Back to basics. Waste-free shopping.

Imagine yourself entering to a supermarket where no endless, distracting bright colourful and packed shelves are found. Instead, imagine a relaxed, neutral space with a pleasant atmosphere that allows you to enjoy the shopping experience. Have you succeeded? If it’s difficult, pictures of Original unverpackt grocery store can help you. It opened in Berlin one year ago and it’s Germany’s first waste-free supermarket.

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“It’s about learning to buy in a different way, ending with full endless shelves of products that promise salvation, shopping without waste. We are in search of slow food and zero waste, contrary to those other buzzwords on ecological awareness some brands use to mislead” said Milena Glimbovski and Sara Wolf, the project’s founders.

We have to know that tonnes of waste packaging come from the food and household industry. Although recycling and more efficient ways to address packaging waste are in the order of the day, the great amount of waste going to landfills is unsustainable. It is not just the packaging that requires attention but also our lifestyles and habits of consumption.

Therefore, the shopping Capture 2concept which is practiced in Original unverpackt is great, the customer only buy what they really need and there’s no need to worry about expiration dates. It works like this: The food is stored in bulk containers and customers serve themselves as they wish in their own containers that they have brought from home. If you don’t have or have forgotten them, there’s no problem. The shop can provide you reusable containers or any recycled paper bag (no plastic bags, of course!). After the shopping, you get to the till and the weight of the containers is subtracted, you only pay for the net weight of your groceries.

It is not a new idea of course, is more the concept of going back to the basics. Or how our grandfathers, great grandfathers usually bought. Or how some developing countries actually do it. Moreover, this practice allows making organic food cheaper for everyone as the packaging is being removed. People on lower income can start affording it and more social equality can be achieved, as well.

We know that nowadays more people are aware about the importance of sustainability, equality and green living. There’s a rising demand for products and services that deal with it and people demand alternatives to the expensive handling of our resources. We have to start thinking more about it and try to learn for good. We continue to exploit resources and extend our development into the Earth’s limited fields. A sustainable path is the answer to live in a better world and to secure a place to our future generations.

Again, come on, it’s hip to be green!

Back to basics. Waste-free shopping.

Architecture Instagramers

“Architects are spending one out of every six minutes online using social media” according to sources like

Well, actually a lot of people nowadays is spending more and more minutes every day instarch1to social media, so why architects shouldn’t? Their public and young staff is all using social media and they know that it is a real opportunity to promote their business growth, self-brand and community engagement. Besides, architects are usually artistic and creative people who like to show the world their concerns and creations. Therefore, in this actual world where the use of Instagram is rapidly increasing and having more and more followers, architects are finding their own place and keeping pace with celebrities and starlets.

Recently, in the Architizer blog and interesting post about architecture instagramers appeared. It quotes Alexandra Langer, an architecture critic, who wrote an article for Dezeen magazine about social media practice of famous architects. She said about one famous architect: “His Instagram has a lot to do with the architecture of self-promotion, but little to do with actual building,” and “The same goes for many architects’.

insta likesIs that true? Yes, apparently. As I have said before, architects (and come on, many people) like to be self-appreciated and like to promote their designs and pictures. One of the Instagram’s goals is that, to share your pics and receive the best possible amount of likes. And you know you like it! I think it is good to stimulate yourself a bit.instarch2

On the other side, I also believe it is very important not only to promote your own work but to show engagement with general architecture followed by culture, public art and community space. I believe people interested in architecture and design would appreciate an account where it is possible to find a mixture. It is very practical and (really!) comforting. It’s like having a little architecture visual library in your hand. The photos of actual and historic buildings are lovely with a pinch of filters.

The Architizer blog I was talking about so had made a research and had found these “media-savvy creatures” in Instagram. They’re not the more famous in the world but rather young and anonymous who like the freedom to share their passions. Well done!

Here you can find my favorites among this Architizer list :  @mauriciotufino @the_architext @vitovillabilbao @lifesansbldgs

Architecture Instagramers

Innovation, crowdsourcing and sustainability

Some time ago, I read the book “Where good ideas come from. The natural history of innovation” from the American writer Steven Johnson. The main theme of this book is to explore how ideas emerge. It’s really interesting and I spent a good time reading it. Johnson has the ability to integrate a lot of information and different knowledge and link them in an admirable way. He exposes us that there is a number of common patterns that appear in the appellant environments where good ideas often arise. One of the patterns is the one called serendipity. In this chapter, the writer presents the example of Nike and the GreenXchange project, working through a platform where companies share own patents on materials and technologies that respect the environment.

crowdsourcing-cartoon-300x216That could be a good example of earlier projects before crowdsourcing, the topic we discussed in class the other day.  If someone doesn’t know what this means is basically “an online, distributed problem-solving and production model that has emerged in recent years” (Brabham, D.)

Clasically, problems are broadcasted in the form of an open call for solutions. Users (the crowd) submit solutions which are then owned by the entity which broadcast the problem. Nowadays, there are a lot of examples of crowdsourcing, in all kinds of companies. For instance, Threadless (t-shirt company), Innocentive (science), Lego Desingbyme (new Lego models) or DellIdeaStorm (computer company).

One of the articles commented in class concluded that environmental sustainability and architecture are examples that may benefit from the application of crowdsourcing. I’m totally agree. Retention of knowledge and “green” innovations does no favor to anyone, because what is more important now is to ensure a more sustainable future. So, I believe that promoting more crowdsourcing in that field is essential, as long as there are benefits to both companies and participants, “the crowd”.

One great initiative is EartHack backed by IKEA and Philips, a perfectly example of  collectiveRecycledPlanet2 problem solving to come up with new ways of using existing technolgy. This with the aim to make homes more sustainable and save million tonnes of CO2.

This is the future! Crowdsourcing can drive sustainability solutions and help “to contribute to meet our needs without compromising the future generations”… What are we waiting for? It’s hip to be green!

Innovation, crowdsourcing and sustainability

Sherlock updated! Using Internet and Social Media

I have to admit it. I am an avid reader and fan of Sherlock Holmes. I have read all the stories of Arthur Conan Doyle and I re-read them whenever I can. But I must confess SherlockBBCPosterthat I had never watched a movie or TV series about the character. However, I could not resist watching one of the TV series depicting a contemporary update of the famous detective: Sherlock, from the British BBC, the first season aired in 2010.

Again, I have to admit that I’m pretty hooked to Sherlock. The chapters never cease to bore me. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have an amazing presence and they make a great Sherlock Holmes and Doctor John Watson. I totally love them and recommend the series.

The characters have many similarities to the original literary work although now adapted tosherlock-phone the new times. They’re using modern technology such as smart phones, Internet and GPS, to solve crimes! It’s amazing. In the first chapter of season one, Sherlock is able to find where the pink lady is from using the Weather Channel app in his smartphone. How cool is this?

I also believe that he can also find more about his mysteries searching on the social media sites where the corpse, the suspects have (had) a profile. This should help to draw clues and the motives of their actions.

Moreover, in this new update, Sherlock instead of hand writing articles he has a blog or S2E2_new-posts-sherlock-blog-600x337website, The Science of Deduction. In this, he presents the results and analysis of his experiments. On the other hand, his friend John Watson also has a blog. He posts about the cases he and Sherlock had resolved. He uses a narrative style, adds photos and funny quotes so his blog it’s more successful and entertaining to read. Very important in a blog nowadays if you want more followers! I’m not saying that posting about scientific things is not useful and cannot have followers but, admit it, the second one is going to have more audience. Watson said to Holmes on the first season (I really love the dialogues of the series):

Sherlock Holmes: Do people actually read your blog?
John Watson: Where do you think our clients come from?
S.H.: I have a web site.
J.W.: In which you enumerate two hundred and forty different types of tobacco. Which is why nobody’s reading your web site.

In one chapter even, Sherlock uses John blog’s visitor counter for helping to solve a case! Social Media and the Internet have become very important in our lives and the new Sherlock knows it!

Sherlock updated! Using Internet and Social Media

How much does your building weigh, Mr.Foster?

cartell documentalToday I’ve decided to write about a wonderful documentary I watched some months ago. How much does your building weigh, Mr. Foster?  is about the life and career of one of the most famous architects of the century, Norman Foster.

The first time I watched it, was in the Verdi Cinema in Barcelona, and had hit me both architecturally (as a building engineer that I am) and emotionally. Seriously! Several hours and days two feelings had been lasting to me, very difficult to live together!

The first one, the greatness. The greatness of the ideas and buildingsHearst-Tower that have been created by Foster and his team. Perhaps I’m exaggerating, but I was fascinated to have the opportunity to see these works in person, as there are real. To appreciate the skyline with the Swiss Re tower in London and go to Columbus Circle in the Big Apple, New York, and see the curious Hearst Tower.

And the second feeling, the smallness. The smallness you feel, both as a student of this world or as a worker, what has succeeded by this man and you’re not even in the beginning of the way… However, you should try that first impression lasts more, shouldn’t you? Try to think that one day you’ll find your way. Mr.Foster has been saying constantly that he had to performs struggle to find his way.

The leaning of the sensations described earlier also falls due to the excellent quality of the documentary, especially the photography and music. I think we don’t only have to appreciate the beauty of the aerial images of buildings, the places where the architect is skiing in the early stage and the final cause a very nice sensation, too.

And finally, I want to mention one part that I especially like. The part of the documentary Masdardedicated to the city of Masdar in Abu Dhabi, an ecological model city, designed by Foster & Partners team. Since I started studying my degree and master, I’m very attracted to Sustainability and I think this project is an inspiration. Convey the idea of leaving a low carbon footprint in this world is for everyone.

I mention that everything written is personal opinion, so if you want to experience it you must watch the documentary. You’ll also find the story behind the curious question of the title 🙂

Here’s the trailer if you want to see it. Enjoy!!!

How much does your building weigh, Mr.Foster?