There is much information about colors, textures and moods when we refer to any Interior Design Trend but rarely technology gets mentioned. It feels like nobody is really confortable with it, but truth is innovation is all around us and used in most of the design processes already.
As always, nature continues to inspire and influence. Now we gain a deeper and more complex understanding of our planet and are better able to adapt and innovate.
Designers incorporate sophisticated imitations of natural materials into their projects to reconnect us with nature. Products take on a more natural appearance creating a visual link to the luxury of raw materials.
Humans are clever, but without intending to, we have created massive sustainability problems for future generations. Fortunately, solutions to these global challenges are all around us.
The core idea is that nature has already solved many of the problems we are facing today. Animals, plants, and microbes are true engineers.
It may seem paradoxical that a lounge chair entirely made in nylon (can be made from crude oil or biomass: Biomass can be used as a source of energy and it most often refers to plants or plant-based materials) is more natural and sustainable than any soft seat made by more traditional manufacturing methods.
This soft seat, which is Lilian van Daal‘s graduation project, uses 3D printing technology to replicate the way nature gives different properties to different objects by simply modifying their structure.
This is the goal of Biomimicry that is the technique of using algorithms to replicate natural processes and translate them into physical shapes in a way that has been made possible by additive manufacturing technologies. Through Biomimicry we will be able to create artificial objects that better resemble nature and, since we are also part of nature, are a better fit for us humans as well.
Using the Biomimicy inspired structure a soft chair can be made from a single material in a single process in a single factory: this mean a lot less waste!
“3D printing makes it possible to reproduce these complex structures as a single object. A product can be created from one material in one factory, although it has the properties of various materials. Pollution caused by transport can be minimized and the product is completely recyclable.” – Lilian van Daal
“Already science is exploring the potential of insects for food production and to satisfy our future dietary needs, however I am primarily interested in using insects as co-partners in the design process.”– Marlène Huissoud
Propolis is a bio degradable resin that honey bees collect from different trees and use as a sealant for unwanted open spaces in the beehive. Its color depends of the forests and botanical sources used in the collection by the honey bees. The most common one is brown, but there are plenty of variations in colors and properties. Marlène Huissoud chose to work with black propolis from rubber trees. The propolis, at its first stage, is a mix of between 50 to 150 different components (wax, balsams, resins, pollen, essential oils…).
After many experiments, she succeeded together with a glass artisan in blowing the propolis using the same basic technique as with glass art. The process is long because a kiln has to be specifically adapted for the propolis, since the melting point of the propolis (100°) is lower than the glass (1200°).
Looking into the depths of the ocean creating a geological cross-section. The design team Duffy London spent a year developing the table in their London studio, experimenting with sculpted glass and wood from managed forests. Nature all translated into a piece of furniture. Or is it art?
For her Landscape Within project, Polish designer Wiktoria Szawiel set out to encapsulate the moods and materials of eastern European landscapes she grew up in within objects. Patterns of woven natural fibres emerge from this milky resin furniture.
Studio Eric Klarenbeek is exploring ways of 3D-printing living organisms, such as mycelium, the thread like network of fungi, in combination with local raw materials.
“We are the first in the world to 3D-print living mycelium, using this infinite natural source of organisms as living glue for binding organic waste. Once it’s full-grown and dried, it turns into a structural, stable and renewable material. Combined with 3D-printing it gives us tremendous design freedom.” – Eric Klarenbeek
Finishing up with a further insight, Biomimicry is an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions for human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies. Living organisms have evolved well-adapted structures and materials over geological time through natural selection. Humans have looked at nature for answers to problems throughout our existence.
I believe that’s a calming thought after all. G, x