Renewable Cat Shelves, Bark Chairs and Stella McCartney's Wet T-Shirt Gym Wear


Just what on earth is going on with earth-friendly products?

In the grand tradition of greenwashing, we have possibly the most useless unipurpose eco widget yet to be discovered: the bamboo wall shelf…for your cat. (via Re-Nest)

It’s true that cats are the quintessential friends in high places, and maybe I’m just bitter because my double-stuff Maine Coon – at 20 pounds – would slip off that shelf faster than cheese on a cucumber. But it’s also true that if you try to force a cat to do anything, she’ll do exactly the opposite. I buy her a scratching post, she takes up a vicious romance with my new armchair. I invest in catnip, she plays fetch with the house plants. I guess I’m glad that this shelf is made from renewable bamboo, but I didn’t realize cats had a need for wall shelves. However have they managed?


Moving along, if I catch anyone wearing this creation by Stella McCartney, I will immediately drop everything and become a fashion designer. My debut piece will be made from Ziploc baggies – recycled, obviously – and will feature a yoga-friendly .5″ inseam and attached triple-layer poncho for those inevitable Stairmaster section downpours. (Monogrammed dumbbell sleeves will be available for an additional fee.) How is this snout-capped wet-t-shirt winner moving anywhere, let alone down the runway? Honestly, I’m all for Stella. I love the recycled laptop case and I was the first in line for her skinny Adidas running slippers years ago and we basically can’t get enough of her around this place. But Stella. Not even supermodels have the legs to pull off those shorts. They need to stay in the 80s where they belong (the shorts, not the supermodels). And that…blouson. Yes, it’s billowy, but does it wick?


Finally, it’s no exaggeration to say that in our mass-produced culture, humans have been disconnected from nature. Our food, our medicine, our entertainment, our offices, even our homes have been devoid of earthly elements and nurturing ingredients for decades. If it could be synthesized or sprayed or sterilized, it was. But then, the 21st century arrived and we all decided it was high time to reconnect with nature. You know, green things. And I’m not talking about irradiated spinach. It’s been inspiring and refreshing to see the return of sustainable, nature-inspired pieces in decor; the growing popularity of urban gardening; the increased demand for whole, organic foods.

Lest you be concerned that things are getting carried away: the bark chair above is not the hottest new chair. It’s functional art – a rather intellectual commentary on our desire to connect with nature and the corporate efforts to manipulate that desire (faux bois made from nonrenewable plastic available at a box store near you comes to mind). “Nature v2.01” by BoYoung Jung and Emmanuel Wolfs of DrawMeaSheep is “inspired from world’s debates on GMO products and eco-crisis on earth [and] explores struggling human relationships with nature and our desire for authenticity. … Nature, considered to be original to its core, is increasingly becoming an interface controlled by man. … Our product culture, on the other hand, makes it desirable to involve nature in the manufacturing process to convey authentic value in mass production. … it is likely that some day we might encounter square trees growing in rows.” The artists ask the question: can we manufacture such furniture and still call it nature? I think we can and plenty of genuine eco designers and retailers already are – in spite of the giant chain stores that aren’t and pretend to be – but what do you think?

Chair photo credit: A. Decremer