You may have heard about the little book we're working on over here. It's coming along swimmingly, and we're having a great time.
We're hoping you might contribute a suggestion or two for our section on biomorphism. We want to feature some of the greatest examples of designarchitecture, textile, art or productwhose form is inspired by nature. Some examples we've mentioned in the past include the Gherkin (Swiss Re building), a chair inspired by a callalily, and a nautilus-shaped fan, but we know there countless others.
Send along whatever comes to mind. We look forward to seeing your ideas!
If you like robotic insects the biorobot project at Case Western Reserve http.biorobots.cwru.edu/
is pretty cool. I love the video of the mini-wheg robot.
velcro is one obvious one here... inspired by the humble burdock, as i recall... are you looking for something more specific or recent? perhaps it would be well to be more precise in terms of time period etc...
see e.g. this link for more on the velcro story.
How about the latest in insect repellent clothing:
The substance used in the clothing to repel the insects is derived from the chrysanthemum (No DEET!), and is good for up to 25 washes.
I have heard skyscrapers structurally compared to large conifer trees, with the strong central elevator column representing the trunk or bole and the expansive flexible floors representing the branches. Peel away the skin and you're looking at a structural mimic of an old-growth Douglas fir. I am somewhat skeptical about whether such buildings are "world changing" in a positive sense. I guess they conserve limited realestate footprint, but they also facilitate a type of economic centralization that ain't pretty.
Are you familiar with the design strategies utlilised by Permaculture designers which are conceptually related to forms found in nature?
Permaculture design is becoming very important globally with over half a million people having completed a Permaculture Design Certificate course in over a hundred countries. check out these sites to find out more.
btw your site is excellent. Keep up your great work and thanks for all the info.
In Guggenheim's Museum -Bilbao, Spain- you can find some architectural examples -not only from Frank Gehry
[sorry for the quality of the picture, I did it with a promo digital camera]
And in Santiago Calatrava's work many others.
I asume you are looking only for contemporary examples... In Spanish architectural and decorative tradition many biomorphism could be found even before romans...
Anything by Antoni Gaudi, the Barcelona architect.
If you're interested in doing tree/skyscrapers, don't leave out the EDITT tower! Designed, but - as I understand - not yet built. Posted on WC, but the link is broken - go to: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2005/04/the_editt_tower_1.php
Yeah, gaudi. Not his very first buildings, but most of his buildings & other structures: he took design lessons from nature - form & movement (air flow, warmth, play of light etc) and invented building technologies to achieve the desired designs. He even designed an organic industrial revolution era village within walking distance of a factory beside a river for comfortable community life - very enlightened for those times.
Not for form but utility: I think living machines - natural sewage treatment - is a great functional design concept
There are a few gherkin buildings about, btw.
I think you need to clearly differentiate between what many of the comments are referring to which is Biomimicry-emulating natural functions (velcro, permaculture,etc.) and Biomorphism-emulating natural forms. Of course, these two ideas are interrelated, but you only mention biomorphism.
For biomimicry, look at the excellent book called Biomimicry, by Benyus I believe.
Just a view hints: Gaudi, Rudolf Steiner, Hundertwasser, Frei Otto, Marcel Kalberer (and his "Sanfte Strukturen" - "soft structures"). Always enjoyable: Ernst Haeckel and his "Artforms in Nature". And just have a look on the magnicicent islamic architecture, sculpture, and art, esp. the highly sophisticated mosaics. (For the latter see e.g. the Alhambra in Grenada/Spain.)
You should include the "Lotus Effect" which is the ability of the lotus leaf to self clean. The surface texture is composed in such a way as to cause water droplets to roll across it and gather dirt along the way. Synthetic coatings are being developed to emulate this effect. See http://www.botanik.uni-bonn.de/system/lotus/en/home_multimedia.html and Lotusan a coating product for the exterior of buildings.
Check this out, it's quite intriquing...
This is quite a beautiful thing Architect Alisa Andrasek's Genware is a software system that can convert dynamic sound patterns into structural fields to produce complex surfaces at various scales. More information about Genware is available at her research group Biothing's website > http://www.biothing.org/
Genware: Algorithmic Library is a software program that uses differential mathematics to produce repetitive patterns with subtle variations that can be applied to architecture and industrial design.
Alisa Andrasek is the winner of Metropolis Magazines 2005 Next Generation Award. This is a nice link, with a thorough description of her beliefs and process:
Please let me know if this is helpful to you, I'd love to know!
There are a bunch of these.
Cambered airfoils modeled on bird wings (Frederick Lanchester)
Change in shape of aircraft wings to turn, also modeled on bird wings (Wright brothers)
Wood pulp for paper modeled on wasps' technique (Rene Antoine Reamur)
Extruded textile fabrics (rayon, etc) modeled on silkworms' technique (Hilaire du Chardonnet)
Telephone transducers modeled on eardrums (Alexander Graham Bell)
Barbed wired modeled on the Osage orange (Michael Kelly)
Chain saw cutters modeled on the mandibles of wood-boring beetles (Joseph Cox)
Velcro modeled on cocklebur or burdock (Georges de Mestral)
These examples come from "Cats' Paws and Catapults: Mechanical Worlds of Nature and People" by Steven Vogel. It is a much-needed skeptical view of biomimicry in this day of bio-romance. He points out, through numerous examples and a long historical analysis, that Nature gives us excellent guidance about what is possible, but in the end rarely shows us the exact solution for our human purposes.
In other words, Nature is an inspiration, not something to be "mimicked." I found the book quite interesting.
Saw Chuck Hoberman talk about his continuing work in transformative architecture. His iris curtain for the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics was quite amazing.
The Eden Project's complex of domes in the UK looks like a froth of bubbles.
The use of genetic algorithms in the development of designs of all kinds may be a meta-level example of biomimicry.
The V&A Zoomorphic exhibition that ran a few years ago still has its website around:
'The Core,' a massive solar structure at The Eden Project which just recently unveiled, supposedly mimics the Fibonacci sequence. check it out.
I love your blog! Just coool !
Attaboy! Good luck !