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Green Design Series Overview

By NYIAD Staff on February 22, 2012

In our Green Design series we look at sustainable, low-impact elements of design.

  • Bringing Green Inside

    In the dead of winter, there is one thing we all crave: a simple touch of nature. Against a white backdrop, the smallest sprig of leafy green can immeasurably lift the spirits and transport us to a different place and time. It’s no wonder, then, that the practices of crafting terrariums are alive and well in their modern renaissance – and with environmentally-friendly updates as well.

  • Converting a Loft Space

    The look of industrial chic makes sense to our post-race, post-paper, post-industrial world, but more than that, the very premise of industrial chic lends itself to a world centered on Green design, because it's all about taking something that already exists and finding a new, practical use for it, rather than further decimating the world's resources to create something from scratch.

  • International Green Design

    When we started doing the research for this article on international trends in Green design, we kept coming across one website:, one of our favorite design websites. Inhabitat doesn't bill itself as a strictly Green design site, but rather as a "weblog devoted to the future of design, tracking the innovations in technology, practices and materials that are pushing architecture and home design toward a smarter and more sustainable future."

  • Twig and Branch

    Being a thinking person concerned about the world, looking at all that wood no doubt has you wondering where it comes from, and whether or not a forest has been decimated to create it. Fear not, O green reader, for we have found some green companies that sell furniture that lets you buy rustic with confidence.

  • Green Literary Chic

    What do you do with some of your old books or records? With mounting environmental concerns, you probably don’t want to add to the growing landfill. You can donate them to your local library or you can do something fun and functional: transform them into wearable chic! Enter Rebound Designs.

  • Radical Composting

    The Green movement has brought recycling, re-using, and reducing waste into the 21st century with all kinds of great Green design products. The newest addition to the “Greening” of America is composting: once a smelly, messy prospect best left to organic gardeners, composting can now be done even in the most elegant, urban homes. To find out more, we interviewed Holly Rae Taylor, founder and owner of Home Ecology, a store providing Green products for the home. Her answers make it clear why Taylor is known as a “radical composter.” Her argument for pushing Green design into the future is so compelling, we’re running the interview here.

  • Farm-Fresh Design: Finding Home Design Ideas at the Farmers’ Market

    You could buy your groceries in a big, fluorescently-lit, super-air-conditioned grocery store, not knowing where the produce was grown, or how far it had to be trucked and flown in, or when it was plucked from the ground. Or you could buy in an open-air market directly from the farmer who grew the produce, surrounded perhaps by musicians, the smell of fresh tamales cooking, or your neighbors bustling about.

  • IceStone and Vetrazzo

    This month, we look at surface materials that a variety of differently colored bits of broken glass to give it its shine and color. The effect is a very pretty, smooth material that has a depth to the colors and in which the different shades blend and mix. And it uses glass products that otherwise would be sitting in the landfill for the next generations.

  • Green Weddings

    If you think that in order for a wedding to have a low carbon footprint the bride has to be wearing a potato-sack dress and the honeymoon has to be spent at a campsite, think again. What couples are finding is that they can have a green wedding without sacrificing style or elegance. Going green doesn't mean the bride will wear Birkenstocks and the cake will be an inedible mound of sugarless wheat flour.

  • Green Design in Mexico

    Mexico, as you've read in this special Mexican Design issue, is known for a lot of great stuff, especially regarding design. But recycling has not been one of that country's strengths, as a drive through the country, or a deep breath taken on a hot day in Mexico City, will illustrate.

  • 25 Years of Green Design

    From the viewpoint of 2010, it's hard to imagine a time when designers didn't consider the impact a room or home's design would have on the environment. When the Sheffield School of Interior Design was getting started, the concept of green design was still in its infancy. But as much as we are beginning to take green design for granted in the early part of the 21st Century, it is a pretty new concept and still getting its legs.

  • The Five Rs

    Most people are familiar with that old adage of "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle"—it has been emblazoned on everything from plastic shopping bags to municipal trash cans throughout the country. As a critical awareness of our detrimental impact on the environment has spread nationally and world-wide, and as the most powerful global leaders are convening to discuss the initiatives and regulations that will shape our planet's future, it seems that reducing, re-using, and recycling are no longer enough.

  • Green Holidays

    Not long ago, preparing for the holiday season meant lugging home bagfuls of gift-wrap: reams of thoroughly dispensable, one-time-use-only paper in patterns with dancing Santas and marching fir-trees and bells and stripes and polka-dots, all of it accompanied by yards of red ribbon, gold ribbon, silver ribbon curled into bows or straightened into ties.

  • Green Style

    In the past five years, there’s been a surge of interest in Green Design, so that building an environmentally friendly house or decorating a home in ways that do minimal damage to the planet is increasingly becoming standard fare. We’ve learned about low-VOC paints, about sustainably-harvested woods, about using local products that don’t need to be shipped.

  • Greening the Skyline

    Imagine this possible scenario in the future — green rooftops stretching across city skylines and green walls climbing up to meet blue skies, resembling a verdant mountainside. No, it's not science fiction but one day it could be reality.

  • Keeping Your Home Cool

    Who doesn't like to look out a big picture window at a gorgeous view, especially when it's a view of sand and sea and sun? It's lovely to be sitting inside, in the cool of a living room, while outside roasts under the summer sun.

  • Living Green

    Green is the new black…and we don't mean the color. Everywhere you look from Hollywood stars to designers to everyday moms — all are promoting eco-friendly practices and materials. Grocery shoppers are shunning the plastic bags and bringing their own canvas bags to hold the groceries. Some cities and countries (read: San Francisco, Ireland, China) have even banned them in large chain stores...

  • Flexible Love Seat

    What do you do if you're short on space, long on friends, crazy about innovative design and dedicated to decorating your home with products that don't harm the environment?

  • Green Design Roundup

    As we enter the new year, it's time once again for resolutions. And for many people, doing something about saving the planet is more important than losing those five pounds or watching less television this year.

  • Smart Windows

    This could be the perfect storm for getting us all to be more conscious of our energy consumption, whether our awareness is raised by worrying about the polar bears or worrying about our pocketbooks.

  • Shopping Bags

    Even as you read this, designers are hard at work developing reusable shopping bags that are sturdy, easy to clean (in case of spillage), and look great.

  • Flokati Rugs

    The flokati rug, ubiquitous in the suburban living rooms of the 1970s that also held Wegner chairs and op art, is making a comeback, in part thanks to the fact that flokati rugs can be a greener way to warm a floor than many other types of rugs.

  • Couched in Green

    You may think that green design is all about wall paint, or that "organic" is only a concern about the food we eat. But green design is a concept with far-reaching implications. One good place to start is by considering the living room, and how you can make it more green — without dipping into pistachio wall paint.

  • Green Weddings

    There's a lot to consider when planning your wedding: the guest list, the catering, the flowers, whether you've chosen the right person to meet you at the altar — no, not that last one. But today's couples are faced with yet another choice: how to minimize the damage to the planet that can be caused by a big gathering.

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