This is alive…

’Techno Naturology’ - an interactive textile collection by Elaine Ng Yan Ling
An increased focus on sustainability in combination with current research in biotechnology and biomimicry are influencing our design landscape and new directions are emerging.
Genetic engineering makes it possible to tailor-make materials and products in a way that has never previously been possible. At the same time, an increased understanding of natural systems and biological intelligence has become a great source of inspiration for smarter materials and engineering solutions.


Foto: The ‘Amoeba’ – a surface-adapting trainer by Shamees Aden

Designers working towards a future of more environmentally friendly products are today forced to consider these new technologies. Despite the controversy of genetic engineering, improvements in biotechnology as well as the potential of nature-guided solutions provide designers with an amazing new set of tools and knowledge.
The relationship between biology and design is growing and as a result we can see a range of exciting new projects exploring alternative ecological design models.
The EN VIE / ALIVE exhibition features 34 such projects in the fields of design, architecture, photography and fine art. These artists/designers work on a sliding scale between ‘natural nature’ and ‘programmable nature’ and show us examples of what a future hybrid world might hold.

Foto: Living Architecture – Composites from bacteria by David Benjamin

The exhibitors are divided into 5 groups:

The Plagiarists – Nature as a model
Viewing nature as a role model and inspiration for engineering solutions.
The plagiarists follow biomimicry principles, but use man-made materials in combination with digital technologies.

The New Artisans – Nature as a co-worker
Collaborating with nature in order to develop and grow consumer goods. These new techniques include working with things like algae, plants and fungi.

The Bio-Hackers – Reprogrammed, ‘synthetic’ nature
An investigation into the future of products through the use of bioengineering. Bio-hackers work together with synthetic biologists to develop ideas for a future world where engineered living organisms could play a bigger role.

The New Alchemists – Hybridised nature
The new alchemists explore the merging of elements from chemistry, biology, nanotechnology and robotics to create hybrid organisms mixing living and non-living technology.

The Agents Provocateurs – Conceptualised and imagined nature
An investigation into the potential future of living technology and high-tech sustainability. These artists and designers want to encourage a debate around ethical issues by illustrating a provocative far future.

Foto: Future Venice – growing an artificial reef under the city, by Rachel Armstrong

The exhibition runs from 26th April to 1st Sept 2013 at the Espace Foundation in Paris, France.
> Click here for a map
> Click here to view exhibition website

Carole Collet is the Curator of the exhibition, she is a Reader in Textile Futures at Central Saint Martins College of Arts & Design, London, UK


Auther of this post:
This post is written by Emma P. Borgstrøm from Sweden who is our super intern here at Danish Design Centre. Through the last couple of months Emma has been working on various projects mostly within the field of materials….


Maria HørmannAbout Maria Hørmann
Maria is editor of Hello Materials Blog and Project Manager of the Danish Design Centre’s Design & Innovation team. She follows closely the development within the environmental area, and has a broad, professional knowledge of materials.
> More about Maria Hørmann

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