When Design Meets Natural Systems…



Neri Oxman is an Israeli  architect , a brilliant designer and also a researcher  from MIT. She studied medicine in London, and is a rising star in the field of environmental design and digital morphogenesis.

She works at the edge between biomimicry, design, innovation, art and new tech.

Her group explores “how digital design and fabrication technologies mediate between matter and environment to radically transform the design and construction of objects, buildings, and systems. Oxmanís goal is to enhance the relationship between the built and the natural environments by employing design principles inspired by nature and implementing them in the invention of digital design technologies.”


(Photo: Tom Allen for INTERVIEW)

With these in mind, Neri and her group has produced many projects that are amazingly cool. They all show Neri’s idea of enhancing the relation between “natural and man-made environment”.


project example 1: Stalasso

Mineralization processes form many natural structures and introduce metals, such as gold, into a rock. The resulting rock composition is stiffer and stronger. By using the ratio of stiff to soft materials, Stalasso mimics these mineralization processes for design purposes. This leads to construction based on performance requirements. For example, a bed, a table or a building’s ceiling could be tailored to respond to different weights across its surface according to specific requirements and preferences.



project example 2:Monocoque 1



French for “single shell,” Monocoque stands for a construction technique that supports structural load using an object’s external skin.

Contrary to the traditional design of building skins that distinguish between internal structural frameworks and non-bearing skin elements, this approach promotes heterogeneity and differentiation of material properties.


The project demonstrates the notion of a structural skin using a Voronoi pattern,the density of which corresponds to multi-scalar loading conditions. Its innovative 3D printing technology provides for the ability to print parts and assemblies made of multiple materials within a single build, as well as to create composite materials that present preset combinations of mechanical properties.


(the description of the project example is quoted by Neri Oxman’s page. http://web.media.mit.edu/~neri/site/)


What Neri is doing has matched with the idea of our “lab of design”workshop. We think designers need to get a comprehensive and cross-disciplinary approach when designing. Some biomimicry, engineering,historical knowledge etc. should be involved. The future design will not only be creative. but also environment-friendly and sustainable. That’s the reason why we organize “lab of design”, to get together experts from different disciplines and address some problems we will meet with in our future design world.




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