I had the good fortune to grow up next to beautiful woodland. A 20-minute walk would take me to a tidal creek where I could sit for hours watching schools of fish, flocks of birds and swaying grasses. Only now am I starting to appreciate how deeply moving and inspiring those environmental encounters were and how they have continued to affect my daily life as a designer and a human being.
Recently, the term biomimicry came across my radar. I hadn’t realized the extent to which creative thinkers throughout time have turned to the natural world to solve design and engineering problems and inspire creativity.
noun: the design and production of materials, structures, and systems that are modeled on biological entities and processes is called biomimicry.
Probably, one of most well-known is the story of Velcro. In 1948 George de Mestral was walking his dog and noticed burrs were firmly stuck to his dog’s fur as well as his own clothing. Being curious, he looked at the burrs under a microscope and discovered many tiny hooks covered their surfaces. He realized that one hook by itself was not strong, but that lots of them together were very strong. Observing this natural occurrence inspired him to invent a new type of fastener.
I invite you to join me in taking a closer look, everyday, at our natural surroundings and let the colors, textures and systems teach and inspire us.
Here are just a handful of the amazing natural devices humans have adapted thus far: