Is Nature the Future of Design?

Micène Fontaine, March 5, 2020

March. The scent of honeysuckle colors vivid memories of the treehouse in the woods where I used to play as a young boy. In the spring, wild honeysuckle would come back to life to carve out a room - just for me - where I would play for months to come. 

Atlanta Botanical GardenSpring is around the corner, and mother nature is once again - effortlessly it seems - getting ready to put on a show. Architects, artists, designers, gardeners, poets, and scientists alike have long been inspired by nature and still are. As humans, we have long relied on the plant world to heal, protect, and thrive, yet we have also, it seems, forgotten many of the lessons learned along the way. From biophilia to biomimicry to biodesign, the beauty of nature-inspired solutions is that they have a proven track record, can do wonders alone (for our health and well-being), and can also be augmented with the power of science and technology. Sites like are making it easier than ever before for us to (re)learn from nature, and books like Julia Watson’s Lo-TEK are encouraging us to (re)learn from indigenous building techniques. 

Whether you go for the low-hanging fruit of incorporating nature in your designs, decide to look into using more vegan materials such as leather made from cactus, or go for the high tech materials from the plant world stemming from the work of nanobiotechnologists such as Oded Shoseyov, spring is a beautiful time to look to nature. Personally, I will go visit the “Learning from Nature: The Future of Design” exhibit here at the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA). 

Serenbe, GA - LightpostAn easy way to (re)learn from nature (and earn HSW CE credits in the process) is to get involved in our “Change by Design” food-for-thought-and-action series. Especially the session on Urban Livability (with Lisa Waxman) and the session on Biophilia and the Wisdom of Nature (with Barbara Huelat). You can even participate from your smartphone while talking a walk around your neighborhood, your local park, or deep in nature :-)

Whatever you feel inspired to do, here is to spring, to looking back and (re)learning from nature to think ahead.


:Food for Thought and Action