Project For
Carleton University – Group Project

Forth Year (2020)

Key Focus
  • Biomimicry
  • Design Research
  • Ethics
Project Length
3 months
“Is biomimicry a path to truly sustainable design or is it merely the exploitation of nature masked as the newest ‘eco-friendly’ trend?”.

This collection of work was created as a group project for my fourth year Industrial Design Seminar class. The purpose was to create groups on around one of the provided themes surrounding nature and design. From there, the groups researched their theme and created a report, presentation and poster. Our group selected biomimicry as our theme, and through initial research decided to investigate some of the potential downsides of biomimicry and ethical implications, a side of the story less discussed. The final presentation was reviewed by much of the faculty of Carleton Industrial Design as well as a number of guest reviewers.

Guest Reviewers

Sirini Srinivasen

  • President, World Design Organization
  • Chairman and CEO of Lumium Design

Dr. David Kusuma, FIDSA

  • President-elect, World Design Organization
  • Vice President, Global R&D, Tupperware Brands Corporation

Dr. Stephen Verdeber

  • Professor, Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design + School of Public Heath
  • University of Toronto

Jed Looker, MDes

  • Professor, Coordinator, Human Centered Design
  • Algonquin College

Whitney Lewis – Smith

  • Canadian Based Photographer

01 Abstract

With all its fame and allure, biomimicry is being touted as the latest new design trend that marries human necessity and nature’s capability. For many years climate change and sustainability have been one of the largest concerns amongst the design community. It is often assumed, because of its innate connection to nature, that biomimicry lends itself well to these issues. But with this appeal comes a tendency to fall into the pits of the innovator’s bias. The inclination to use biomimicry at any given chance creates a tunnel vision which only allows us to see the problems easily solved through biomimicry. For designers, it can become a shortcut for execution rather than an inspiration in the broader design process. Thus, as community excitement grows and as companies continue to leverage biomimicry as a new design tool, we are faced with a vital question. Is biomimicry a path to truly sustainable design or is it merely the exploitation of nature masked as the newest ‘eco-friendly’ trend? And, if not found to be the answer to sustainability, how can we reframe the perception of biomimicry with more truth and rationality?

02 Poster

03 Report

Below is a link to the report: