The idea that nature might be an honored houseguest and not just something that slithers in under the refrigerator is also behind “Bio Design: Nature, Science, Creativity,” a book published last month by the Museum of Modern Art.
Written by William Myers, a New York-based writer and teacher,
“Bio Design” focuses on the growing movement to integrate organic processes in the creation of buildings and household objects so that resources are conserved and waste is limited. Some astonishing visual effects are produced as well. The book’s 73 projects, culled from laboratories and design studios around the world, show, for example, how living trees can be coaxed into becoming houses and bridges; how lamps can be powered by firefly luminescence; how human DNA can change the color of petunias; and how concrete can heal itself when damaged, like skin.
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. He also acknowledges that biodesign faces significant economic and political hurdles and must be accompanied by new regulations and financial incentives to reach its potential.
"More and more, living organisms are finding their way into all kinds of materials and processes--from buildings to clothing manufacturing to art."