Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Best Green Offices

Tables Built Around Trees
An Atrium With a Purpose
Cutting Energy Use in Half

Gummo, an advertising agency, wanted to rent a floor of the old Parool newspaper building in Amsterdam for just two years. But it didn't want to sacrifice interesting design. So the company enlisted the help of i29, which aimed to reuse and recycle as much as possible, buying used furnishings from charity shops and on the Dutch eBay, and appropriating furnishings left by a former tenant.

In an effort to conform to the house style of white and grey, all the furnishings and decor were spray painted with polyurea Hotspray (an environmentally friendly paint). Yes, even a mounted deer head and a Jesus statue were not spared. "The new office is a perfect case study of a smart way to fill a temporary space stylishly and at minimal cost," the designers wrote. "The collection of old and repaired products in it’s new coating has given a new potential and soul to the old furniture."

Foundation Nicolas Hulot for Nature and Humankind, a French NGO that works on education and environmental issues, was growing—and wanted to assert its ecological values in the design of its new office. The foundation also requested spaces for collaborative working and for flexibility of use of spaces.

Nicolas Favet Architectes came in with natural and raw materials, including spruce plywood for bordering flexible spaces. Natural linoleum lines the floors, and the cafeteria walls are made with bricks of recycled material. Brightly-lit and wide open spaces are organized around a central block, which includes a lush plant wall designed by botanist Patrick Blanc.

It's a foyer, a waiting area, a meeting room, a place for socializing, and more. The Taipei-based IT firm IPEVO calls this "fuzzy space" Central Park, a deliberate twist on IT Park or "server farm." Part of the goal of Central Park is to provide relief from long hours spent on computers.

IPEVO's Central Park is furnished entirely with natural elements: dried Taiwanese grass lawns as walls and closet doors, recycled camphor trunks (a fragrant, natural antimicrobial and insect repellent), and silk foliage as custom “tree table” hybrids- where the cafe table is integrated with the tree trunks. "The grassy scent with a hint of camphor permeates the office and creates a direct yet subconscious olfactory association with nature," the space's Architizer profile reads.

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