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Biologically Inspired Designs

posted on 2023-05-24, 05:38 authored by Jacqueline PowerJacqueline Power, Bernabei, R
Product designers are engaging with new making opportunities that depart from traditional massproduction processes and are forming new collaborations shifting practice and material opportunities. Pioneers in the field of biological art, Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr have said, “Life is increasingly seen as the new frontier for exploitation; from industrial framing through in-vitro meat and bioprospecting to synthetic biology, life is extracted from its natural context into the realm of the manufactured” (Catts and Zurr, 2013). The concept of growing products is an enticing one for both designers and users, with positive impacts on a number of scales including ecosystem impacts. Design and art historian Christina Cogdell (2011) has noted that scale is “absolutely critical to the theory and practice of bio-design, yet it is little mentioned by its promoters.” In the context of product design, scale is perhaps best considered in relation to scale of production. Such a viewpoint, however, must recognize the impact of this production across various scales. It suggests guilt-free production and consumption at an individual level, and at an urban scale, such production could facilitate a utopian polis that is self-sufficient, existing in equilibrium with the natural world. In this sense, the promise of bio-design is enticing, in addition to the new materials and ways of making that are being opened up to designers. It has been suggested by William Myers that “The spread of bio-design promises to be much like mechanization in the 20th century, as described by historians such as Sigfried Giedion… upending accepted practices, extinguishing traditions, attenuating natural beauties, and shaping an alien way of life” (Myers, 2012). Designer and a leading thinker in this field Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg has asked, “When working in such a future-oriented area, a key question that arises is how to inhabit the spaces of promise?” (Ginsberg et al., 2014).


Publication title

Advances in Manufacturing and Processing of Materials and Structures


Y Bar-Cohen






School of Architecture and Design


CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group

Place of publication

Boca Raton, USA



Rights statement

Copyright 2019 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Other manufacturing not elsewhere classified

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