Whole Life Magazine

April/May 2014

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Page 27 of 43

An eco-outlook in food, architecture and public space keeps this EU country ahead of the curve Green germany models A lthough Los Ange- les is among the most eco-friendly American cities, Western Europe is an inspir- ing model for mainstreamed "green" practices. For example, of the 26 countries that have a total or partial ban on GMOs— which continues to elude us in the United States—nearly half are in the EU. And whereas we allow massive amounts of flavorings and additives in our wines and cheeses, there is not this kind of carte blanche in Eu- rope. e German culture in particular takes an avant-garde approach to everything from tech- nology to economy, and is also a world leader when it comes to eco-friendly living. Just as here in the States we post health depart- ment ratings on restaurant doors, numerous German establishments proudly display "Bio" stickers (the German organic designation). Sustainable and local has long been the European standard, and abundant public parks feature colorful trashcan clusters that encour- age sorting of recyclables. In architecture, sustainable building proj- ects—such as Hamburg's ongoing HafenCity project—have created verdant, mixed-use extensions of urban areas, and passive retrofit is flourishing (see related story, pg. 22). READY FOR RHINE TIME Düsseldorf has long been considered "the Paris of Germany." Its up- scale shopping district, the Königsallee, or "Kö," could easily pass as a scaled-down version of the Champs Elysée, however here it rep- resents more than just designer retail. Internationally renowned ar- chitect Daniel Libeskind is spearheading an urban planning project that will seamlessly connect the center of town (including the Alt- stadt, or Old Town) with nearby museums and parkland. Although the project won't be finished until 2015 (and the city center's aesthet- ics are slightly marred by the current construction), the MediaHafen (Media Harbor) provides a stunning finished version of how historic and future Düsseldorf will be reconciled. As in Hamburg, astute city planners have transformed the area from scruffy docklands into a business and residential oasis, with architecture echoing the Rhine's flow and greenery. e Hyatt Regency Düs- seldorf—Germany's first hotel to be awarded the silver certification of the German Sustainable Build- ing Council (DGNB)— overlooks many of the architectural crown jewels of the riverfront, including a stunning trio of Frank Gehry buildings. Its de- sign features geothermal energy/ground heat using pumped ground water for cooling and heating as well as toilets; 100 percent recyclable materials in guestroom bathtubs; and an em- phasis on décor created with environmentally friendly production, packaging, transportation and disposal. Many restaurants are also environmentally friendly. Woyton, a local coffee shop chain that refuses to use cellophane or Styrofoam packaging, competes with Starbucks franchises by sticking to fresh, made-to-order salads and baristas who can tell you the source of their ingredients. Contemporary German fare at fine dining venues is also making a move away from schnitzel and strudel. At Dox, ex- ecutive chef Felix Petrucco is reinventing German recipes, approach- ing regional cuisine based on how the German palate is changing. "I am inspired by what the customer wants to experience. I find myself wanting to cook for the ways my tastes have changed," Petrucco explains. "Consequently, we have limitations on what local dishes we can reinterpret, based on what is in season. Also, with some dishes considered 'traditional,' the ingredients are too cheap for the standards our kitchen is trying to set. is pushes me to innovate." While Düsseldorf is recognized as a fashion industry hub, sec- ond-hand boutiques are both hot (in popularity) and cool (in how they are merchandised). Treasures abound at Noblesse Second-Hand (Oststraße 89), the Sunday flea market in the Carlsplatz (adjacent to Altstadt), and in the Flingern neighborhood, a few tram stops from the town center. TEMPELHOFER PARK ON THE SITE OF A FORMER AIRPORT, BERLIN BY ELYSE GLICKMAN MEDIA HARBOR, DÜSSELDORF 28 wholelifetimesmagazine.com FINAL-WLT-APRIL-MAY.indd 28 3/30/14 7:58 PM

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