Best of 2012: Top Ten Sustainable Modular Products Best of 2012: Top Ten Sustainable Modular Products

Best of 2012: Top Ten Sustainable Modular Products

by Donald Rattner

January 2, 2013

AMAC’s Rhombin Desktop Storage and Play
Who says play has to stop with childhood? AMAC’s Rhombin Desktop Storage units are bins in the shape of equilateral triangles, and are designed to stack as well as cluster together in limitless configurations. Made in California using Cereplast, a plant-based bioplastic.

Honeycomb Trivets
Hexagons are one of nature’s most pristine modular forms (think honeycombs) by virtue of their ability to abut without leaving any gaps between them. Speaking of honeycombs, these colorful silicone trivets are free of BPA, lead, latex, phthalates and other harsh chemicals, and are 100 percent recyclable.
Shigeru Ban 10-Unit Modular Furniture System
Have a seat—or a table, or bench, or pew. Designed by famed Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, you can make all of these from the 10 L-shaped modules that come in the package. Modules are made from UPM ProFi, an environmentally innovative composite fashioned principally from recycled paper and plastic.
MIO Paperforms Wall Paneling
Who said walls need to be flat? Transform a space with environmentally friendly PaperForms sculptural wall tiles. They’re a lightweight and recyclable paper product that can be left natural or painted. Tiles are 12 inches square and come in three styles, each with a boldly projecting three-dimensional motif.
Untitled Modular Art
Mark our words: co-creative art is the wave of the future. But don’t wait that long to get on board. Trevor Elliott’s Untitled Modular Art system gives people a painless way of being their own artist, with no training required. Simply connect pieces of reclaimed wood embedded with magnets to each other to form beautiful tableaus suitable for ogling by friends and family.
Ze O Ze Modular Shoes
Thanks to a young industrial designer, Daniele Bekerman, ladies may one day finally be able to say au revoir to the mismatched shoe blues. Her Ze o Ze is a modular shoe concept that envisions footwear with adjustable and interchangeable parts so that a person can swap out heels and bodies, change colors, and modulate styles from casual to formal.

Praxis Modular Guitars
As different in concept as it is in appearance, the Praxis Modular Guitar is a bold new vision for electric musical instruments. Guitar components are not only designed to be swapped out at will, but they’re also intended to be made from recycled, salvaged and upcycled materials using community workshop tools.

(Re)Plant Collection by Art Terre
The great outdoors is fertile ground for modular design these days. Take Art Terre’s (Re)Plant Collection, which is an expandable system of planters suspended vertically in a chain of steel ladder steps and cables. The hanging apparatus is recycled PVC textile material salvaged from the automotive industry. (Re)Plant works equally well indoors.

World’s Tallest Modular Building, Brooklyn, New York
Topping out the list of this year’s most significant modular designs has to be the new 32-story apartment building by SHoP Architects that’s just starting to rise in downtown Brooklyn. Modular homes, classroom buildings and commercial structures have long been part of the landscape, but this project represents the highest profile test yet of the boundaries of modular construction. And since high density development is by many measures the greenest form of human habitat, it appears modular architecture has a huge potential to advance the quest for sustainability.
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Best of 2012: Top Ten Sustainable Modular Products