Biomimicry in Design01.14.10   |   Posted in: Art & Design   |   By: Katie Weiss
Tags: Design Theory, Experimental Projects, Graphic Design, Green Design, Industrial Design, Interior Design
In this age of technology most people know by now that we get a lot of our medicines and fabrics from things we find in nature but did you know that a lot, if not all the items in your home were also inspired by something in nature? This is called biomimicry.
Biomimicry is when a man made object imitates or is inspired by nature. You may be unfamiliar with the term but this is not a new concept, and it is growing in popularity. For instance have you ever been drawn to an item in a store but you have no idea why you like it so much? Do you find yourself always looking at a particular building as you drive by on your way to work? Chances are these things catch your attention because of some biomimicry in the design.
We are attracted to designs that imitate nature because they are subconsciously familiar. Familiarity breeds friendly, happy, or content feelings. Designs that utilize this subconscious response in consumers tend to do very well in sales. It’s also why we tend to see a face in most designs. For instance a light socket does seem to look like two eyes and a mouth.
Jewelry designers apply biomimicry more than any other industry. The next time you’re in a jewelry store or at a jewelry website you’ll probably find something that looks like an insect, an animal, or a plant. Even the clasp most jewelry uses to fasten was inspired by the lobster claw.
Designs that apply inspiration from nature tend to be more functional too. For example the bullet train in Japan was inspired by the beak of the kingfisher. This shape allows the train to move much faster with less air resistance. This design also eliminated the loud boom the old trains would create each time they emerged from the tunnels. Cars of all shapes, sizes, and functions have been using nature as a guide for years. Recently, Mercedes-Benz, applied the aerodynamic shape of the boxfish to their bionic car and as a result this vehicle has a 65% lower drag coefficient than other vehicles in its class.
According to Bob Little, the president of solidThinking-
“Biomimicry allows innovators and problem solvers of all kinds to create more intelligent and sustainable design through the emulation of nature.”
The basic fundamental point is that nature has 3.8 billion years of evolution for us to pull inspiration from. Survival of the fittest is still alive today so we can see which concepts in nature flourished and which died out. Nature has done most of the work for us already we just have to be smart and clever enough to make it work for us. So the next time you find your eye drawn to something, take a second to think about why and maybe you’ll find that society isn’t as separate from nature as you once thought.