news digest | Sep 7, 2021 |
3D printed homes are here, Ikea is buying back used furniture, and more

In parallel with the pandemic’s interior design boom, the puppy-buying boom of the past year has inspired an examination of how design can improve dogs’ experience of their built environments. Stay in the know with our weekly roundup of headlines, launches and events, recommended reading, and more.

Business News

Hurricane Ida tore through the U.S. last week, causing significant damage to communities in Louisiana, New Jersey and New York and resulting in 40 deaths across four states, The New York Times reports. Homes in Queens, New York, faced particular devastation, where tenants in the city’s often illegally converted basement apartment units became extremely vulnerable to the resulting floods, accounting for at least 11 deaths, while the storm also undid hundreds of thousands of dollars in renovations homeowners spent on structures built in the mid-1920s and mid-1950s. In Louisiana, the storm caused days of widespread power outages affecting more than 1 million people—prompting New Orleans mayor LaToya Cantrell to urge evacuated residents to delay their return—though the flood protection system of levees, barriers and pumps held firm and prevented further damage.

In Canada, anti-dumping duties have officially gone into effect after the Canadian International Trade Tribunal ruled that the importation of certain upholstered seating from China and Vietnam has caused injury to domestic production, Home News Now reports. With duties ranging from 9.3 percent to 188 percent for China and from 9.9 percent to 179.5 percent for Vietnam, the sanctions will affect motion seating and stationary upholstery in leather or fabric, including sofas, chairs, stools and home theater seating. The tariffs were initially introduced in May, issued as a provisional measure in response to an investigation into a complaint filed by 14 furniture manufacturers about alleged dumping from the two countries.

Eight Sleep, which manufactures “smart” mattresses and mattress covers, has completed an $86 million Series C funding round led by Valor Equity Partners. As TechCrunch reports, the company uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to monitor physical parameters like heart rate and breathing during sleep, adjusting temperature accordingly to promote better rest. Moving forward, Eight Sleep plans to expand internationally while building out its technology to control ambient factors such as lighting.

Home design startup Pancake has completed a $350,000 seed funding round, TechCrunch reports. The company was founded in 2020 with the goal of making design services more accessible—through its platform, users can book a virtual session with an interior designer, providing them with room measurements and photos to receive a rendering and instructions on how to complete the design. From there, the site directs customers to home decor and furniture providers through a feature Pancake plans to build out with its new capital.

In Austin, Texas, local firm Logan Architecture and construction tech company ICON have completed what they claim are the first 3D-printed homes for sale and ready for move-in in the U.S., Dezeen reports. Each of the four houses took five to seven days to print, and were constructed utilizing a robotic arm to layer cement-based material into striated surfaces—resulting in a structure that’s better equipped to withstand extreme weather, ICON claims. With Southwestern-inspired interiors designed by local designer Claire Zinnecker, the development’s two four-bedroom homes are still available, and the two-bedroom spaces are under contract.

Launches and Collaborations

Ikea has announced a new pilot program allowing customers to sell back their gently used furniture in exchange for store credit. The service will be offered for a limited time at the retailer’s outlet in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, before hitting additional select markets across the U.S., with the goal of ultimately becoming a permanent feature. The program fits into the retail giant’s objective of becoming circular and climate-positive by 2030.

The Prada Group has teamed up with the Rebuild Foundation and Dorchester Industries, the design and manufacturing arm of Theaster Gates Studio, to create a three-year program investing in the development of designers of color. According to Women’s Wear Daily, the Dorchester Industries Experimental Design Lab will target fashion, furniture, industrial and graphic designers, offering financial support and creative opportunities through activations and workshops in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. The first cohort, composed of between eight and 15 designers, will be announced in October.

Behr Paint Company has announced its 2022 Color of the Year: Breezeway, a silvery-green shade with cool undertones that is inspired by sea glass and meant to evoke the idea of home as a safe haven. The full 20-piece Color Trends Palette places an emphasis on natural influences, sanctuary and flexible spaces, and debuts alongside Dynasty, the brand’s new combined paint and primer innovation.

For the latest product news, check out BOH’s new weekly digest of collection debuts, Product Preview.

Recommended Reading

One common appliance seemingly absent from the kitchens of wealthy homeowners? The refrigerator. For The New York Times, Caity Weaver implores readers to look closer, revealing that stainless steel items such as the fridge are often cleverly concealed by panels and cabinetry in many upscale homes—the latest phenomenon in a slew of changing kitchen-decorating habits.

As home demand remains strong in a tight market, buyers are snapping up bed-and-breakfasts and turning the properties into private residences, The Wall Street Journal reports. The renovation process includes a host of unusual considerations—from changing the locks to keep out old guests to condensing multiple bedrooms into one.

Between demolition and refurbishment, there’s a third option for dealing with older buildings that’s been gaining traction in recent years. According to The New York Times, cities like Milwaukee, Palo Alto, Portland and San Jose have recently adopted deconstruction ordinances, which require older structures to be disassembled for salvagable parts. Meanwhile, architects and academics are approaching the strategy from the other end of a building’s lifespan, examining how buildings can be designed for easier disassembly and reuse.

Homepage image: Breezeway, Behr’s 2022 Color of the Year | Courtesy of Behr

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