I’ve just returned (somewhat begrudgingly) to Brooklyn from the always alluring city of Los Angeles and I must admit that reviewing the stacks of brochures, dozens of photos, and pages of notes that I amassed at this year’s Dwell on Design conference is a daunting task. Where in the world do I begin with my coverage of the West Coast's biggest modern design event? The high-end toilets? The luxury chicken coops? The Tord Boontje-designed HP mini-notebooks? The stylish bench/hammock/planter combo?
Nah. Although I’ll get around to featuring several of the standout, eco-minded exhibitors that I caught at Dwell on Design 2011 over the coming days, I thought I’d start off by posting about one of the major attention-grabbers at this year’s show (sorry to disappoint, but it’s not you, Ed Begley Jr.):
The 2011 Modern Living Showhouse by ecofabulous in collaboration pieceHomes and OneBuild. Because really, nothing draws a crowd like an attractively landscaped, tricked-out, up-for-auction modular home that's been plopped down on a convention hall floor.
Back by popular demand for a third year with a new design team — save for ecofabulous founder, William McDonough protégé, and enthusiastic eco-cheerleader, Zem Joaquin, — and a focus on innovation instead of reuse, Dwell describes this year's green show home, a 520-square foot prefab, as being “a fully-appointed residence that epitomizes aspirational sustainable living.” In other words, the Modern Living Showhouse is an envy-inducing abode filled with (mostly) expensive eco-items, some of them furnished by corporate sponsors (in this case, Electrolux ICON and two Safeway-owned entities, O Organics, and Bright Green cleaning products).
The home itself was designed by architect Jonathan Davis of pieceHomes and factory-built by Seattle-based prefab builder OneBuild. Green features of the rooftop photovoltaic-ready structure include natural ventilation, cork flooring, energy and water-saving Electrolux appliances, IceStone recycled glass countertops, LED lighting, Caroma bathroom fixtures, recycled content bathroom tiling from Modwalls, and EcoClad siding made from recycled paper and bamboo fiber.
The home also boasts a 4.5-inch thick concrete subfloor, a somewhat unusual feature for prefabricated homes that helps to efficiency heat the space while adding stability. Davis tells Dwell: "I think we have a claim to make that this is one of the very first homes built in a factory with a structural concrete floor that has radiant heating.”
Joaquin, who treated me and a few other journalists to an intimate tour of the home, did a bang-up job curating the interior, making the potentially cramped space feel warm, welcoming, and even spacious (the high ceilings helped) while managing to incorporate a whole lot of green goodies including — and certainly not limited to — Coyuchi organic cotton bedding and bath linens, MechoShade shadecloths, high-end sustainable and repurposed furnishings from H.D. Buttercup and Cisco Home, homegoods from eco-fashion superstar Linda Loudermilk, and various vintage finds.
The home’s space-saving centerpiece and a personal highlight for me in the Neil Kelly-created room was the freestanding media center — made of Plyboo, a bamboo-based plywood — that provides ample storage space while also acting as a room divider between the living and sleeping areas. Although I didn’t love everything that Joaquin went with, the home, for the most part, felt just right and only slightly gimmick/ in-your-face product placement-y. This isn't exactly an easy task to pull off, so a big kudos to the teams at ecofabulous and pieceHomes.
And here’s the cool thing: Like past open-to-the-public for Dwell on Design ecofabulous homes, the whole shebang can be yours, via auction, on eBay Giving Works. This year's auction takes place on July 15th with all proceeds benefiting nonprofit Global Green USA — Joaquin also happens to be a board member — and their green building and policy efforts throughout California and the entire country. So start saving those nickels and dimes, folks, and be sure to keep up to speed on Twitter at #Ecofabuloushouse.
Anyone happen to catch the Modern Living Showhouse at Dwell on Design this year? Any specific features or furnishings pop out at you? Any thoughts on how this year's "innovative" theme compared to past ecofabulous-curated homes?
And remember to tune in over the coming days as I continue to sift through material and blog about highlights from this year's Dwell on Design show.