February 2003: "Biomimicry / BioDesign"

Author: David Oakey (Pond Studios) 

This article raises the question "Can we believe in human ingenuity alone to lead us to the future with chemical and scientific ways?" and suggests that a better approach lies through closer links between natural and human systems. David points out that Biomimicry is not new - nature has often been a source of inspiration for design, back to the 15th century and Leonardo da Vinci. He covers some recent examples of Biomimicry, including drag reducing surfaces based on shark skin, natural ventilation modeled on termite mounds, and proposes analogies between marketing methods and how seeds are distributed. David describes in detail his work with Interface to develop a new approach to the design and production of carpet tiles, dramatically reducing waste while increasing product life cycle (see Interface/Environmental for additional information). The article closes on an optimistic note: by learning from the rich diversity and complexity of life, we can help create environments that enrich our well-being, while at the same being remaining true to the principles of sustainability.

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