Finland now has a zero cabin! Meet Nolla: The cabin that was never there

Finland now has a zero cabin! Meet Nolla: The cabin that was never there

This summer, living with minimal emissions will be put to the test. Neste is building a prototype of a cabin that has a minimal environmental impact in terms of both carbon dioxide emissions and concrete impact on nature. The Nolla (= zero) cabin, designed by Finnish designer Robin Falck, is located just outside Helsinki city centre, on the Vallisaari island. The cabin has been built from sustainable materials and is designed for a simple lifestyle with minimal to no emissions, taking into account the surrounding nature in every respect.

5_nollaLocated on the idyllic island of Vallisaari in the Helsinki archipelago, the Nolla cabin encourages people to consider how modern solutions and innovations could enable sustainable cabin living. Vallisaari has been in a natural state for decades and is thus the perfect location for an urban cabin experience, located just a 20-minute boat ride away from the Helsinki market square.

The ecological and mobile Nolla cabin will be in Vallisaari until the end of September, demonstrating a lifestyle that generates minimal to no emissions.

Placing the compact and mobile cabin on its private lot does not require a construction permit and it has been designed to use building materials as effectively as possible. The cabin is the size of a small bedroom and can be assembled and transported without heavy machinery, leaving its environment nearly untouched. The Nolla cabin has been designed by Finnish designer Robin Falck, whose earlier design, Nido cabin, has been globally acknowledged.

7_nollaThe Nolla cabin introduces solutions, which enable minimising cabin life emissions remarkably. The energy supply of the cabin is entirely renewable; electricity is generated by solar panels, while the Wallas stove, reserved for cooking and heating, runs entirely on Neste MY Renewable Diesel, made 100% from waste and residue. The Aava Lines raft operating between Helsinki city centre and Vallisaari will also run on Neste MY Renewable diesel that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90%.

“With the Nolla cabin, we want to offer visitors the possibility to experience modern cabin life in the realm of nature, with minimal emissions. An ecological lifestyle does not only require giving up unsustainable commodities, but also discovering modern, sustainable solutions that can be used instead. This has been an essential part of the design process”, says Falck.

“Finns are known for spending time at their beloved summer houses. We wanted to explore sustainable solutions that could enable cabin life with minimal emissions. Shared and circular economy, as well as new technologies and innovations have made it possible to enjoy our cabins without harming or burdening the environment. Some of the solutions that have been used at the Nolla cabin are perfectly adaptable at any cabin”, says Sirpa Tuomi, Marketing Director at Neste.

The Nolla cabin is executed in collaboration with Fortum, Wallas and Stockmann and is part of the Journey to Zero project by Neste, which explores new ideas and aims to steer the world towards a cleaner future with fewer emissions.

The #nolla cabin in a nutshell

1_nollaDesigner: Robin Falck

Dimensions: Height 4m, width 3.75m

Materials: Main material plywood, the floor has been coated with a non-toxic, water-soluble varnish

Energy supply: Fortum solar panels

Heating: Fortum solar panels, Wallas, Neste MY Renewable Diesel

Weight: 900 kg

Decor: Stockmann Sustainable Collection

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The Nolla cabin by Neste

Hollyhock House: Frank Lloyd Wright in Los Angeles

Hollyhock House: Frank Lloyd Wright in Los Angeles

Hollyhock House in the East Hollywood, Los Angeles, built from 1919 to 1921, was one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s earliest commissions, and his second in California.

It was built for American oil heiress, Aline Barnsdall, who never actually lived in it. The building is now the centerpiece of the city’s Barnsdall Art Park.

It was donated to the City of Los Angeles in 1927. The city recently spent five million dollars restoring it.

As with many of Wright’s residences, it has an “introverted” exterior with small windows, and is not easy to decode from the outside. The house is arranged around a central courtyard with one side open to form a kind of theatrical stage and a complex system of split levels, steps and roof terraces around that courtyard. The design features exterior walls that are tilted back at 85 degrees (which gives it a “Mayan” appearance, sometimes referred to as the Mayan Revival style), leaded art glass in the windows, a grand fireplace with a large abstract bas-relief, and a moat.

The hollyhock plant common in the area is used as a central theme to the design. An interesting feature is the glass corners, an early Wright idea later used at Fallingwater.

Like many houses designed by Wright, it proved to be better as an aesthetic work than as a livable dwelling. Water tended to flow over the central lawn and into the living room, and the flat roof terraces were conceived without an understanding of Los Angeles’ rains. The cantilevered concrete also has not stood up well to the area’s earthquakes.

Interested in finding out more about LA’s archiecture? Watch our Metropolis Los Angeles episode.

10-year anniversary of the Kalka-Shimla Railway

10-year anniversary of the Kalka-Shimla Railway

This week marks the 10-year anniversary of UNESCO adding the Kalka–Shimla railway to the mountain railways of India World Heritage Site. In this anniversary year, the narrow-gauge railway located in North India – which traverses a mostly mountainous route from Kalka to the former British Raj hill station of Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) – is in the spotlight as one of the worlds’ ‘must travel aboard’ heritage lines.

Throughout the 1900’s Shimla, former headquarters for the British Army, established itself as the popular summer capital for English gentry escaping the hot weather of the plains. The journey along the 59-mile railroad, completed in 1903, is as spectacular to travel today as it was in the early years.

With 107 tunnels, 864 bridges and 919 curves the journey begins at 656 metres climbing to peak elevation of 2,076 metres at a gradient of 1:33 (3%). Emerging from the longest tunnel on the line, the Barog Tunnel (no.33) at 1,144m, Shimla-bound adventurers are treated to the magnificent views of the Himalayan mountains. The tunnel is also acclaimed to the be the straightest in the world.

More Information

Great Rail Journeys
Great Rail Journeys Ltd. has an unrivalled knowledge and understanding of holidays by rail, with more than 40 years of experience in organising them. The company uses more than 300 highly experienced Tour Managers to lead 1,100 group departures a year to destinations worldwide.

main image: courtesy of Three Little Birds PR

Want more? Join Zay Harding as he takes on an epic journey across one of the world’s biggest railway networks in our episode ‘Tough Trucks: India’s Independence Railroads’.

Rip off rates: How to lose money travelling

Rip off rates: How to lose money travelling

Travellers beware… If you are departing or arriving at airports in the United Kingdom, you are exchanging your currency at rates that are almost 30 per cent below the market rates.

To gauge the real rate, take the medium rate between the buy and sell rates on the money changer’s airport screens. For example, the sell rate for euros below is advertised at 90 British pence and the buy rate at 1.41. That’s a huge difference. The real rate is half way between the two: approximately 1.15.

With some currencies the difference between buy and sell rates can be staggering. When we checked, Moroccan dirhams were selling for 6.87 to the pound but bought for less than half that: 15.74 dirhams to the pound. The real rate is approximately 12 dirhams to the British pound.

The money changers say the margins are due to the fees they need to pay to airport operators, but changing money at airports has long been a very profitable venture for these operators and a big losing one for the traveller.

Airport money changers can offer less rip off rates in some countries. But it’s always best to change your cash at a bank before you go, if you like arriving in a foreign place with cash in your pocket.

Words by Ian Cross

France’s Chaîne des Puys joins the UNESCO World Heritage List

France's Chaîne des Puys joins the UNESCO World Heritage List

On Monday 2 July 2018, the World Heritage Committee inscribed the Chaîne des Puys, a group of 80 dormant volcanoes, on the UNESCO World Heritage List – making it the first natural site in mainland France to be listed. This unique landscape now joins sites such as the Grand Canyon, the Okavango Delta, Kilimanjaro and the Great Barrier Reef on this prestigious list.

The alignment of the Chaîne des Puys volcanoes and the Limagne fault provides evidence for a large-scale process which has fashioned the Earth’s surface continental break-up. A natural showcase, the site demonstrates how the Earth’s crust was faulted and underwent collapse, allowing magma to rise up and the surface to be significantly uplifted.

Backed by the government, this inscription is the culmination of a long process initiated 11 years ago by the president of the Puy-de-Dôme department, Jean-Yves Gouttebel. The nomination is deeply rooted in the local territory, drawing on local authorities, businesses, associations and inhabitants to further the recognition and preservation of this exceptional natural heritage. The dossier was compiled by the departmental council of the Puy-de-Dôme, in close collaboration with local universities for the scientific component, and the Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Park for that of the management. This international recognition follows more than 40 years work of protection and management of the site.

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UNESCO

World’s first open air planetarium debuts in Canada

World's first open air planetarium debuts in Canada

National Geographic and the award-winning Au Diable Vert ‘Station de Montagne’ outdoor resort in Glen Sutton in the Eastern Townships of the Canadian province of Québec, have joined together to present the world’s first open air augmented reality planetarium, the ‘National Geographic ObservEtoiles’. This innovative new activity, that combines the technology of several cutting-edge companies from around the globe, will be officially launched to the public on 23 June 2018.

A world first, made in Quebec and signed by National Geographic

Recently certified as a Canadian Dark Sky Preserve by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC), Au Diable Vert Station de Montagne and National Geographic present a truly unique experience. National Geographic ObservEtoiles is an open air astronomy show combining science and education. Perched at over 1,000 feet of altitude with heated stadium seats, this open air show takes place in a multilevel mountainside amphitheatre, specially designed for this purpose at Au Diable Vert in Glen Sutton.

Guests will be able to witness the night sky take on another dimension, as high definition digital overlays of 17th century illustrations align with the stars and planets. For the first time anywhere in the world, innovative technology in the form of an augmented reality headset will enable visitors to unlock the mysteries of the night sky! Narrated by talented astronomers, each night’s presentation will be tailored to the ever changing beauty of space. One of the key collaborators in developing this experience is the National Geographic astronomy expert, Andrew Fazekas (also known as the ‘Night Sky Guy’) who will be creating content for this Quebec-made and Quebec-based experience.

A unique and innovative concept

Jeremy Fontana, co-owner of Au Diable Vert, well known for creating unique projects such as the VeloVolant canopy cycle activity, the world’s highest suspended bicycle ride at over 1,000 feet high, developed the concept and joined forces with leading technology partners to bring the National Geographic ObservEtoiles to life. To name a few, he called upon the expertise of Escapist Games developers and the developers of the Star Chart application (widely used by astronomers around the world), Aryzon from the Netherlands to create the custom AR headset, as well as National Geographic, in order to present the world’s first open air augmented reality planetarium.

About the National Geographic ObservEtoiles

Thanks to its heated seats, this open air planetarium will be running shows for nine months of the year, immersing up to 184 guests in a time of astronomical discovery. This immersive experience will be enhanced by a high-performance sound system and theatrical lighting. The activity is made possible through the use of an application running on a smartphone and an augmented reality headset. The headset enables the viewer to see digital overlays of the sky, with the names of the stars and more, while seeing the actual sky in real-time. It will also be possible to augment the experience by adding animations and going on a tour of the solar system. Even cloudy weather will not keep the show from running, as the projection made by the smartphone will compensate for any clouds. At the end of the night, guests can take home their augmented reality headsets, so they can relive the experience anywhere in the world, by downloading the application on their own smartphones (download and headset included in the price of the activity).

National Geographic ObservEtoiles would like to thank the Quebec Ministry of Tourism and Eastern Townships tourism for their generous financial assistance, without which this project would not have been possible. Home to 22 regions, Québec is Canada’s largest province. Last year the province’s tourism body, recognised under the brand QuébecOriginal, launched ‘14 Experiences of Québec’ a new tourism strategy which aims to highlight what makes Québec such an original destination. Home to vast protected areas including 28 national parks, Quebec’s forests, mountain ranges, rivers and lakes make the Great Outdoors one of its key signature experiences. As a year-round adventure playground Québec offers an array of activities for visitors to experience its stunning lakes, rivers, forests and wilderness first hand. Visitors are therefore invited to embrace the great outdoors, and the new National Geographic ObservEtoiles experience joins a range of interactive light shows available across the province which help bring the great outdoors to life thanks to the creativity of Québecers and their expertise recognised worldwide in the fields of multimedia and technology.

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Quebec Original

National Geographic

The world’s best airports in 2018

The world's best airports in 2018

Singapore Changi Airport has been named as the World’s Best Airport by air travellers for the sixth consecutive year at the 2018 Skytrax World Airport Awards, held at Passenger Terminal EXPO in Stockholm, Sweden. This is the first time in the history of the awards that an airport has won this prestige title for six consecutive years.

See the rest of the results below.

The World’s Top 10 Airports

1     Singapore Changi
2     Incheon
3     Tokyo Haneda
4     Hong Kong
5     Doha Hamad
6     Munich
7     Centrair Nagoya
8     London Heathrow
9     Zurich
10    Frankfurt

The World’s Cleanest Airports

1    Tokyo Haneda
2    Centrair Nagoya
3    Incheon
4    Taiwan Taoyuan
5    Singapore Changi
6    Tokyo Narita
7    Hong Kong
8    Zurich
9    Doha Hamad
10   Helsinki

The World’s Most Improved Airports

1    Rome Fiumicino
2    Perth
3    Calgary
4    Taiwan Taoyuan
5    Athens
6    Nadi
7    Montréal
8    Moscow Sheremetyevo
9    Houston Intercontinental
10   Manila

The World’s Best Airport Terminals

1    London Heathrow – T2
2    Munich – T2
3    Singapore Changi – T3
4    London Heathrow – T5
5    Tokyo Haneda – Int’l
6    Madrid – T4
7    Dubai – T3
8    Paris CDG – T2-M
9    Mumbai – T2
10   Baku Heydar Aliyev Airport – T1

The World’s Best Domestic Airports

1    Tokyo Haneda
2    Shanghai Hongqiao
3    Tianjin
4    Kagoshima
5    Osaka Itami
6    Ordos
7    Changsha
8    Kumamoto
9    Shenyang
10   Hohhot

The World’s Best Airport Hotels

1    Crowne Plaza Changi
2    Pullman Guangzhou Airport
3    Hilton Munich Airport
4    Fairmont Vancouver Airport
5    Sofitel London Heathrow
6    Hong Kong Sky City Marriott
7    Langham Place Beijing
8    Regal Airport Hong Kong
9    Sheraton Amsterdam Airport
10   Hilton Frankfurt Airport

The World’s Best Airport Staff Service

1    Incheon
2    Tokyo Haneda
3    Taiwan Taoyuan
4    Centrair Nagoya
5    Singapore Changi
6    Hong Kong
7    Kansai
8    Narita
9    Amsterdam
10   Vienna

The World’s Best Airports for Dining

1    Hong Kong
2    Singapore Changi
3    Incheon
4    Tokyo Narita
5    Doha Hamad
6    Munich
7    Houston Intercontinental
8    Vienna
9    London Heathrow
10   Rome Fiumicino

The World’s Best Regional Airports

1    Centrair Nagoya
2    Hamburg
3    Durban
4    London City
5    Denver
6    Dusseldorf
7    Cologne / Bonn
8    Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky
9    Haikou
10   Xi’an

The World’s Best Airport Shopping

1    London Heathrow
2    Singapore Changi
3    Hong Kong
4    Doha Hamad
5    Amsterdam
6    Incheon
7    Dubai
8    Rome Fiumicino
9    Paris CDG
10   Frankfurt

The World’s Best Airport Security Processing

1    Tokyo Narita
2    Centrair Nagoya
3    Copenhagen
4    Taiwan Taoyuan
5    Tokyo Haneda
6    Singapore Changi
7    Zurich
8    Incheon
9    Hong Kong
10   Amsterdam

The World’s Best Airport Baggage Delivery

1    Kansai
2    Tokyo Haneda
3    Incheon
4    Taiwan Taoyuan
5    Tokyo Narita
6    Zurich
7    Singapore Changi
8    Centrair Nagoya
9    Munich
10   Copenhagen

The World’s Best Airport Immigration

1    Taiwan Taoyuan
2    Centrair Nagoya
3    Hong Kong
4    Copenhagen
5    Helsinki
6    Tokyo Haneda
7    Zurich
8    Singapore Changi
9    Incheon
10   Tokyo Narita

The World’s Best Transit Airport

1    Hong Kong
2    Singapore Changi
3    Incheon
4    Munich
5    Taiwan Taoyuan
6    Doha Hamad
7    Tokyo Haneda
8    Amsterdam
9    Narita
10   Frankfurt

The World’s Best Airport Leisure Amenities

1    Singapore Changi
2    Incheon
3    Doha Hamad
4    Amsterdam
5    Hong Kong
6    Munich
7    Taiwan Taoyuan
8    Zurich
9    Frankfurt
10   Centrair Nagoya

The World’s Best Low-Cost Airline Terminals

1    Kansai – T2
2    Tokyo Narita – T3
3    Melbourne – T4
4    Kuala Lumpur – KLIA2
5    London Stansted
6    Brussels Charleroi
7    East Midlands
8    Luton
9    Berlin Schönefeld
10   Frankfurt-Hahn

More Information

World Airport Awards

Singapore Airlines to launch the world’s new longest flight

Singapore Airlines to launch the world’s new longest flight

Singapore Airlines has announced that it is preparing to launch a 19-hour flight travelling from Singapore to New York… making it longest in the world!

The flight will beat out fellow contenders, currently held by Qatar Airways for its Auckland to Doha route which travels 14,536 kilometres and takes 18 hours, followed by Qantas’ Perth to London route, which flies 14,499 kilometres and takes just over 17 hours.

Airbus, the maker of the A350 XWB, the ultra-long-range plane that will be used on the route, announced that the aircraft had recently successfully completed its first flights. The company says that the plane will enter service with Singapore Airlines by the end of 2018.

Aurora Station: World’s first luxury space hotel to debut in 2022

Aurora Station: World's first luxury space hotel to debut in 2022

The first-ever luxury space hotel was introduced during the Space 2.0 Summit in San Jose, California. Named after the magical light phenomenon that illuminates the Earth’s polar skies, Aurora Station is being developed by Orion Span and the company’s team of space industry veterans, who have over 140 years of human space experience.

The first fully modular space station to ever debut, Aurora Station will operate as the first luxury hotel in space. The exclusive hotel will host six people at a time – including two crew members. Space travellers will enjoy a completely authentic, once-in-a-lifetime astronaut experience with extraordinary adventure during their 12-day journey, starting at $9.5 million per person. Deposits are now being accepted for a future stay on Aurora Station, which is slated to launch in late 2021 and host its first guests in 2022. The fully refundable deposit is $80,000 per person.

“We developed Aurora Station to provide a turnkey destination in space. Upon launch, Aurora Station goes into service immediately, bringing travellers into space quicker and at a lower price point than ever seen before, while still providing an unforgettable experience,” said Frank Bunger, chief executive officer and founder of Orion Span. “Orion Span has additionally taken what was historically a 24-month training regimen to prepare travellers to visit a space station and streamlined it to three months, at a fraction of the cost. Our goal is to make space accessible to all, by continuing to drive greater value at lower cost.”

During their stay on Aurora Station, travellers will enjoy the exhilaration of zero gravity and fly freely throughout Aurora Station, gaze at the northern and southern aurora through the many windows, soar over their hometowns, take part in research experiments such as growing food while in orbit (which they can take home with them as the ultimate souvenir), revel in a virtual reality experience on the holodeck, and stay in touch or live stream with their loved ones back home via high-speed wireless Internet access. While in space, Aurora Station guests will soar 200 miles above the Earth’s surface in Low Earth Orbit, or LEO, where they will find stunning views of the Earth. The hotel will orbit Earth every 90 minutes, meaning those aboard will see an average of 16 sunrises and sunsets every 24 hours. On return to Earth, guests will be treated to a hero’s welcome home.

Prior to take-off, those set to travel on Aurora Station will enjoy a three-month Orion Span Astronaut Certification (OSAC). Phase one of the certification program is done online, making space travel easier than ever. The next portion will be completed in-person at Orion Span’s state-of-the-art training facility in Houston, Texas. The final certification is completed during a traveller’s stay on Aurora Station.

“Aurora Station is incredibly versatile and has multiple uses beyond serving as a hotel,” Bunger added. “We will offer full charters to space agencies who are looking to achieve human spaceflight in orbit for a fraction of the cost – and only pay for what they use. We will support zero gravity research, as well as in space manufacturing. Our architecture is such that we can easily add capacity, enabling us to grow with market demand like a city growing skyward on Earth. We will later sell dedicated modules as the world’s first condominiums in space. Future Aurora owners can live in, visit, or sublease their space condo. This is an exciting frontier and Orion Span is proud to pave the way.”

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Orion Span

The Hive comes to Kew Gardens

The Hive comes to Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens in London is home to a multi-sensory architectural installation known as The Hive, which transforms the life inside a beehive into a sound and light show for visitors to enjoy.

The Hive, Kew Gardens, LondonThe activity of the bees – who communicate through vibrations – is monitored inside a real hive, also situated at Kew, by a vibration sensor known as an accelerometer. These vibrations are sent in real time to the man-made Hive which is located in the middle of a wildflower meadow at the Royal Botanic Gardens.

The structure contains more than 1000 led lights which are powered on and off in seemingly random patterns by the real life vibrational activity of the bees inside the real hive.

The soundscape at The Hive is composed of bee sounds and sounds from a pre-recorded library. Signals from the real beehive trigger noise gates at particular thresholds, activating the sounds.

The 17-metre, 40 ton structure, made up of 170,000 steel and aluminium parts, is a collaboration between artist Wolfgang Buttress and designer and engineer Tristan Simmonds.

img_0364The multi award-winning experience was inspired by scientific research into the health of honeybees. It is a visual symbol of the pollinators’ role in feeding the planet and the challenges facing bees today.

The installation arrived at Kew Gardens after a spectacular run as the centrepiece of the gold medal winning UK Pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo UK Trade and Investment.

More Information

Kew Gardens Official Website

Interested in visiting Kew Gardens? Check out our Slow TV episode Kew Gardens: Flora from around the world.