All images courtesy Conran Octopus
In ancient Greek, the term for house is ecos. The history of home in the most primordial sense harks back to a communion with nature, a symbiotic relationship of give and take reminiscent of words like "ecology" and "ecosphere." Prolific designer Terence Conran's Eco House Book, the fifth installment of his House Book series, moves beyond the tangible presentations of wood and masonry, elaborating on the deeper implications of man's relationship with nature.
With doomsday fears and global warming worries permeating mainstream culture, one cannot deny the looming threat of mass-consumption. How many times must we watch that polar bear stand alone on a melting oceanic iceberg as if it was just waiting to die? Conran's beautifully organized piece challenges the reader to move beyond the path of least resistance. Each page is aesthetically poignant and artistically rendered while also proving didactic and insightful.
The author highlights the devastating effects of wasteful living, introducing a detrimental and depressing study of plastic pollution in Hawaii at the onset of the piece. Yet Conran refuses to chastise, rather, he uses the book as a source of inspiration. Lush images of timbered rooms bourgeoning with natural light seem to illustrate this harmonious possibility of a mutual understanding between humans and nature. Minimalist homes accent pristine forests unobtrusively, slightly elevated on narrow supports to minimize site disruption. Conran elaborates on a bevy of topics ranging from rooftop turbine do’s and don'ts to the fundamentals of rainwater cisterns. Who knew seagrass could double as wallpaper?
Replete with lifelong information, this comprehensive collection of architectural knowledge does more than teach, it reminds us that it's never too late to live wisely.
Eco House Book is available through Octopus Publishing Group
Written by Gina Magnuson