CAN WE WORK WITH NATURE RATHER THAN AGAINST IT?
Recently I was blown away by the Bio architecture episode of Abstract on Netflix featuring Neri Oxman's team at MIT labs. Oxman explores how we can refute the idea that art, science, design and engineering are separate and explains how we should be bringing these elements of creativity together much more.
Image from Neri's website
Oxman has worked on some amazing projects including the Silk Pavillion.
A piece of architecture which relied on the behaviour of silkworms to weave around a basic structure to fill in the gaps like clicking 'fill' on Microsoft Paint. This is an ingenious use of nature's algorithm and got me pondering how this sort of thinking could be applied to branding, graphic design or packaging.
I will warn you now that this is merely me thinking aloud and is probably not too profound. But nonetheless here are some outlandish ideas which may see nature and design on the same team. Or not. Probably not.
Packaging that grows?
Rather than working in destructive ways to chop down trees to create paper or making plastic. Why couldn't we use nature's inherent qualities to grow organisms into the shapes we need for packaging? Provided we have set template and moulds, couldn't elements such as fungi or cells grow into the shapes that we manipulate them?
Here's an example of people already exploring such a concept.
A logo that morphs?
Obviously, the idea of harnessing nature's potential has great benefits from a practical and environment level but how about on an aesthetic level? This is a bit of a crazy concept but here goes. Imagine you have a logo which exists in a physical world and constantly mutates and changes shape just like everything else in the world.
This could then be documented and used as an ever-changing brand asset, maybe every digital execution of the said logo is linked up to the master asset so that the morphing can be consistent in all digital uses. This feels like pie in the sky at the moment but I can't imagine this would be impossible.
As I say these are merely ponderings and I will continue to add any further thoughts in time but it just seems like such an interesting area of development. If you haven't watched the episode on Netflix yet, be sure to check it out here https://www.netflix.com/title/80057883
Written by Andy Lester