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Prefabulous at CA Boom

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by Worldchanging LA blogger, Vanessa Rutter:

The words "green" and "sustainable" were popping up all over the CA Boom 4: The West Coast Independent Design Show a few weekends ago. Environmental consciousness seemed to be an overriding theme of many of the exhibitors, including interior designers Kelly Van Patter and epOxybOx, furniture designers Kalon Studios and Viesso, cabinetry designers Valcucine solar representatives Ready Solar, California Solar, and Solar Electrical Systems and a modern parenting company ducduc.

I found out about some interesting new materials, including kirei board, which is made with post-harvest stalks of the Sorghum plant. It's a strong, lightweight, and non-toxic product that can be used for flooring, furniture, cabinetry, and wall covering and qualifies for LEED credit for environmentally-friendly construction.

Prefab architecture is hot right now, and the Prefab Zone at CA Boom was no exception. A number of local architects -- including Kithaus, LivingHomes, Marmol Radziner, Office of Mobile Design and Sander Architects -- were representing their pre-fabulousness.

A few panels discussed the current development and future possibilities of prefab construction during which I learned that prefab does not mean "off the shelf" design. Those looking to build a prefab home should expect approximately a 1-year process before they can move in, and a price tag of anywhere from $130-325 a square foot. Prefab construction has a lot of environmental benefits compared to tradition stick frame construction. These benefits are largely tied to the fact that prefab homes are built in a factory with the centralization of trades, reducing multiple trips to a construction site. Renewable and recycled materials are also often emphasized in construction of these modern and stylish living spaces.

Even with all of this green-speak floating about, I was shocked to discover that CA Boom did not have recycling collection in place. Garbage cans were overflowing with empty water bottles, soda cans, brochures and magazines that should have been recycled. Another thing that I found strange was that anyone who was not an exhibitor or press wore a name tag that said "CONSUMER." This was just a little overwhelming to witness a sea of people labeled as such. But overall, CA Boom 4 housed a great collection of environmentally conscious designers and consumers, and I hope that the event itself steps up to this level of environmental sensitivity in the coming year.

[Photos by green LA girl]

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