Design Inspiration: What is Biomimicry?

What is Biomimicry?

Biomimicry is the practice of looking to nature for design solutions. The examples are numerous, and quite beautiful. Their beauty comes not only from natural patterns –  organic, rounded and natural looking – but in the beauty of their efficiency. Nature has often already solved for a myriad of problems and needs we want to solve on a larger scale or separate purpose.

Design Efficiency Paired with Longevity and Respect

If we examine our human design patterns for architecture and machinery from the 1950’s we will see a new pattern of design that rejected nature in order to celebrate industrial, manufactured solutions.  They are devoid of decoration and superfluousness. These designs were also considered efficient, but only for the moment. Often, they ignore the long term needs of multiple generations or coming at a high cost of fossil fuel use and plastics as quick solutions. We know now physical design needs to be more thoughtful of the environment of which it is placed and hopefully designed for generations of use.

Biomimicry isn’t just for physical design. As we consider the vast array of data we collect and how we will use it, we can compare how nature stores genetic data and cell data. We can see the structures of biology that transmit information in the most efficient use of physical space and use while maintaining efficiency of information.

A New Science

Biomimicry was started as a science by Janine Benyus and introduced in her groundbreaking, and beautifully written book, Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature.

The book is poetic in it’s nod to the beautifully efficient design of nature with several stories and examples of how we have gone off track, causing issues in soil erosion, draught, and other large issues. But it is the highlighted simplicity of design that nature teaches us. Not intrusive, but inventive and endlessly adaptive. As big believers in biomimicry as a design resource, we’ll be revisiting the subject many times over. For now, check out this excellently done video for more on Biomimicry.





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