by Oprah and Martha Stewart.
The secret to its success is its scope. While headquarters are in NYC, its tentacles, in the form of over 50 contributing writers, span the globe; from North to South America, Europe to Asia, Middle East to Australia. Green roofs in Manchester, intrusive parks in Bilbao, Spain, a sofa made of suitcases you can actually use from Holland (above) — it all streams into the Treehugger.com reservoir of green. At this past ED: Explore Design Show in Toronto, I caught up with one of those 50 writers, Lloyd Alter. Lloyd is one of Treehugger’s senior Canadian correspondants who also happens to teach sustainable design at Ryerson University and has recently been made the President of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario.
Here’s some of what Lloyd had to say during our chat:
Elana Safronsky: How green is Canada?
Lloyd Alter: Not bad, not bad, getting better. You’re going to see a lot more emphasis on living in the city as people realize we can live in less and with less. All it takes is good design.
ES: How green are new suburban developments?
LA: Not really at all, unfortunately, because they’re based on an older model. The resources that let us live the way we have been are coming to an end — cheap gas and oil mainly. Everything is changing now, quite rapidly; those low density, big houses — on average 2,800 sq ft — in communities where people have to drive everywhere, are becoming very problematic.
ES: Is there any way to make them greener?
LA: Stop driving those big cars, do what you can to conserve energy.
ES: What are you into these days, with respect to the home?
LA: Before all this I was designing and creating pre-fab homes. Living in smaller, better designed spaces is still my main preoccupation, so I’m into anything that has dual function or a multi purpose. Furniture with storage, stereos that are compact, modular benches — stuff like that.
ES: What’s the last thing you bought for your home?
LA: Really, I don’t remember. I don’t really care for new things, I want to make existing things better…maybe a coffee machine? Yeah, I think it was a coffee machine…