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“Packaging” is a sort of ho-hum word to describe the shell for treasured goods being shipped across the country, or halfway around the world. It’s also a poor descriptor for the seductive sheath that researchers pour gallons of time into and designers stay up nights agonizing over. We’ve definitely made consumer choices based on packaging alone, simply because said item looks better on our dresser.
But nearly always, the shelf life of the packaging is a lot shorter than the time it took to dream up. That’s a lot of Styrofoam/plastic/etc. in a lot of garbage cans.
This week’s edition is about genius alternatives to vessels that far outlast their cargo.
We are excited to announce that our parklet project is a candidate for Ford’s Community Grant. Designed in collaboration with Studio Murmur, the parklet will provide a green oasis complete with seating, planters and an herb garden in the heart of Andersonville. Vote for our parklet this Saturday and Sunday at Chicago’s Green Festival on Navy Pier, which will have free yoga, and homebrew classes, among other sweet-looking activities. With this additional funding, we could fuel seasonal plantings, park seating and the seedlings of future parklets. Check out our official renderings above and below this post. Hope to see you there!
Three years ago, we held Chicago’s first PARK(ing) Day in Lakeview, where we transformed a few parking spaces into a fun, public green space for a summer day. Now, we, along with eco-Andersonville and the Andersonville Development Corporation, are excited to announce a semi-permanent iteration of PARK(ing) Day: a parklet in Andersonville at Clark and Farragut. Parklets, which are popping up all over the world (SF tour, here), are mini urban retreats, complete with plant life and seating areas. They provide more green space in the thick of cities, which often lack communal places to sit and watch the world go by. Watch the video, learn more about the project, and support our kickstarter here. We’re gathering funds for seasonal plantings, park seating and future parklets, three of which are in the works in the coming years.
There are lots of great bags you can hang on your bike, but some things are really awkward in bags. Coffee cups and smoothies, for example, or wine bottles that clang around. Six Packs and U-Locks also make the list. This week’s edition include biking accessories that help a two-wheeled commute run a little smoother with less than optimal cargo.
Despite this year’s lack of buzzer beaters, I’m a sucker for the NCAA basketball tournament. Cinderellas, upsets, March Madness, Capital One, all that. I don’t think my Mom ever realized I would always have to stay home sick from school around the third Thursday of March (sorry, Mom). During the three weeks of the tournament 63 games (add 4 for the new play-in round, or whatever they’re calling it now) are played at 13 different venues. However, starting in 2009 you would think they are all playing in the same arena. That’s because the NCAA has rolled out a standard, featureless court at every tournament venue. From Portland to Grensboro, Phoenix to Boston, its black and blue and boredom.
moss’ newest brewery project, Begyle Brewing (formerly Argyle Brewing Co.) models itself after the increasingly popular CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and is Chicago’s first “CSB” (Community Supported Brewery). Founders Matt Ritchey, Kevin Cary and Brendan Blume decided to start their subscription based brewery after a few brainstorming sessions. Like CSAs, members will receive a share of craft beer on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. Begyle is expected to open its craft beer programs starting this summer.
Though it’s new to Chicago’s shores, community-sustained brewing finds its roots deep in German history. In the 13th and 14th centuries, central brewhouses in each town would produce the liquid base of beer, called the wort, which was then collected by individual citizens. These select few would ferment the wort, and then place a special sign on their door (Zoigl, pictured above.) The six-pointed star looks just like a Star of David, but it’s actually a brewer’s star, one point for each beer-making element: hops, yeast, malt, grain, water and brewer. The Zoigl signaled to townsfolk that their neighbor had opened a temporary, communal pub in his home, a.k.a., to come over and have a cold one. After the beer from that house was gone, the next homebrewer would collect his wort and so the good people of the town were never without local beer (one hopes.)
The refrigerator present in most Western kitchens today wasn’t invented all that long ago. Carl Van Linde developed the technology in the 1870′s, but his ammonia-based fridges still required separate motors, and inhaling the toxic gases within led to a few deaths—not ideal. The first freestanding, commercially available fridge hit shelves (well, floors) in 1913, and wasn’t really perfected until the 1930′s. Iceboxes and burying perishables in the ground preceed both models by thousands of years.
But the current model isn’t done evolving yet. Refrigerators still consume about a 6th of the energy used in the average American home. This week’s edition includes inspiring fridges that use little to no electricity, instead keeping food cold/preserved using methods from sand to biopolymers.
After spending the past few years on the streets, Flirty Cupcakes has a new dessert garage to call home. Flirty was preparing their delectable delights in a shared kitchen in Chicago’s West Loop, and selling to the public out of two food trucks. Now in addition to their rounds in Chicagoland, Flirty will sell their in-house baked treats from their new shop on Taylor Street. After identifying the 1,200 square foot space on Taylor near UIC, moss helped transform the formerly hapless space into a modern dessert garage. Product list and photos inside.