Nature as Mentor
Biological science writer Janine Benyus defines biomimicry as the "conscious emulation of life's genius." Resourceful and imaginative by necessity, nature is the consummate engineerhaving already provided elegant, economical solutions to many of the problems we contend with today. Animals, plants, and microbes alone, and in concert with one anotherhave determined what works, what is appropriate, and what will withstand the test of time. We needn't look far to see some of our technological advances mirrored inand in most cases, outdone bynature, whether it's t architectural beams in bamboo stems or t central heating and cooling in the termite tower's steady 86 degrees. Even man's greatest invention, t the wheel, can be found in the tiny rotary motor that propels bacteria.
While industry leaders are beginning to mine nature for innovations in arenas as diverse as material science, manufacturing, technology, product design, and architecture, graphic designers have largely ignored nature's possibilities. Through my endeavors, I hope to demonstrate that nature's modelsbe they t forms, t systems, or t behaviorspropose an inspired framework from which to construct work endowed with both life and spirit.
Architect Louis Sullivan once expressed his belief in what he interpreted as "natural law"that the very essence of every problem contains and proposes its own solution. It was he who first coined the dictum "form follows function", and nowhere is the inextricable relationship among behaviors, systems, and forms more apparent than within nature. It follows suit that artists, architects, and design practitioners would have the impulse, conscious or not, to borrow forms from the natural world.
t Nature's forms are as diverse as they are vast. Poul Henningsen's modernist pendant lamp played a critical role in the advancement of modern lighting, and owes this...