Homing in on micro-algae

Homing in on micro-algae


Homing in on micro-algae

A zero-energy house under construction in Germany is set to provide the first real-life test for a new facade system that uses live micro-algae to offer shade and generate renewable energy at the same time.

The architects, based in Austria, are the designers of the world’s first algae-powered building, which has been commissioned for the International Building Exhibition in Hamburg, Germany. Dubbed as the BIQ House, the building is expected to attain completion by March next year. BIQ House will be completely covered with a bio-adaptive facade of micro-algae that will give the building a distinct bright green colour and help it to generate its own electricity.

It has several bio-reactive louvres that serve as enclosures for the algae used for the building. These enclosures allow the algae to survive and grow faster than they would otherwise. The bio-reactors built into BIQ will capture the heat energy produced by the algae and convert this into electricity.

Once the construction of BIQ is completed, the building will be evaluated by scientists and research groups in Germany to determine whether the methods used to construct the building have merit. If the scientific community finds the methods favourable, many more buildings may be equipped with the bio-adaptive micro-algae that are used to give BIQ its energy. Algae, which is becoming popular in the world of alternative energy, can be used for various eco- friendly purposes. They have also proven themselves quite valuable in terms of sustainability.    Geetha Balachandran

Time past & time present

Warm sentiments of the past polished with a touch of modernism define classic interiors. Antique furniture and bric-a-brac lend that classic touch to a home. 

Grandfather or grandmother clocks are all-time favourites when it comes to antique pieces. Grandfather and grandmother clocks differ only in one aspect. The structure and design of the grandfather clock is wide whereas that of the grandmother clock is sleek and slim. These clocks must be placed in a place where they complement the colour of the existing furniture, wall and the environment.

Since they need to be oiled only once in two years, there are no worries about maintenance. They must be placed on a perfectly flat surface.
Also, the hands of the clock have to be tuned once in eight days to set the time. Antique clocks are available both in mahogany and rosewood.

Maria Rubina

All that glitters is gold

Gold is in vogue and how! Fashion runways and the most spectacularly designed rooms all over the world have a golden aura. This is the time you should make space in your rooms for the Midas touch because gold is this year’s ‘must-have’ metal.

Over the years, silver, chrome and stainless steel have been taking over the decor arena with bronze and copper following. Now gold is making a blazing return. Don’t throw away your stainless steel, silver, copper and bronzes yet, just make a little room for a new layer. Yes, all that you need to do to keep up with the latest in decor fashion is layer – in this case adding a mixed metal layer of gold. Of course, with gold prices being what they are, we are not talking here of pure gold! A few gold coloured candlesticks, gold coloured satin cushions, antique picture frames, a gilded box on a coffee table or a mirror in the foyer with golden frames will do the needful.

As with any style, there is no need to abandon your existing decor. You can be trendy by adding subtle accessories, furniture and colour. Just as you change a few items in your wardrobe each season, you can rotate home decor items in and out. If your sofa needs upholstering, it’s a great time to incorporate the new fashion. Otherwise, just a casual throw will do the job. Ensure that your rooms still reflect your personality; in other words, don’t change the decor drastically.

One decorator offers a tip which she calls her ‘golden rule’ of mixing metals. According to her, the trick behind combining metals successfully is to include at least three touches of any one colour or metal in a room. To secure a relationship between two different metals, keep one piece that employs both metals. Let’s take an example of the above principle.

Many kitchens now have a stainless steel hood fan over their cooking area. You can make this functional piece decorative by detailing the hood with gold coloured rivets or banding. In the living room, the plan is to keep it simple.

You could set a picture frame that is both gold and silver on an end table. An even easier method is to toss around cushions with gold and silver embroidery. So, now you can exhibit your Midas touch and turn everything into gold!

Mala Ashok

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