Biomimicry workshop review

I’m at home now after the three day workshop, tired but contented. I felt very much at home in this high-paced inspiring ‘factory’ if you will, and it was fun to be so immersed in the creative process. Normally that’s less apparent due to a multitude of parallel projects and thus a slower paced development. Of course one doesn’t have much time to reflect, so it will be interesting to see if I still feel the same way in a week’s time.

The topic of biomimicry was very intriguing: together with Bob Giesberts and Frank-Willem Kloppenburg I am working on a lift concept based on biomimicry principles.

Nature has seen 3.8 billion years of evolution, solving problems that are encountered on the way in the best way possible. Biomimicry aims to tap into this source of information, offering infinite opportunities to apply to contemporary design. Sustainability and the environment are high on the agenda nowadays, making biomimicry a very valuable design tool.

In my limited experience thus far biomimicry works best for solving problems that relate to functionality. It also inspires to take a look at the “ecosystem” of a product and see how the product could contribute to that system. An effective method of applying the principles of biomimicry to a design issue is by combining the following steps with life’s principles as displayed in the graph underneath.

  1. Identify functions and context.
  2. ‘Biologise’ the functions (e.g. “transmit” would become “communicate”).
  3. Look at nature’s solutions.
  4. Choose materials.
  5. Choose a production process.
  6. Pay attention to the end of the life cycle and the overall entropy.

Life's principles.

As mentioned, as test case we are developing a lift concept based on biomimicry principles, to be more specific: it is based on peristaltic movement. As example: the building is the lift’s ecosystem, offering opportunities with relation to exploiting the lift system for ventilation of the building. In addition to that, the lift system is overhauled to cater to individual transport.

Oh by the way, click on the image at the top to see a few photos taken throughout the three day workshop.


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