Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Design By Nature: Cellulose and Sex

Just read an interesting review of a cool book called "Design by Nature" in the online journal Core 77:


A constant challenge to designers seems to be grounding design in real natural phenomena. Take for example the ubiquitous molecule cellulose, which comprises all plant cells. Cellulose is the most abundant organic molecule on the planet, stronger than tempered steel by weight, incredibly cheap to manufacture (it's built of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, all combined through solar energy via photosynthesis), and it's practically indigestible. In its many uses, both natural and human, cellulose is an incomparable product of evolutionary development.

Cotton boll

But is cellulose sexy? Let's just say it falls way out of the bounds of design concept, probably because it's a hard and fast scientific fact, not someone's idea. If we want to base our design on science, it doesn't hurt to take a closer look at the designs that nature has built over deep evolutionary time.

Termite colony

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