This Week in Interior Design: 04 May 2015

The latest, most happening, up-to-date news in interior design, art, architecture, real estate, and everything in between

Updated on June 06, 2017 9:06 am

Camille Besinga


Table Absorbs and Releases Thermal Energy to Help Control Room Temperature


A table designed by Raphael Menard and Jean-Sebastien Lagrange is made to absorb excess heat when the room it is in exceeds a temperature of 22 degrees Celsius, but also releases back this heat into the room when its temperature drops below 22 degrees—much like a thermostat. 

Made with a solid oak top, a corrugated anodized aluminum underside, and oak trellis-style legs, it is the first item from Menard and Lagrange’s Zero Energy Furniture range. Phase Change Material (PCM) wax located between the wooden surface and the aluminium underside melts at 22 degrees, absorbing heat from the surrounding air. As the temperature drops, the wax solidifies and releases the heat back into the room. Lagrange says that this table would be good for open-plan working spaces, meeting rooms, classrooms, and restaurants, and that he and Menard would like to create variations to the design specifically made for the setting in which it will be used. Launched in the Milan Furniture Fair, this energy-storing table will be available in the market soon.

Nine Inch Nails Frontman Trent Reznor Puts Up Beverly Crest Mansion for Sale


If you’re a musician and artist known for your dark and brooding music and beats, what would your home be like? People often make the mistake of generalising what artists’ abodes should look like (we admit, we do this ourselves, too). 

So when news came out that the frontman of dark ambient and industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails Trent Reznor has put up his property for sale, photos of his bright, airy, and modern dwelling gave us quite a pleasant surprise. Instead of what we imagined it would look like (allow us to keep that to ourselves, shall we?), we saw spacious rooms, plenty of windows and glass, a structure with clean, straight lines discreetly softened by the slight curves of furniture and décor.

The house was built in 1966, but with its contemporary look, has obviously been renovated to look current and up-to-date. It is a five-bedroom, four-bathroom house measuring 4,300 square feet, with its garage converted into a (of course) soundproofed music studio. Reznor bought this house in 2007 for US$4.1875 million, and is now selling it for US$4.496 million.

Mass-Scale Energy Storage Experiments Make Harvesting of Renewable Energy for the Grid Highly Possible


Experiments by various groups and companies like the Global Energy Storage Alliance, Southern California Edison, Pathfinder Renewable Wind Energy, among others are slowly paving the way to making renewable energy more available to all. Their answer to intermittent supply of solar and wind energy: storage. 

Storage has the effect of making renewable energy even more valuable because you can schedule it; if you control and dispatch it when you want it,” says Janice Lin, head of California Energy Storage Alliance.

”We think energy storage will be a big part of the solution to the intermittency of renewables,” says David Song, a spokesman for utility company Southern California Edison. The company made bold moves in 2014 by signing contracts to store 264 megawatts of renewable energy. Lin adds that renewable energy storage “is going to be a standard part of the tool kit that utilities and grid planners use to maintain, plan, expand, and optimize the grid.” 

Read more updates on this news here. The diagrams above show several examples of how renewable energy is stored using compressed-air energy, pumped storage hydroelectricity, advanced rail energy, and flywheel energy.

Tesla Launches Powerwall and Powerpack to Replace Fossil Fuel Usage


Tesla founder Elon Musk is convinced that the world can eventually reduce its reliance on the burning of fossil fuels for energy by transitioning to stored energy packs. The billionaire inventor has launched a Tesla Powerwall, which is a wall unit battery that stores renewable energy like solar and wind power to replace the need to burn nonrenewable fossil fuels to generate electricity. 

Up to nine units may be stacked together to power an entire home. It’s a pricey investment—each unit costs US$3,500—but can help reduce carbon dioxide emissions which have been wreaking havoc on our planet’s climates.

The Tesla Powerpack, which is also wall-mounted, is a larger version of the Powerwall meant to store industrial amounts of energy that, according to Musk, was created to be “infinitely scalable." The sleek, contemporary look of both battery packs lets homeowners match it to their interior-designed home. It is durable enough that you may choose to hang it up indoors or outdoors, and you may also choose from a range of hues for its plastic covers. You may preorder your own Tesla Powerwall here.

Cover photo courtesy of Curbed


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