While trying to think of a natural condition that could influence the interior, as I sifted through numerous articles on some of my favorite organisms, it was the memory of how flower heads move to follow the sun that kept reoccurring in my mind. Each flower and leaf move independently to follow the suns daily path. I thought about how we could redesign the hardware for solar panels to be fixed on a base that could flex and sway (more than just a simple pivot from left or right) to follow the suns path and thus maximize their efficiency. I also thought about the amazing creeping vines found in the rain forest that literally lasso other plants and tighten their grip on them to pull themselves up from the forest floor toward the canopy. If we could learn from how these plants harness enough solar energy even in an area so heavily shaded as the forest floor, we could develop some of the most efficient solar energy systems thus far. We may also learn from the structure of the creping vines how we could effectively use solar panels (using the hardware system I described above) on the sides of homes as well. Looking at leaf structure and shape might also call for new thoughts on the form of PV panels as well. After all, the entire existence of a plant depends on the sun, and they have been converting solar energy into usable fuel way before we humans had even contemplated the idea of a panel that captured the suns energy, or even electricity for that matter. One of the keys to their success is in the shape of their flowers and leaves. Plants are a true testament to the “Power of Shape”.
This Ted Talk helped me understand how we can learn from other systems that surround us and apply in a very practical way technologies that doesn’t require heavy machinery and just involves processes that require thoughts and specific steps to do it based on observation. The best quality that a designer can have is observation. This should help us integrate knowledge from the natural world to solve design problems with another approach. One great sample was the green chemistry, when she said that spider’s silk is five times stronger that steel. This makes me think that there’s an impressive amount of other facts about nature that we as designers don’t study, and that we need to know to properly apply bio mimicry in our designs. It is needed a specialization after general studies of design to have credibility that our designs are based on solid concepts.
As I was saying goodnight to my youngest son immediately after arriving home from the film series (well, with a small detour to celebrate Anna Will's birthday) I told him about the assignment in hopes that he might help me with some inspiration. He immediately had a great idea. He told me that spiders spin silk that is five times stronger than steel. Even though this repetition of an amazing fact didn't direct me to a line of thought to fulfill the assignment, it did make me feel confident that Forsyth County is doing a pretty good job with my son's education. The inspiration came later while I was shoveling horse manure out of the trailer and into our garden. Daylilies produce blooms that only last for a day, but the quantity of blooms that they produce give the illusion of magical flowers that open in the morning, close at sunset, and reopen the next morning. This illusion inspired the building material on my wish-list. If a roof or wall covering could automatically respond to changes in light, temperature, or precipitation, it could create a climate and/or light control system which would be powered and programmed by natural elements. Before I copy and paste my reply each week I take a look at what everyone else, or at least Kelly, has written. It was nice to see that she and I had eventually gotten to a similar place, but on different paths, and she described it much more beautifully than I. “Flex and sway” sounds so much more like a living entity than the static, inanimate objects we currently inhabit.
When I was younger, I was not the best student. I was always staring out the window instead of doing my math. It's not that I couldn't do my math, it's just nature seemed so much more interesting to me than the repetitive math problems. I think that's why I became a designer. I loved to watch nature. Most of us ignore the interaction between us and the natural world yet it teaches us so much, watching a beaver weave its dam or birds their nest. They work with nature, instead of against it as man had done for so many centuries now. We think we are smarter, but how smart are we really? Kelly always has great ideas. I love her idea about solar panels, the flexible and the contour. It's not that man can't do it like that, they just won't. It's not a cookie cutter shape that they can mass produce and see a profit margin for the general public. People pay a lot of money for artwork because of its uniqueness. Its not mass produced, but that is what our building industry has evolved into, a business that we can capitalized upon with the least about of raw materials and labor. I think the challenge with designers today is how do we be creative enough to offer better choices that work within an established framework that man has developed into a building industry. Looking to nature supplies us inspiration into form and function, but how do we duplicate the photosynthesis process into a stagnant building process? I like the idea of buildings suppling its own energy through capture, storage, and supplying. I think a fluid system like water can meet some of these needs. Water absorbs energy, it collects energy, and its fluid to supply energy where needed. Now how do we make it interact with the build's structure. That's something to think about.
During this semester and watching these series of films, it takes us to the point that we know about the importance of nature as well as the critical situation of our natural environment. Now it is the time to think about the solution to change the current situation as an interior designer. This TED talk addresses to an interesting concept, inspiring by nature in our design, biomimicry. Janine Benyus explains some examples of biomimicry that some of them are examples of using biomimicry concept in design: self-assembly, co2 as a feedstock, solar transportation, the power of shape, quenching thirst, metals without, mining, green chemistry, timed degradation, resilience and healing, sensing and responding, growing fertility, life creates condition conducive to life (vs. exclusive). For design based on the biomimicry concept, interdisciplinary researches are necessary which biology or natural science is a serious part of it. As a designer I need to know more about the natural systems so that I can interpret them in my design. Since I am working on lighting design I am trying to find a solution to bring natural light into spaces, so that plants can be grown inside the building without the actual sunlight. I came up with the idea of reflective surfaces like what we see in nature, the reflection of Sun beams on ocean water and its penetration into deep of the water. They have already designed the tubular daylight devices that do the same, but I think if the whole ceiling is covered with this tubular systems then it doesn’t need to have openings on the ceiling and any connection to the outside can bring light into the space. I think a surface made up of tubes like sponges which inside surfaces are covered by reflective materials can be the solution. It is a brain storming and I need to think more about the detail of it.