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Archive for July, 2010


July 28th, 2010

Phytobench: Public Seating That Repairs Damaged Ecosystems

Phytobench: Public Seating That Repairs Damaged Ecosystems

Soft/Rigid's phytobench

phytoremediation coming to a brown site near you

If you like plants and you like benches, then you’ll love phytobench—or ‘plantbench’ if your Greek etymology is rusty.

US based design duo Yong Ju Lee and Brian Brush are obsessed by ‘soft rigid’ design in architechture and their latest concept, the Phytobench, proposes forms and materials suitable for the germination and establishment of remediating plants but are also rigid enough to double as a park bench. The plant seeds will be incorpoarated into the material structure of the bench.

“So what?” You might think. But with many urban brown sites in need of some TLC, phytoremediation may well be the answer. Select plants, classed as hyperaccumulators, are utilised for their ability to collect and store heavy metals and toxins from the soil. Sunflowers accumulate arsenic and uranium, for example. Current soil cleaning processes are expensive, chemically contrived, or simply involve moving the toxic soil to another location.

Soft/Rigid are currently raising funds to create prototypes and develop a manufacturing process, so it may be another year or two before you are sitting on a green bench (literally and metaphorically green). There is a thorough interview of the inventors on the Vevant blog by Nick Leftley and you can see a short video and contribute to their project here if you feel moved to do so—a $2,500 contribution will get you your own Phytobench to put on any forlorn brown sites in your neighbourhood.

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July 22nd, 2010

Bread is bread any way you slice it

Bread is bread any way you slice it

How do you design a symbol for a currency?  In India, you launch a contest.

On July 15th, the Indian government announced a winner for their nationwide competition to find a new symbol to represent its currency, the Rupee. The winner, D. Udaya Kumar a professor at the Indian Institute of Technology was chosen out of thousands of entries by the Indian cabinet. Kumar describes the symbol as reflecting the Indian flag and a blend of Roman and Indian letters.

Until now abbreviations such as INR or Rs were used to represent the Rupee, which were used by neighboring countries like Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Nepal causing confusion in the world’s financial market. Feedback from the Indian population has been positive, as they see this as a chance to have their booming economy recognized all around the world.

While the winner received roughly $5,350, implementing the symbol could cost the Indian government much more. By having to print new money, ensuring compatibility on computers, software, phones and keyboards, it could be a $50 billion plus investment.

So move over $, £, € and ¥, there’s a new symbol coming to a keyboard near you.

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