Mimicking nature in man-made product designs has led to some of the greatest and most enduring inventions or products that exist today. In the modern era especially, designers are open to ways they can work together with our environment– rather than against it.
What is biomimicry in design?
When Swiss designer George de Mestral noticed how burs from a burdock plant stuck to his clothes and dog’s fur, he used this as inspiration for his most prolific invention – velcro. This was first adapted by NASA, as a solution to anchoring equipment in zero gravity, before going mainstream in the 1960s. Now, it provides a classic example of biomimicry at work.
As naturally curious people, designers are constantly trying to innovate to combat problems efficiently. In a practical world of budgets and time restrictions, biomimicry can be a welcome source of inspiration. Evolution instinctively chooses the path of least resistance: the fastest, simplest and lowest energy solution.
We delve into some other examples of how nature has provided innovative solutions to product design problems. Importantly, we look at how brands can potentially leverage this way of thinking to combat design challenges in various luxury industries.
Why do designers use biomimicry?
We know that careful research and development is crucial before finalising a design, so we rely heavily on the expertise of our design teams to come up with the best possible solutions for our clients.
While nothing is a substitute for a broad range of expertise and experience, inspiration can occasionally strike from unexpected places. This requires a certain amount of ‘outside-the-box’ thinking to come up with the most practical, innovative and cost-effective solution. If design thinking can identify the ‘what’ and ‘why’, biomimicry can provide the all important ‘how’.
As well as encouraging innovative thinking, nature often encourages the simplest and fastest solution to whatever problem you are trying to troubleshoot. The natural world & organisms essentially create the most efficient solutions because the circumstances in which they need to survive are inherently severe. In comparison to humans, nature’s solutions are fundamentally timeless.