Taking Biomimicry To the World

Biomimetic. Say whaaaa? Well, before this week of classes, I’m sure my response would be similar to this. Usually, scientific words turn me off and scare me away because generally, science/math/anything to do with either of these, are not exactly my forte. But fortunately, this week really enlightened me on a whole new area of design inspiration I have never really thought about, especially this in depth before. Erin Leitch was a very intriguing speaker who was very knowledgeable in the area of biomimicry and the entire process that is involved. She really brought an understanding to the class that I don’t think could’ve been incorporated in a better way.

During our reading, “Sustainable product-service systems”, Roy mentions the upsides of the PSS process and what advantages it has over other popular “earth friendly” trends. This reading seemed very understandable to me and easy to see how a product-service system can become incorporated. I found the limitations of the other trends, such as green design, very insightful and useful. As a future designer, it is good to know and understand the limitations of some design ideas/processes. I need to know what direction to take, depending on the scenario, and after a reading of this capacity, I feel more inclined to take on such a project. As mentioned in the reading, green design may tend to make one product “better” for the environment, but during the process of making that project better, somewhere else in the product design an adverse effect has taken place. In our other reading for the week, “The Materials Maze”, Bonda and Sosnowchik give great information regarding the attributes of both synthetic and natural fibers. After reviewing their findings, it is fair to say both natural and synthetic fibers each have their pros and cons. This is just like PSS vs. “green” design methods. What may seem absolute or positive can sometimes be skewed depending on what the fabric or design method is paired with or reacting with.

But do we blame the manufacturer for the lack of knowledge? The consumer? That is the question; do we blame those who don’t know any different? I feel like I know more about the design industry than people my age of another major (as it should be), yet I had still never heard of biomimicry or the idea in general before this class, and this is my last semester of undergrad! That being said, can we blame those who don’t know there is a better, more full-circle way of creating? Can we blame those who don’t know why type of fabric to use in certain situations? We have to take the term “biomimetic” to the world. These readings are relevant because of their applicability to the design world (both ID and ADP!). Both reference real facts without being too hard to understand and they are both laid out in a way the reader can reference the research if needed. By both word of mouth and advertising, as a design community, we need to make this part of the popular “green” movement that is taking place. And what better way to start talking about it than with friends who have been through the sustainability course?! After knowing what I know now, I would like to learn about different buildings that use biomimetic design and how each building differs its design depending on its location and natural resources. Although I did not have an epiphany this week, the most important thing I learned was that biomimetic design exists! I honestly never knew about it and biomimetic architecture/design really intrigues me, so I’m excited to see what else I can learn about this topic.

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