• She creates “Pampshades”–lighting fixtures made from real French baguettes. The name is a play on the Japanese word for bread–“pan.”

    “I think loaves are really cute,” Morita explained. “I love their round curves. I wanted a bread display in my room so I could admire it all the time. That’s how I came up with this shape.”

    She had the inspiration when she was a junior majoring in prints at the Kyoto City University of Arts.

    One day, Morita was in the studio at her school mulling over an art project. She was pulling out and nibbling on the soft parts of a baguette that she had brought with her from the bakery where she worked part time.

    Morita loved bread so much that she would take home all the leftover bread from the shop and didn’t mind eating it for her daily three meals. When she had eaten her baguette down to a hollow “shell,” on a whim, she held it up toward the sunlight that was streaming in.

    Instantly, her loaf was transformed into a beaming planet. The baguette caught the light and became an image that might have been captured with a high-powered astrophotography camera.

    “Wow! It’s so beautiful.” She tried placing an incandescent light bulb inside the bread. The effect was “Nice!”

    But it did not last long, as the bread became scorched by the heat. But Morita now knew what she wanted. She continued to work on her unfinished work of art, off and on, during her free time. It was a long process of trial and error.

    Working on some 300 prototypes, Morita perfected her Pampshade. First she hollowed out a baguette made from flour, water and salt. The shell was thoroughly dried out, and she applied a resin coating to prevent mildew. She managed to eliminate the scorching problem by switching to LED bulbs. She completed the baguette-cum-lampshade in January.

    It started as a hobby, but people began noticing her work at a crafts fair. Now there are some shops in Kyoto that carry Morita’s unique lighting fixtures, and she has quite a few fans.

    “I hope to keep on doing this and keep on having fun,” said Morita. Her motto is to never waste her material. She eats up all the bread that she hollows out. She uses the bread to make crunchy croutons, which she sprinkles on soup and lines a baking pan with to make pizza. As long as her life is filled with bread, Morita is in heaven.

    Codarus, a manufacturer’s rep group in the fine home furnishings, lighting and linens categories, has added Barbara Cosgrove, Dash & Albert, Pine Cone Hill, and Tara Shaw Maison to its Southeast territory.

    “We are excited to represent such inspiring designers as Annie Selke, Barbara Cosgrove, and Tara Shaw in the southeast,” said Cody Hutcheson, co-principal of Codarus. “These three women have exquisite taste which is reflected in the products they produce.”

    Barbara Cosgrove Lamps is a lighting manufacturer specializing in nouveau-traditional lamps. Cosgrove draws inspiration from her love of the arts and background in fashion illustration and sculpture.

    Annie Selke brings a modern look to distinctly American decorative style with Dash & Albert Rug Company, Pine Cone Hill and Annie Selke Home.

    Recognizing a demand for one-of-a-kind European furnishings, Tara Shaw founded began a reproduction line titled Tara Shaw Maison. The Tara Shaw Maison line features authentic finishes and hand-carving and is adding new categories including textiles, lighting, accessories, tabletop, bath and bed, wall art and flooring.


  • We are fortunate to live in a country that offers us a multitude of natural resources yet to be harnessed for their entire potential. Arguably, the most important of these, with reference to the present atrocious energy crisis and the intensifying effects of climate change, are the renewable sources of energy. It is imperative that not only the government but also private entrepreneurs take the initiative of harnessing renewable energy sources.

    The aim should not only be to close the ever widening gap between energy production and need in the country, but also to introduce a new market for sustainable ways of increasing consumption through low emissions development. The Pakistan Council for Renewable Energy (PCRET) has already undertaken some groundbreaking work in this regard by researching the potential of renewable sources of energy for commercial and personal use through localised design and development principles.

    In the last few years, PCRET has designed and developed 10 solar dryers for drying of dates, a solar hybrid system for dehydration of apricot on commercial scale and more than 500 solar cookers handed over to NGOs for dissemination and popularisation.

    A commendable initiative taken by the CDA is giving a local manufacturer the approval to install solar-powered lampposts along the strip of Jinnah Avenue in Blue Area, Islamabad, with no cost to the city exchequer. The manufacture, installation and maintenance costs are to be borne by the providing company, which will recover its project cost by renting out advertising space on the lampposts.

    The Karachi administrator has also announced that the city will utilise solar power for lighting in public places. Solar PV technology, coupled with LED lights, has a high potential for saving significant amounts of energy and reducing the burden on the environment by reducing carbon emissions and slowing the rate of deforestation associated with fuel wood usage in rural areas.

    While these products can help urban users cut down on their energy bills and ensure sustainable and cheap energy sources, among the vast off-grid rural populations, these products can transform the way people live by providing them with street lighting for security, commercial activity and linking them to the world through electronic media. Although the government has a key role to play in facilitating the development of such a market for renewable energy products, local private entrepreneurs have an excellent opportunity to harness what are already common and commercially viable products in a number of developing countries.

    Solar-powered lights, heating systems and cooling units offer viable alternatives to current fossil fuel burning equipment for household energy needs. Importing assembly kits and setting up a small-scale assembly plant for these products in secondary towns and cities offers the potential for becoming a successful social enterprise, utilising the triple bottom line goals philosophy by targeting the planet, people and profits. A number of NGOs are already working in numerous regions across the country to help create awareness and build capacity for replication of energy efficient and sustainable sources of lighting, heating and cooking technologies.

    As countries across the world introduce policies to encourage these developments, we must step up to introduce and encourage these products, which can offer relief and an improved quality of life to millions across the country.


  • led light 02.05.2012 No Comments

    Ford enthusiasts are now one step closer to getting their hands on the Blue Oval’s new Focus ST. The hot hatch has now been given a starting price tag of $24,495, after a $795 destination charge.

    Ford has also attached official power figures to its latest performance offering: the 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injected EcoBoost I-4 will sent a grand total of 252 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque to its front wheels. As befitting a performance car, the only available transmission offered is a six-speed manual. Since the Focus ST is appealing to fans of European-style performance, it comes as no surprise that the ST is offered in five-door hatchback form only.

    That $24,495 base price nets buyers things like stiffer suspension unique to the ST, sport seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel, aluminum pedals, 18-inch Y-spoke alloy wheels, a larger rear spoiler, gaping piano-black grille, unique ST badging inside and out, keyless entry with pushbutton start, and Ford’s Sync infotainment system. Two option packages are available on the 2013 Focus ST: ST2 adds a Sony audio system, eight-inch touchscreen, dual-zone automatic climate control, satellite and HD radio, and Recaro partial-leather sport seats – all for an additional $2385. Fully kitting out a Focus ST takes the addition of the $4435 ST3 package, which includes all the equipment from the ST2 package as well as HID headlamps with LED running lights and cornering lamps, interior ambient lighting, heated exterior mirrors, a navigation system, a rear armrest, and front overhead console. Equipped with the ST3 packaged, the 2013 Focus ST tops out at $29,425.

    There are six exterior color options for the 2013 Ford Focus ST, including the loud tangerine scream orange shown here that comes with a $495 premium. Tuxedo black, performance blue, race red, oxford white, and ingot silver are all offered at no extra charge. Inside, color options vary depending on what packages are chosen – the standard interior is charcoal-black cloth with grey inserts. Step up to the ST2 package, and the Recaro chairs can be wrapped in either smoke storm (dark grey), charcoal black with performance blue accented, or charcoal black with tangerine scream accented partial two-tone leather. ST3 models receive charcoal black full-leather seats.

    The first 1000 Focus ST buyers who order between now and August 20 will also get a GoPro HD Hero2 Motorsports Edition camera pack when they take delivery of the car. Ford’s engineers took a group of pre-production 2013 Focus STs out for an engineering run and filmed their drive using the GoPro camera – check out the video below.

    Ford has yet to announce when exactly later this year buyers will be able to take delivery of their 2013 Focus STs, but the hot hatch is available to order at Ford dealerships starting today.


  • The Americans’ nightmare began 25 months ago when they were seized by Iranian border guards as they hiked back from a well-known spot near Iran’s poorly defined border with Iraqi Kurdistan.

    With them was Ms Shourd, who was released last September on $500,000 bail, also paid by Oman, after 410 days in solitary confinement.

    Mr Bauer and Mr Fattal were sentenced last month by a Revolutionary Court to eight years of imprisonment for espionage and illegal entry. No evidence against them has ever been made public and their families and Washington have derided the charges as ridiculous.

    The two had languished for the past 25 months in a single small cell with one tiny window and fluorescent strip lights that were never switched off. They were allowed one visit from their mothers last year.

    Mr Bauer, a fluent Arabic speaker, is now set to marry Ms Shourd, 33, to whom he proposed in prison in May last year, using an engagement ring woven from his prison towel.

    The couple met in Damascus where she was teaching English to Iraqi refugees and where he worked as a freelance journalist.

    Mr Ahmadinejad had declared last week that he was granting Mr Fattal and Mr Bauer a “unilateral pardon” and promised they would be released “in a couple of days”.

    But his hardline rivals in the clerical-led judiciary attempted to humiliate him by declaring it was up to the courts to decide the prisoners’ fate. Domestically, however, the spat helped the Iranian president to expose his opponents in Iran’s clerical establishment as vindictive and reactionary while he appeared reasonable and accommodating, some analysts said.

    Hours before the two Americans were released, Alireza Molla-Soltani, 17, was hoisted from a crane and hanged for the fatal stabbing of Rouhollah Dadashi, twice winner of Iran’s “strongest man” competition, in mid-July.

    At his trial, the teenager said he had panicked and killed only in self-defence after the athlete had attacked him in the dark following a driving dispute. Two friends who were with him that night were sentenced to 80 lashes each.

    The Islamic republic has the highest rate of executions in the world, and its use of the death penalty has soared this year. Iran on Monday alone hanged 22 alleged drug traffickers, the latest of several mass executions.

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