Biomimicry: a “trend” of the last 250,000 years

Dayna Baumeister

Biomimicry—from the Greek, bios, meaning “life”, and mimesis, meaning “to imitate”, is an emerging discipline with an ancient practice. Since humans first wandered the plains of Africa a quarter of a million years ago, we have turned toward our fellow planet mates for guidance on how to live well in the places we inhabited. Throughout the millennia, nature has offered lessons learned for the borrowing. Yet, the rise of the industrial revolution yielded a shift from nature as mentor to nature as resource, the consequences of which have both led to the complete colonization of the planet by Homo sapiens, and significant indications that this wholesale strategy may not be in our or the planet’s best long-term interest.

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Bringing i2® to another level, Kaleidoscope takes inspiration from the serendipitous pattern of a multicolored, leaf-strewn forest floor and allows random mixing of i2 tiles in four colors to create a unique look every time. Designed to be installed in any order, the tiles comprise a highly efficient and sustainable system that further enhances selective replacement capabilities.

Over the last 15 years, curious designers and innovators of all walks of life have been revisiting the inspiration and guidance from the time-tested strategies of the other 30 million species on Earth. We recognize biomimicry today as the conscious emulation of nature’s genius. Media is filled with amazing, hopeful stories from around the world of how designers, engineers, entrepreneurs, and biologists are asking nature for solutions to some of the world’s most critical sustainable design challenges. Through careful emulation of biological strategies, the wisdom of the planet is changing everything from the way we create color, communicate, and package and transport goods, to maintaining health, designing cites, and growing food. Inspiration from the smallest of organisms like termites and bees and sponges are changing the way we design buildings, manage traffic, and improve ventilation. While whales are teaching us to better harness wind, forests teach us how to manage industrial systems, and lessons from deep sea vents are transforming energy production.

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Inspired by the principles of photosynthesis and the growth patterns of ivy, Sustainably Minded Interactive Technology devised a means of applying photovoltaic technology to vertical spaces in an aesthetic way. Solar Ivy is a customizable, non-toxic and completely recyclable modular system that brings a technology traditionally restricted to rooftops to almost any architectural surface.

By reconnecting nature with what it means to be human, our opportunities for fostering a world mentored and empowered by nature’s genius abound. And this potential lives within all of us. The next opportunity you have to spend time in nature, don’t forget to ask, “how would nature solve this?” Her answers might just create the foundation of your next brilliant and sustainable innovation.

For more information about biomimicry and the trainings and certifications that Biomimicry 3.8 offers, visit www.biomimicry.net

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