​Biodesign: Nature + Science + Creativity by William Myers is a book published by The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and Thames & Hudson worldwide. It profiles recent design and art projects that use living materials and span a wide range of applications from architecture and industrial design to portraiture.

The 2018 expanded and revised edition is available for pre-order at MoMA

 

Overview: Biodesign is the next step beyond biology-inspired approaches to design and fabrication. Unlike biomimicry, Cradle to Cradle or the popular but frustratingly vague "green design," biodesign refers specifically to the incorporation of living organisms as essential components in design, enhancing the function of the finished work. Biodesign leaps ahead of imitation and mimicry to integration and use, dissolving boundaries and synthesizing new hybrid living objects. The book also highlights experiments replacing industrial or mechanical systems with a biological process, an approach becoming more important under the pressure of the climate crisis. The final section of the book ventures beyond functional or speculative design into the realm of fine art, presenting a range of works that incorporate living matter and foretell changes in how we might define life, identity and nature in the near future.

 

Contributing writers: Paola Antonelli, Barbara Eldredge, and Andrew Gardner

 

Many of the works in Biodesign were featured in an exhibition in Rotterdam at The New Institute (formerly the NAi) curated by the author and visited by more than 20,000 people in 2013-14. 

"biodesign is not about merely taking cues from organic structures and operations. It's about harnessing the machinery of the natural world to perform as nature does: storing and converting energy, producing oxygen, neutralizing poisons and disposing wastes in life-sustaining ways...In the wonderland of biotechnology, bacteria is beautiful, moss is electric and decorative tiles are animated." 

 

"All these works are prominent examples of a nascent aesthetic movement called biodesign, which integrates living things, including bacteria, plants and animals, into installations, products and artworks." 



 

"More and more, living organisms are finding their way into all kinds of materials and

processes--from buildings to clothing manufacturing to art." 



“The large and beautiful book by the young William Myers from New York addresses the re-naturalisation of the habitat and the close integration of nature, architecture and design.”

 

"high-minded eye candy and environmental battle cry...Myers is a deft, often-thoughtful guide. He has an unobtrusive writing style that eschews the 'gee whiz!' response that bleeding-edge design typically inspires."

"Fusing natural organisms with human innovation, these designs -- some of them far-fetched concepts, some prototypes and some completed projects -- re-imagine our relationship with the natural world." 

Sample images: click to enlarge

Lung on Chip
Lung on Chip

Wyss Institute, Harvard University

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Co-Existence
Co-Existence

By Julia Lohmann

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Eco Pods
Eco Pods

By Howeler + Yoon Architecture and Squared Design

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Moss Table
Moss Table

By Alex Driver and Carlos Peralta

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Nocturne of the Limax maximus
Nocturne of the Limax maximus

By Paula Hayes, MoMA Installation

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Oyster-techture
Oyster-techture

By Kate Orff and SCAPE

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New Institute Rotterdam
New Institute Rotterdam

Location of the first major Biodesign exhibition 2013–14

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Exploring the Invisible
Exploring the Invisible

Anne Brodie

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Microbial Home
Microbial Home

Concept by Philips Design

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Fab Tree Hab
Fab Tree Hab

Terreform One

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SYMBIOSIS
SYMBIOSIS

By Jelte van Abbema

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Local River
Local River

By Mathieu Lehanneur

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Biological Atelier
Biological Atelier

By Amy Congdon

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Half Life Lamp
Half Life Lamp

Joris Laarman

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Process Zero Proposal
Process Zero Proposal

By HOK

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SYMBIOSIS
SYMBIOSIS

By Jelte van Abbema

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​Biodesign: Nature + Science + Creativity by William Myers is a book published by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and Thames & Hudson worldwide. It profiles recent design projects that integrate biology in an original way, often to achieve better ecological performance. Examples span a wide range of applications from architecture and industrial design to the decorative and fine arts.

 

MoMA_BioDesign_2018_cover.jpg

 

"The biggest innovations of the twenty-first century will be the intersection of biology and technology. A new era is beginning."

–Steve Jobs

"If our relationship with nature is broken, this book makes us hope that perhaps we will be able to fix it from within."

–Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator of Architecture and Design, MoMA

Overview: Biodesign is the next step beyond biology-inspired approaches to design and fabrication. Unlike biomimicry or the popular but vague "green design," biodesign refers to the incorporation of living organisms as essential components in design, enhancing the function of the finished work. Biodesign leaps ahead of imitation and mimicry to integration and use, dissolving boundaries and synthesizing new hybrid objects and architecture. The book also highlights experiments replacing industrial or mechanical systems with a biological process, an approach becoming more important under the pressure of the climate crisis. The final section of the book ventures beyond functional or speculative design into the realm of fine art, presenting works that incorporate living matter or respond in a creative way to how our shared concepts of life, identity, and nature are shifting.

Contributing writers: Paola Antonelli, Barbara Eldredge, Andrew Gardner, and Tony Cho

For students, see text on collaboration and practical advice here.

"biodesign is not about merely taking cues from organic structures and operations. It's about harnessing the machinery of the natural world to perform as nature does: storing and converting energy, producing oxygen, neutralizing poisons and disposing wastes in life-sustaining ways...In the wonderland of biotechnology, bacteria is beautiful, moss is electric and decorative tiles are animated." 

 

"All these works are prominent examples of a nascent aesthetic movement called biodesign, which integrates living things, including bacteria, plants and animals, into installations, products and artworks." 



 

"More and more, living organisms are finding their way into all kinds of materials and

processes--from buildings to clothing manufacturing to art." 



“The large and beautiful book by the young William Myers from New York addresses the re-naturalisation of the habitat and the close integration of nature, architecture and design.”

 

"high-minded eye candy and environmental battle cry...Myers is a deft, often-thoughtful guide. He has an unobtrusive writing style that eschews the 'gee whiz!' response that bleeding-edge design typically inspires."

"Fusing natural organisms with human innovation, these designs -- some of them far-fetched concepts, some prototypes and some completed projects -- re-imagine our relationship with the natural world." 

Sample images: click to enlarge

9
9
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12.NEW_Klarenbeek Studio
12.NEW_Klarenbeek Studio
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Baubotanik Bridge
Baubotanik Bridge

By Ferdinand Ludwig and team

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4.NEW_Concrete Honey_Misprint
4.NEW_Concrete Honey_Misprint
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5.NEW_David Benjamin_The-Living-Hy-Fi
5.NEW_David Benjamin_The-Living-Hy-Fi
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Moss Table
Moss Table

By Alex Driver and Carlos Peralta

press to zoom
Lung on Chip
Lung on Chip

Wyss Institute, Harvard University

press to zoom
Co-Existence
Co-Existence

By Julia Lohmann

press to zoom
Biocouture
Biocouture

By Suzanne Lee

press to zoom
Eco Pods
Eco Pods

By Howeler + Yoon Architecture and Squared Design

press to zoom
Nocturne of the Limax maximus
Nocturne of the Limax maximus

By Paula Hayes, MoMA Installation

press to zoom
Oyster-techture
Oyster-techture

By Kate Orff and SCAPE

press to zoom
New Institute Rotterdam
New Institute Rotterdam

Location of the first major Biodesign exhibition 2013–14

press to zoom
Exploring the Invisible
Exploring the Invisible

Anne Brodie

press to zoom
Microbial Home
Microbial Home

Concept by Philips Design

press to zoom
Fab Tree Hab
Fab Tree Hab

Terreform One

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 BIODESIGN : Nature + Science + Creativity