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Design Squish Blog: FALL AND WINTER - FREE FILM SCREENING AT COOPER UNION - film, wisdom, cooper union, environment, hippies, sustainable lifestyle, do-it-yourself, creative environmental options, craft, organics, gardening, planting, flower pots, reusing, old and vintage, nature, environmental news, recycling tips, brooklyn, ditmas park,


a forest floor still life, design squish blog

Forest Floor Still Life by Otto Marseus Van Schrieck. Otto was a Dutch painter best known for mysterious dark close-ups of the live undergrowth of forest floors that give detailed views of
wild flowers, weeds, thistles, and mushrooms, lives of insects.

Even though it is not really a still-life, I think this painting is particularly amazing because of how still it is.

June 04, 2010


eco-friendly book led lamp, green design, design squish blog

Book LED floor lamp. The lamp’s shade opens and closes like the cover of a book. As the shade opens wider, the light shines more brightly, and as it closes, it gradually dims and turns off. Made from recycled aluminum.

biodegradable coffin

Simple, non-toxic, eco-friendly biodegradable coffin!

eco-friendly stackable chairs

Eco-friendly chairs made from strawboard. (Strawboard, a formaldehyde-free material made of compressed straw- an alternative to wood particleboard or fiberboard)

invisible street light

Invisible Street Lights designed by Jongoh Lee are in the shape of tree leaves and can be wrapped around tree branches.  During the day, these leaf structures mingle in the tree’s natural leaves, harnessing and storing sunlight. At night, they provide a poetic alternative to streetlights. 

National Design Triennial is on right now at the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, New York City.


May 28, 2010


wood leftovers, scrap wood chair

Scrap wood chair. (Perfect DIY idea)

design squish blog

Skateboard wheels rotating table. (Great idea for reusing skateboard wheels)

design squish blog

Button toy. (Great idea for reusing buttons)

Future Perfect is a good new design store in
Williamsburg and East Village, New York.


May 26, 2010


speakers by stanley ruiz

Log speakers by Stanley Ruiz - http://stanleyruiz.com  Stanley’s speakers are composed of only wood and metal. “It is a very lo-fi, unassuming approach to product design.  Improvisation is a major part of my process” - Stanley.

birch log speakers by stanley ruiz

birch log speakers by stanley ruiz

Ceramic speakers by Joey Roth: 

design squish blog

The speaker system is reduced to its most simple form.  It is also made out of all natural materials consisting of porcelain, cork, and birch.

design squish blog

redesigning speakers with natural materials



May 14, 2010


bike ride to fort tilden, Fort Tilden, Far Rockaway, Brooklyn, NY

bike ride to fort tilden, Fort Tilden, Far Rockaway, Brooklyn, NY

Located on the Rockaway Peninsula Brooklyn, NY, Fort Tilden is mostly a natual area that was a former United States Army installation.  Fort Tilden today is largely a natural area of beach, dunes and maritime forest. Most of the old military installations are abandoned, though some buildings have been renovated and are used by local arts groups. Atop one of the old batteries, Battery Harris East, is a viewing platform offering 360-degree views.  Fort Tilden includes some of the most secluded beaches in New York.

April 19, 2010


brooklyn bridge park

brooklyn bridge park

Brooklyn Bridge Park is an 85-acre park currently under construction on the Brooklyn waterfront in the vicinity of the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges. As of March 22, 2010 the first newly built section of the park, Pier 1, has been open to the public. !!!!!!!!!!!!

March 30, 2010


design squish blog

The discovery, which the researchers reported last week in Nature, supports research showing that birds are dinosaurs, having descended from a group of bipedal dinosaurs called theropods.
Dr. Prum and his colleagues, meanwhile, had set out on a similar quest. Working with paleontologists at the Beijing Museum of Natural History and Peking University, the researchers began to study a 150-million-year-old species called Anchiornis huxleyi. The chicken-sized theropod was festooned with long feathers on its arms and legs.

mohawk dinosaur true colors
Above: Mohawk Dinosaur

Scientsts were able to assign color to individual feathers and thus work out color patterns for the entire fossil of Anchiornis huxleyi, a small, feathered, two-legged dinosaur that lived roughly 150 million years ago.  The animal would have weighed about four ounces (110 grams) and appears to have had a dark gray or black body and wings with some white feathers that gave it a stripe pattern, plus a reddish-brown crest and speckles on the face. ( Source:  New York Times and Discovery News)





design squish blog

International Women’s Day vintage spring and flowers postcards.  (С 8 Марта!)

more →

March 08, 2010


design squish blog

design squish blog

How to hand build your own well!!! (in Russian): www.kolodec.ru


design squish blog

U.S massive high speed rail is officially on the way!

“According to one recent study, implementation of pending plans for the federally designated HSR corridors could result in an annual reduction of 6 billion pounds of CO2” - from High Speed Rail Strategic Plan.

February 01, 2010


design squish blog

Above: Sledding in Central Park

sledding in prospect park

Above:  Sledding in Prospect Park

I was surprised to find out that sledding was and is a lovable activity after the snow storm in New York City Central and Prospect Parks.  Next time it starts snowing ( as it does not happen too often nowadays) I am definitely hurrying to the Prospect Park with my sled.  But what is even more surprising is that back in the days horse drawn sleigh rides were a popular activity in NYC Central Park during the winter.  Back in February of 1876, the NY Times reported over 10,000 sleighs passing through the park in one day.

sledding, sleigh rides

Above: Sleigh riding in Central Park

“The Central Park blogger recently recalled the days when the sleighs were active, noting: “For most of the latter half of the 19th century, right up until its demolition in 1915, the McGown’s Pass Tavern awarded a magnum of champagne to the first sleigh that reached it each season. The tradition was carried on with the Central Park Casino until it’s demise in 1934.” The NY Times reported on the tradition back in 1910, saying that year the snow wasn’t heavy enough for “good sleighing.” - Jen Carlson, Gothamist

snow, sleigh riding in new york city

Watch a video showing how popular sleigh rides were

January 11, 2010


canola field

Have you ever walked in or passed by a large bright yellow field of flowers? Rapeseed (Brassica napus) is a bright yellow flowering member of the family Brassicaceae (mustard or cabbage family). In agriculture, canola are certain varieties of rapeseed oil, or the oil produced from those varieties. Today 80% of the acres sown are genetically modified canola.

January 08, 2010








Images from the book Heavenly Visions:Shaker Gift Drawings and Gift Songs.

shaker drawings, burning bush

swhaker drawings, wreath

December 21, 2009


design squish blog

Nature Deficit Disorder, is a term invented by Richard Louv in his book called “Last Child in the Woods”. Louv writes that children are spending less time outdoors, resulting in a wide range of behavioral problems. Louv claims that causes for the phenomenon include parental fears, restricted access to natural areas, and the lure of the screen. Recent research has drawn a further contrast between the declining number of National Park visits in the United States and increasing consumption of electronic media by children.
Richard Louv spent 10 years traveling around the USA reporting and speaking to parents and children, in both rural and urban areas, about their experiences in nature. He argues that sensationalist media coverage and paranoid parents have literally “scared children straight out of the woods and fields,” while promoting a litigious culture of fear that favors “safe” regimented sports over imaginative play.
Parents are keeping children indoors in order to keep them safe from danger. Richard Louv believes we may be protecting children to such an extent that it has become a problem and disrupts the child’s ability to connect to nature. The parent’s growing fear of “stranger danger” that is heavily fueled by the media,  keeps children indoors and on the computer rather than outdoors exploring. Louv believes this may be the leading cause in nature deficit disorder as parents have a large amount of control and influence in their children’s lives.
Loss of natural surroundings in a child’s neighborhood and city. Many parks and nature preserves have restricted access and “do not walk off the trail” signs. Environmentalists and educators add to the restriction telling children “look don’t touch”. While they are protecting the natural environment Louv questions the cost of that protection on our children’s relationship with nature.
Increased draw to spend more time inside. With the advent of the computer, video games and television children have more and more reasons to stay inside, “The average American child spends 44 hours a week with electronic media”.
Children have limited respect to their immediate natural surroundings. Louv says the effects of nature deficit disorder on our children will be an even bigger problem in the future. “An increasing pace in the last three decades, approximately, of a rapid disengagement between children and direct experiences in nature …this has profound implications, not only for the health of future generations but for the health of the earth itself.”
Childhood obesity has become a growing problem. There have been multiple studies that show children who go outside more often exercise more.
Attention disorders and depression may develop. “It’s a problem because kids who don’t get nature-time seem more prone to anxiety, depression and attention-deficit problems.” Louv suggests that going outside and being in the quiet and calm can help greatly. Attention Restoration Theory develops this idea further, both in short term restoration of a person’s abilities, and the long term ability to cope with stress and adversity.
In an interview on Public School Insight, Louv stated some positive effects of treating nature deficit disorder, “everything from a positive effect on the attention span to stress reduction to creativity, cognitive development, and their sense of wonder and connection to the earth.” From Wiki.

October 30, 2009


bellingham, whatcom museum new building

new museum, lightcatcher

The Lightcatcher building (opening- November 14, 2009) designed by Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects will feature multiple exhibit spaces in new climate controlled galleries. The Lightcatcher is designed to meet LEED (Leadership in Engineering and Environmental Design) Silver standard and includes a “green” roof, providing a venue for the Museum to offer programs around sustainability and conservation.

lightcatcher building-art museum, bellingham, wa

“The basic concept for this new museum is that museum turned inside out—to make the building as active on the outside as it will be on the inside. An iconic 36-foot-tall, 180-foot-long translucent wall, “the lightcatcher,” is conceived as the focal point and backdrop to a central courtyard that will become a new gathering place for the city. The exterior of the museum will be an invitation to engage in art and will allow pedestrians walking by to view the art and activity within” - Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects

October 08, 2009


blue cornflower field

Mandra on Earth Day Network writes: When I was a child, the cornflower was a very common view in every grainfield in Sweden (we grow barley, wheat, rye and oat), as in many other countries. Then, because of the over-use of herbicides, they disappearded, I haven’t seen them in over 40 years!
When I last traveled from my country-house to Stockholm - they where suddenly there again! Not everywhere, of course, but i saw a huge field with this blue in it - it was a lovely scene! :—)
Centaurea cyanus (cornflower) in the past often grew as a weed in crop fields all over Europe, hence its name (fields growing grains such as wheat, barley, rye, or oats were formerly known as “corn fields” in England). It is now endangered in its native habitat by agricultural intensification, particularly over-use of herbicides, destroying its habitat.

September 17, 2009


Biodegradable moss planter, organic carpet consisting of assortment of mosses

Biodegradable moss carpet

Biodegradable moss planter(organic carpet consisting of assortment of mosses) by Japan-based flower artist Makoto Azuma  

design squish blog

September 06, 2009


mushrooms of england, scientific illustration

mushrooms of england, scientific illustration

mushrooms of england, scientific illustration

mushrooms of england, scientific illustration

mushrooms of england, scientific illustration

john james audubon, finch bird scientific illustration

john james audubon scientific illustration

john james audubon, blue birds

Falcon, scientific illustration by John James Audubon

mushroom illustration

mushroom illustration poster

mushroom illustrations poster

mushroom illustration

mushroom illustration

mushroom illustration, podosinoviki

hummingbird, scientific illlustration


hummingbird, scientific illlustration, detail

Humming bird, detail

bird scientific illustration

Crimson necked bullfinch


design squish blog

design squish blog

An Earthship is a type of home made of natural and recycled materials.  Earthships designed by Earthship Biotecture  and are built from 45% recycled materials - tires, bottles, cans.  Earth-filled tires utilize thermal mass construction to naturally regulate indoor temperature. Earthships also usually incorporate their own special natural ventilation system.

design squish blog

Earthships are built to utilize the available local resources - energy from the sun, rain. For example, windows on the sunny side admit light and heat, and the buildings are often horseshoe-shaped to maximize natural light and solar-gain during winter months. Likewise, the thick, dense outer walls provide effective insulation against summer heat.
Internal, non-load-bearing walls are often made of a honeycomb of recycled cans joined by concrete and are referred to as tin can walls. These walls are usually thickly plastered with stucco.

Sustainable housing: Earthship

The Earthship costs next to nothing to operate annually and is independent of all municipal utilities.  Earthship Biotecture has a building prototype that harvests its own electricity and water; contains and treats its own sewage;  and heats and cools itself without fuel and produces a significant amount of food.

August 02, 2009


Modern house from recycled windows, Christiania

Glass house made from recycled glass windows in Freetown Christiania, neighborhood/commune in Copenhagen, Denmark created during the hippie movement. Christiania has its own flag and its own set of rules independent from the Danish government. Within Christiania itself no cars are allowed, stealing is forbidden as well as violence, guns, knives, bulletproof vests, hard drugs and bikers’ colors.

July 19, 2009


design squish blog

Emergency Response Studio, by Paul Villinski, is a solar-powered, mobile artist’s studio, rebuilt from an old trailer. An artist needs to be mobile and free just in case of the ocean water rising because Greenland is melting, and other devastating natural disasters, such as Katrina in New Orleans. 


environmental film documentary- NO IMPACT MAN

Rooftop Films will screen “No Impact Man” on Thursday, June 11th in Williamsburg. No Impact Man is a documentary by writer-environmental activist Colin Beavan who challenges himself and his family to live for one full year in New York City without making any environmental impact. Impossible?? I will be going to see it on June 11th if anybody wants to join please let me know.

design squish blog

By the way,  I think turning roof tops into small movie theaters is a great idea - smart use of roof space plus you are watching movies outdoors surrounded by the beautiful view!.

design squish blog

June 04, 2009


isle of skye, scottish highlands

isle of skye mountains

Scottish Highlands area is an amazing and magical place that is definitely not from this world.  Steep bare mountains,  strong winds, rainfall , swampy grasslands and many waterfalls, they hide one of the strangest animals -  Kyloe.

highland coows

highland cows

Kyloe or Highland Cow is an ancient Scottish breed of beef cattle with long horns and long wavy pelts.  ( They look a lot like mammoths or at least like giant,big headed, hairy cows)  Highland cows are known are a hardy breed due to the rugged nature of their native Scottish Highlands, they graze on plants many other cattle avoid.

Isle of Skye sheep, design squish blog

sheep, Scotland, design squish blog

Other inhabitants of the Highlands are lots and lots of sheep.  Sheep is everywhere. 

May 23, 2009


design squish blog

design squish blog

This is a Folk Architecture Monument by Tomas Dzadon, Chezh Republic. Tomas writes: “The mistake is made. The socialist urban projects destroyed the marvellous countryside. I grew up in such an utopic project. I was lucky to be able to watch the Tatra mountains from my window. Finally that blocks were not so bad. The proportion changed. From family houses to 13-floor blocks. From houses built by their owners to flats built by the regime”. 

May 03, 2009


design squish blog

design squish blog

Projekt Mobilivre - Bookmobile Project is primarily based in Montreal and Philadelphia. It is a trailer converted into a small mobile gallery and library that showcases handmade books and zines from all over the world.  Traveling through Canada and US, this bookmobile visits community centers, schools, colleges, libraries, festivals and artist-run centers.  I happened to run into Mobilivre-Bookmobile while I was studying at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art and was stunned by the idea of a traveling gallery/library. 

traveling book library and portable zine gallery

design squish blog

Bookmobile is a vehicle designed as a traveling library.  Slumgullion,  is a collaboration project that strives to create community, empower young voices, and promote literacy and the humanities through the book arts and zines. It is based in Missoula, Montana.  Slumgullion’s bookmobile exhibits handmade books, art zines and is just like a regular bookmobile only it is bike powered!

May 02, 2009

OLDEST LIVING TREE - PANDO ( 80,000 - 1,000,000 years old)

oldest tree - pando

Pando is a clonal colony of a single male Quaking Aspen located in the state of Utah, U.S.  All trees in Pando colony are determined to be part of a single living organism with same genetic material and one massive underground root system. The plant is estimated to weigh collectively 6,000 tonnes making it the heaviest known organism and with the oldest root system known in existence at ~80,000 years of age.

April 23, 2009


vintage store in park slope

I am happy to show some of my watercolors at the Eponymy gallery and store.  It is owned by Andrea Miller and located in Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York. The store is a mix of vintage and designer clothes, antique mirrors as well as tightly curated modern photography from emerging artists of Humble Arts Foundation.

February 19, 2009


vintage glass salt and pepper shakers

MANILLA MADE is a blog about all things ethical organized by Helen Cuthbert, a textile designer in UK.  All things ethical are all things handmade, recycled, bright and colorful! I love this blog.
My favorite pieces on this blog are:  vintage glass salt and pepper shakers, handmade shadow lanterns made out of recycled metal food cans, and soy teacup candles!!!

handmade shadow lanterns

soy teacup candles

February 07, 2009


new york tap water

I always liked how New York City tap water tastes like.Tap’dNY is a new bottled water company based out of New York that sells…....New York City tap water!. actually, New York City water is not that bad since it travels to the city from Adirondack mountains and beautiful pure lakes upstate.  TAP’DNY get water from NYC’s public water system, purifies it through reverse osmosis and bottles it locally. This saves miles of ridiculous transportation.
New York City also had a campaign not long ago called Get Your Fill encouraging New Yorkers try to drink tap water all around the city and they even gave out NYC reusable tap water bottles!

design squish blog
You can read NYC drinking water supply and quality report here: Drinking NYC Water Supply and Quality Report

January 28, 2009

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