Happy weekend, MNN readers! Any big plans? As for me, over the next couple of days I'll be hitting up a few of the big NY Design Week events — the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, Sight Unseen's NoHo Design District, Wanted Design, etc. — so keep an eye out starting early next week for highlights. In 2010, I left NY Design Week with nightmares and in 2011, designer CFL bulbs, so you never know what I'll stumble across.

For now, here's a few fresh news items from the world of sustainable home design, architecture, and gardening. And at the end of this page, you'll find a tribute to disco diva extraordinaire Donna Summer who passed away earlier this week after a battle with cancer. Given that summer is just around the corner, it's a great time to reacquaint yourself with Ms. Summer's sultry, summer dance party-appropriate back catalog (seriously, "I Feel Love" is the jam). 
Grist admires a few chairs and tables that pull double duty as indoor gardens. Explains Grist: " ... assuming you have things like tables and chairs, you can take inspiration from these prototypes to turn them into thriving indoor gardens. (If you don’t have things like tables and chairs, you are probably some kind of forest creature, and you should just plant seeds in piles of your own excrement until whoever owns the apartment comes home and shoos you.)"
The National Post practices its "blue green steel" pose for a visit to the eco-friendly Quebec abode of Brian Allemekinders and Deirdre Yukich that's constructed from a new-to-Canada steel panel building system called K-tect and also features geothermal heating, bamboo flooring, recycled rubber roof shingles, and passive solar design. Says Allemekinders: “Our hope is that our project will motivate other people to try new, alternative approaches to building residential homes in Canada. We believe strongly that there is no reason to have not evolved past the traditional residential building methods and materials that have been in constant use for the past 100 years.”
The New York Times steps inside the LifeEdited apartment, TreeHugger founding father Graham Hill's recently completed 420-square-foot morphing masterwork of smart, sustainable, and simplified living that's located smack dab in the middle of Manhattan. Planning any apartment swaps in the near future, Graham? I hear Red Hook, Brooklyn, is awfully nice in the summer. That's the renovated space in all of it's clutter-free glory pictured up top.
The Wall Street Journal enjoys a stroll through the new, Weiss/Manfredi-designed Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center, a LEED Gold-targeting building described as a "sinuously shaped structure, half-bermed into a hillside with a green roof of crew-cut grasses" that "combines architecture and landscape (plus some heavy-duty engineering) with the mobile harmony of a ballet." That's the new building, complete with 10,000-square foot living room, pictured up top. 
TreeHugger asks gardening-centric entomologist Suzanne Wainwright why ladybugs shouldn't be purchased as a means of natural pest control (short answer: they can carry diseases and parasites that can infect native ladybugs taking up residence in your garden).
EcoHome announces the winners of the NAHB's National Green Building Awards. In total, five single-family home projects, two remodeling projects, and one multifamily project were honored. Among them? INhome, Purdue University's entry into the 2011 Solar Decathlon (Project of the Year, Single-Family Concept and Research-Academic category), Chandler Design-Build's Paar Residence in North Carolina (Project of the Year, Single-Family Small Volume Builder category), and, last but not least, Seattle's Thomas/Salmon Residence, AKA the Zero Energy House, from TC Legend Homes/Zero-Energy Plans (Project of the Year, Single-Family Concept and Research-Enterprise category). Congrats to everyone honored! 

The Atlantic Cities gushes over the Water Tower Chair, a "comfy undulating lounger" made from reclaimed wood that sports "an almost Pringle-like profile." And take a wild guess as to where the timber used to make the chair was salvaged from (no hints). I'm not exactly sure if the seat, designed by Brooklyn-based collaborative wood shop Bellboy, "oozes summer cool" as described, but still pretty nifty.
The Los Angeles Times takes a gander at the three entrants in the Woodbury University School of Architecture's "tranform an ordinary Lowes garden shed into a super cool cabin" design challenge.

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Playing catch up: Summer's coming, Summer's gone
Count down to summer with the assistance of a few green home and garden news items accompanied by the music of the late, great Donna Summer. Because really, not