Archive for March 2013 | Monthly archive page

After a long day in the salt mines, it is a great relief to return to a warm, comfortable, and beautiful living space. To keep your eyes happy, body relaxed, and eyes excited, take a look at New York-based designer Meredith Goodwin’s amazing bamboo furniture! The KURV coffee table (pictured above) is a modernist appointment that is incredibly held together by tension alone. The body is composed of bamboo plywood that is certified under the 6.0 Section of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Materials and Resource Point System. Designed with only a few connections, the KURV is available to be ordered and shipped flat, and can be easily assembled at home.

Equally beautiful is Goodwin’s HALO LED-lit dining room table. Also constructed using bamboo, the entire piece is lit by small, energy-efficient bulbs to create a little bit of modernist mood lighting for your living room. Like the KURV, all pieces arrive flat-packed, ready to be assembled for a much more environmentally friendly piece than you could find at particle-board loving IKEA.

Nothing says ‘relaxation’ like a good, long soak in a bathtub. Those looking for a little sustainable serenity may enjoy the Air Bubble Massage Bathtub from Xianning Yanshan Bamboo Industry, Co. Ltd.  Equipped with a pillow, faucet, hand shower, jets, massage device, and chair, the luxurious tub is made completely out of water-tight bamboo. Sustainable and possessing a low-carbon footprint, the hearty grass makes a warm, attractive alternative to porcelain or tile. The surface is treated with a nanometer level oxide compound material that deodorizes, sterilizes, and releases anions into the air. Adhering to the standards of the Ergonomics Association, the tubs also come in barrel and portable models.

Whispering Winds Bamboo Cooperative

Planting and harvesting bamboo is not only good for the environment, but can also be beneficial to the community that supports its cultivation. Founded in 2003, the Whispering Winds Bamboo Cooperative is a biodynamic and sustainable bamboo nursery on the beautiful Hawaiian island of Maui. Certified organic by Stellar Certification Services, the company is home to a number of bamboo species as well as tropical hardwood. They offer a range of timber bamboo including black bamboo in diameters from one to four inches. A plant nursery grows hedging bamboos and landscape vegetation for the garden. Whispering Winds also sells kit structures that use bamboo to create sheds, shade structures, carports, caddies, and even housing for bee hives.

As a result of the Ola Honua mission, the employees at Whispering Winds Bamboo Cooperative purchased the business from the original owners, turning it into a cooperative. Apprenticeships are offered on site, and the employees are all dedicated to replanting and restoring native flora on the plantation. With the notions of community engagement and social responsibility in mind, Whispering Winds provides its workers with fair wages as well as affordable housing for the people of Kipahulu.

Morro Bay Orchid Outriggers

Article Update: As of 2019, Orchid Outriggers is no longer offering waterborne tours of the back bay. Looks like you’ll have to head over to Morro Bay State Park instead and see it the old-fashioned way, in rented kayak. Still a ton of fun.  

There are two great things that stand out for me as a resident of San Luis Obispo. The first is the incredible natural diversity in the county, and the other is the caliber of the people who live and love the landscape. One evening, I had the pleasure of meeting Mike, one of the gentlemen involved with Orchid Outriggers, a company out of Los Osos that offers tours of the coast by outrigger canoe.

What began as a short mention of the wildlife in our backyards became a long conversation over the variety of species that can be seen from the boats, how to identify birds in mid-air, and how it was much easier to photograph animals from the stability and comfort of the outrigger. A printer by trade, he and his fellow boaters take the time and effort to pick up trash from the estuaries, cleaning and caring for the ecosystems they love.

Tours go through the Morro Bay Estuary and are led by naturalists and birders with years of experience under their belts. Gliding through the water with a view of Morro Rock, tons of feathery friends, and the entire coastline, the experience is one that will be remembered for lifetime. The outriggers themselves are 17-4 Koholu’a boats which are small composites of Hawaiian canoes. The modern incarnation of a design refined over hundreds of years are sturdy, fast, and easily maneuverable. No wetsuit is needed for the ride, as the boats are dry and large enough to stow a good amount of gear.

You don’t have to be a tourist to take advantage of the gorgeous place in which we live and make good connections with the locals. Go explore your backyard with some wonderful neighbors with Orchid Outriggers!