Ecobuild - A Scavenger’s Tale

Guest blogger Cany Ash of Ash Sakula reports

Sample of textile set into GRP roofing for Canning Town Caravanserai

Something of a hunter-gatherer instinct kicks when you walk into Ecobuild and are surrounded by so many potentially useful components. I have to confess that until this week, I was an Ecobuild virgin.   In the past Ecobuild came and went like the seasons and was luckily not something I had to do. The new eco-marketing industry is full of mountebanks which come in the form of awkwardly repackaged badly designed products. I have long been in Nick Grant’s eco minimalist camp: if in doubt, leave it out. Not that we haven’t been on the rock face tunneling for routes to install MVHR clobber in both our new build housing and retrofit projects, but we generally find new products  through head down surfing rather than trade shows. BUT I am a convert! It is good to see real stuff…

Already on the train I fell into a deep timber conversation with Guntis Rubins of the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia who suggested that the innovative wood material DendroLight was a cool patented product -  a sandwich with a satisfying edge showing how half the wood is missing…like the old door blanks with the honeycomb cardboard, but much stronger. Apparently there is very little glue in it, but it is sandwiched between two layers of 4mm MDF.

Luckily upon arrival, I immediately ran into Irena Bauman who sent me off on the right track: timber and natural products. I found the Bluwood house and after a bit of bargaining got the stand for our 5-year-long pop-up market in a garden, the ‘new trading post in East London’  the Canning Town Caravanserai.  That alone was worth the trip. Bluwood is a coating that has come from Canada and is only blue so you know what has been coated to protect timber from the weather fire and termites. The sympathetic stand reminded me of Blue (Da Ba Dee) by Eiffel65, a shuffle song I love on my bike. They can do the same stuff using a different vegetable dye and you can also have it orange!

Bluwood coating

Bluwood's Ecobuild stand to be reused at Canning Town Caravanserai

Was nice to see Markus Becker next to a giant poster of our Adnams shop, great product if you want to avoid aluminium in large glass facades.

But the best of the bestest at Ecobuild was Ray Khan, commercial director of Humbleside Danelaw, bringing me a GRP roofing sample. Following some chats we’ve had over the last few months, he has managed to have  a beautiful textile set into a gel coat on his GRP roofing. We love him because he is the first and best sponsor so far on Canning Town Caravanserai and because he loves experimenting with his material. He’s got the thickness of resin down to make this tough material as light and smart and eco friendly as possible and keeps trying. We are going to build a palace of floating multicultural textiles with his continued support.

Ecobuild is not a bad place to confront what you do as an architect - I’ll be back.

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One Response to “Ecobuild - A Scavenger’s Tale”

  1. I’m glad you like our rooflight with a textile core, just to correct a couple of things. The rooflight has the textile sandwiched between two layers of glass reinforcement, so that it becomes an integral part of the assembly and not just under the gel coat. The company name is Hambleside Danelaw and we have always had a name for innovation in grp. I am the Director of Quality and Environmental Standards, just so that we do not upset our Commercial Director.

    None of which detracts from the beauty of the rooflight with the sun shining through it.

    Good luck with the Caravanserai. We are proud to be associated with a project that brings the local community together to enjoy the spaces in which we live, work and play. For those of you who have not seen it, it is well worth a look or better still drop in and lend a hand.

    April Fools will be a great event if you are in the area or looking for something to do over the weekend.

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