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Boysen is a proponent of the environmental movement and has several green efforts. We invite you to join us by supporting Earth Hour 2018. What do you need to do? Just switch off your lights for an hour from 8:30 to 9:30 tomorrow night (March 24).

At Boysen, we continue with the green efforts which we started years ago. For us it goes beyond just lights out for an hour each year. To quote one of our engineers, “Reducing our environmental impact is something that runs through the veins of this company.”

Green Efforts by Boysen

Serious initiatives were started several years ago to develop paint products that help save the environment and that address climate change. We also streamlined manufacturing processes to make them sustainable. Here are the Boysen green initiatives.

Paint Innovations

KNOxOUT Air Cleaning Paint

To improve air quality especially in our cities, Boysen developed the first air cleaning paint in the world called KNOxOUT. The innovation is a collaboration with one of the biggest global chemical suppliers, using the CristalACTiV™ photocatalytic technology. It helps reduce air pollution (high NOx levels) found in built-up areas and indoor car parks.

Antibacterial Coatings Healthy Home and Virtuoso

Aside from KNOxOUT, Boysen manufactures two other antibacterial coatings, Healthy Home and Virtuoso, which contain an ingredient against bacteria, mildew and fungi.

Healthy Home is ideal for walls and ceilings in bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms. It’s also advisable to use in damp and humid areas where an added level of protection against microbes is desired. This is a good paint to use in residences, medical facilities, nursing homes, schools, day care facilities, and food commissaries.

Virtuoso is Boysen’s high-end architectural coating that gives an easy-to-clean matte, silky finish. The ingredient Teflon gives the paint its easy-to-clean feature.

Cool Shades

The roof paint Cool Shades, helps bring down energy costs. The paint utilizes the technology of infrared-reflecting pigments that repel infrared light before it turns into heat. Now that summer is almost here, maybe it’s time for you to consider painting your roofs with Cool Shades. Especially with the rising energy costs, this is an investment to bring down your energy bill. You save money while contributing to global efforts to save our planet.

Green Paint

Lead-Free Paint

Highly developed countries like the U.S. still use lead in paint manufacturing. This is also the case in developing countries to a greater extent. Quoting a recent (February 24, 2018) article in The Economist, “One of the most enthusiastic advocates for the introduction of a lead-paint ban in the Philippines was Boysen, the country’s biggest paint firm, which began to remove lead long before regulation was introduced.”

Boysen has been manufacturing lead-free paint since 2007.

Mercury-Free

Mercury is a toxic chemical that causes health risks, which is the reason why Boysen products are 100% mercury-free.

Just recently, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) and the watch group Ecowaste Coalition are looking into the provisions of the Minimata Convention on Mercury. We fully support this effort to create a healthy environment for all of us.

International Accreditation in Sustainability

Boysen Supports Earth Hour 2018 and Other Green Efforts

Sustainable Manufacturing Process

Boysen follows a closed production manufacturing system for minimal dust dispersal. Boysen also follows the country’s first-ever zero-generated waste water program. In addition, Boysen factories recycle 98% of its total waste. In 2013, the company earned the Dutch CBI Inspirational SME Award in 2013 for the category Planet.

Responsible Care Accreditation

The company is the first and only paint company in the Philippines accredited with Responsible Care. It is the global chemical industry’s initiative to improve an organization’s health, safety, and environmental performance.

Green Seal Compliance

We comply with the GS-11 standards for VOCs found in paints and coatings called the Green Seal because we want to help create a sustainable world in terms of the environment and health.  We promote cleaner air by manufacturing water-based coatings that are within the international VOC limits.

VOCs are volatile organic compounds that get released into the air as paint dries. Striving for a Green Seal compliance means that we want our paints to contain no cancer-causing agents, reproductive toxins, or heavy metals.

Other Efforts

Boysen Plastic Paint Buckets

While the contents of the Boysen plastic paint buckets are of high quality, so are the paint buckets themselves. They are made of 100% virgin plastic which means that they are 100% recyclable.

Lights Out at 8:30 pm on March 24, 2018

Boysen is aware that its green efforts benefits all of us.

Let’s do our bit for Mother Earth. Turn your lights off tomorrow night!

Built grandiosely in Italian Renaissance style in 1894, the Berlin Reichstag went up in smoke after being mysteriously burned in 1933.  It fell into ruins during World War II and was almost forgotten by history.

When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and it was decided a year after that the German capital will be transferred from Bonn to Berlin, it then became definite that the Reichstag building will be brought back to life.  

It was the prestigious architectural firm of Sir Norman Foster,  Foster + Partners who was commissioned to do the renovation.  In 1999, the new Reichstag building was unveiled to the public.

The building still retained its Classic architectural design but with a modern twist.  It is now topped with an ultra-modern Cupola (dome).  The Cupola is made of a metal dome and transparent glass. It has a sleek swirling walkway which offers an amazing 360 degree perspective of Berlin.   It also offers visitors an opportunity to take a glimpse of the Parliamentarians in action when the Bundestag is in session.

Another outstanding feature of the Reichstag is its use of passive design.  Passive design means it uses natural conditions like climate and daylight for its lighting, ventilation and temperature control.  The designers studied the route of the sun so its transparent glass dome brings in natural lighting into the space. An additional energy source is locally produced rapeseed oil as biofuel for the building’s energy needs.

The Berlin Reichstag is not only an architectural feat but it is ecologically sound as well. As a result, it was certified as a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver building.

Visitors to Berlin can take the opportunity to marvel at this building free of charge.  One must only pre-register online at least two days before.  Or for those people who want to do it spontaneously, one can go directly to the service center on Scheidemannstraße to see if there are available slots for visiting.  It is definitely worth your time.

As environmental degradation becomes more alarming, sustainability should no longer be a trend but a need.

Sustainability is a lifestyle which includes the food you eat, the clothes you wear, the things you buy, and the little habits in everyday life. We live in a world of rampant consumerism, and this is madness.

Big businesses like to sell their products cheap, prompting people to buy more. Little  do we  know that these companies may use inexpensive, toxic materials and exploit cheap labor in order to bring down production costs.

Even though there is an increasing awareness towards sustainability, there are still certain biases against sustainable materials. Some people believe that materials like recycled fabric and reclaimed wood are ugly or gross, and they would demand products that are made out of virgin materials.

But thanks to new technologies and innovative artists, the tide is turning and sustainable design can be just as good, aesthetically and functionally, as conventional design.

Architecture

Certain elements of a building’s design can influence insulation, ventilation, and lighting. The building’s contours or orientation are important for both ventilation and lighting. It has to be designed in such a way that air outside can flow smoothly into the building and circulate inside. Likewise, openings must also be able to allow light to come inside.

Colors are also important for insulation and lighting. Notice how Scandinavian design uses dark colors for exteriors and whites for interiors. The dark color outside absorbs heat, insulating the building during the harsh winters, whereas the white colors inside diffuse light, illuminating the building despite the lack of sunlight during the cold months. These two aspects of a building alone can reduce the dependency on electricity significantly.

Materials are another major factor in sustainable architecture. Locally-sourced recycled wood is a very good option. One alternative that’s growing in popularity is bamboo, one of the fastest growing plants in the world that’s very common in the tropics; it’s as strong as steel which makes it a very effective building material. Both sustainable and functional, bamboo is almost the perfect building material.

A perfect example of an architectural project that incorporates design, sustainability, and functionalism equally is the Green Village in Bali, Indonesia, designed by the Ibuku architecture firm.

Besides the building’s foundation, the finishing material like paint is also important to consider. Boysen offers different eco-friendly options for paint such as  KNOxOUT which cleans the air, Cool Shades, a roof paint that helps bring down energy cost, and the odor-less, low VOC, lead-free Healthy Home, to name a few.

Furniture

Most sustainable furniture you can buy are sourced out of reclaimed wood or salvaged wood, both of which are recycled. Reclaimed wood refers to those that has been used for some other purpose previously, salvaged wood refers to those that come from dead trees. Both are more sustainable than fresh wood but still require a lot of work, from carving and polishing, before you can use it as furniture.

Other than sourcing, sustainable furniture is ideally handcrafted, rather than mass-produced in factories. It gives employment to more people and keeps the artistry of furniture making alive. A good example of sustainable furniture would be those by Filipino designer Benji Reyes who uses only reclaimed wood. His furniture is distinctly Filipino. Functionally, they are unbelievably comfortable to sit or lie down on despite the wooden material. He manages to make his furniture comfortable by shaping them in such a way that it “fits” the human body.

Benji Reyes Furniture
Benji Reyes Furniture

One notable invention made was a machine that turns PET bottles to fiber which can be woven into a fabric. This material was used for the Nobody chair of Danish furniture company HAY. Designed by Copenhagen-based firm Komplot Design, this minimalist chair is created completely with the use of the fiber, molding it to its shape rather than using it as a lining, making this the first monoblock chair using only textile for construction.

Fashion

An iconic innovator who was way beyond his time is the Belgian designer Martin Margiela. Although he no longer works, the legacy he has left in the fashion industry is an enormous one. His style revolved around deconstruction and silhouette experimentation, but what made his work truly distinctive was the use of recycled materials. He would use the most mundane materials such as surgical gloves, combs, hair, and belts; he also never hid the fact that his clothing were created with these materials. They added character to the pieces and seeing them leaves you in awe of Margiela’s brilliance. It takes a lot of creativity to turn such commonplace items into high fashion.

Sustainable fashion doesn’t stop at high fashion though. Affordable fashion brands such as H&M and Levi’s have made use of new technology to create clothing out of recycled materials. H&M uses the fabric from donated items to weave into new clothes once more whereas Levi’s uses a similar kind of technology to HAY’s, using PET fabric for their jeans.

Quality and design don’t have to be sacrificed for sustainability. Nowadays, they often come hand in hand. It only takes creativity to incorporate these elements well to make something that is both environmentally conscious and beautiful. Sustainability should not be a trend, but a global, lifelong movement that aims to diminish our negative impact on the environment.

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Tapio Snellman’s movie on the Collage House in Dezeen  is a beautiful work of art in itself, and honors the work of architectural designer Jonathan Tuckey when he transformed a 19th-century steel fabricator’s London workshop into a home for his family.

But it is not about Tapio Snellman the film maker that I want to write about, not even Tapio Snellman the architect. I want to write about Tapio the artist.

I met Tapio in Manila in March 2012 when he was commissioned by Boysen to paint one of the large-scale artworks in the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, Manila’s main arterial roadway and the focal point of the Boysen KNOxOut urban renewal initiative called Project: EDSA.

The Boysen KNOxOUT Project: EDSA mural at Cubao by Tapio Snellman
The Boysen KNOxOUT Project: EDSA mural at Cubao by Tapio Snellman

Sitting across the table from me during dinner one night, Tapio talked about how he came up with the concept for the artwork he called Cubao Incision.

Tapio’s Story about the Project

The proposal for me to come to Manila to create a mural for Boysen in 2012, came completely out of the blue during a time when I was looking for a change in my working life and was hungry for a creative challenge.

I first thought the curator might be mistaken with my identity though as I didn’t really have any experience with murals. But when I was told that my film work on cities was the basis for the choice, I got excited and agreed to travel to Manila. I made a radical decision to leave London for a whole two months to see what the Philippines had to offer. Amazingly, my partner Diego was able to work remotely on his ongoing theatre projects and decided to join me.

I started familiarising myself with Manila and came up with a preliminary concept for the mural before traveling, but nothing could prepare me for the reality of it. 

We spent the first days walking across the city, looking for a place to stay and making sense of it all. We took trains, buses and jeepnies to get close to people, and walked through crowded neighbourhoods and deserted gated communities. I really wanted to be infused by the culture and people and see if I could do something specific to the place.

The site of my artwork turned out to be one of the most intense places I’d experienced: The amount of activity and humanity crossing its way at that specific point was overwhelming. Pedestrians, streetmarkets, cars, trainlines, informal dwellings, lovehotels  and a bus interchange all exist on different levels.

The first task was to measure the ‘canvas’. We bought a long measuring tape and spent hours walking up and down the 300 meter long underpass drawing up diagrams of the side walls of the underpass, taking photos, nearly sacrificing our lives and almost getting arrested while at it. The noxious air, heat, noise and humidity gave me an instant headache.

It’s a kind of hell on earth and yet I fell love with that place.

Tapio’s Experience in the Philippines

I had an amazing time in Manila, walking and exploring the most unlikely of neighbourhoods with my camera in hand. Coming to our Makati condo and frying lapu lapu fresh from the market, for lunch. Then meeting with a friend for a casual and unplanned dinner only to be attacked by another 16 work colleagues, family members and next door neighbours joining in for what turned out to be a major culinary feast. For a shy and reserved northerner that was challenging at times but I miss it sorely now.

I loved my time at the Boysen factory where I spent hours with the chemical engineer mixing my KNOxOUT paint to get the exact hues I needed without compromising on the air-cleaning properties.

We made an awesome escapade out of the city in a rented car. Everyone advised us to take a driver and a guide but being used to self reliance we ventured out of the city without, for what turned out to be a 2,000 km long exploration of Luzon.

What I remember is navigating by Jollibee billboards announcing distances to next towns and cities, then arriving in typhoon conditions in an all but evacuated Aparri. Other images that have stayed are that of pushing our drunken Ifugao guide up a muddy hill in Banaue on New Year’s Day and being massaged simultaneously by two elderly ladies using the opportunity to share a year’s worth of gossip over my oily body.

The landscapes were other-worldly and in each village we seemed to make new friends, even if driving for two hours just to discover a dead end due to to a collapsed bridge across the Cagayan River tested our patience.

I sorely miss the Philippines, its warmth and the endless generosity. It couldn’t be more different from the cool and reserved Finland of my childhood but has become a home nevertheless.

Meeting Artists

I really enjoyed talking with Tapio and Diego, who was also trained as an architect and interior designer but pursued further studies to become an international theater designer. One of these days, I will write about Diego too.

Diego and Tapio
Illustration by Diego

There is something very special about artists. When you talk to them and follow them into their world, it suddenly seems that this world you are in changes in dimension and depth. Colors are more intense, and you are somehow drawn into another way of perceiving things. Their observation powers are certainly remarkable. Especially if an artist is as eloquent in words as he is in the medium he has chosen for himself, you come out of the encounter with your own world expanded and your senses sharpened.

Tapio was born in Finland but he has lived in London for nearly 20 years. When I asked him what his name meant, he said, “Tapio means forest god in Finnish.”

Finland is poised to become the world’s most sustainable nation in the world, and follows an ambitious agenda to be able achieve this. It is just fitting that a Finn came to the Philippines to help us in one of our sustainability efforts.

To this Filipino Finn, I say Mabuhay.