The Nature of Design

Creating pieces that mimic nature is customary in the art world. Whether one is sketching a character design for a supernatural odyssey or creating an abstract sculpture out of a chain link fence, the influence of nature may come into play.

When an artist conceptualizes an idea, it’s likely she’ll reach for organic shapes and patterns of movement. Even architecture, while often thought of as an explicitly geometric construct of organized measurements, can benefit from more natural elements. Subtle curves and asymmetry can break up the rigid quality of man-made shapes, making a building feel more connected to earth and imagination.

The fashion industry is also enamored with nature, and some of the results that flit down runways create an aesthetic that is distinctly reminiscent of flora, fauna and other natural phenomena. It’s not uncommon to see models that resemble woodland nymphs and whimsical water spirits. A collection created by Iris Van Herpen was made to be a three dimensional manifestation of sound waves. Some of the pieces are sleek and architectural, echoing the hulls of insects or the sleek glide of scales. Others are more light and diaphanous like wings or porous like honeycomb.

While the avante garde nature of high fashion runways is often outside the sphere of practicality, it’s a shimmering example of how artists glean inspiration from Earth. If you’re a designer that’s in need of some rejuvenation, consider stepping outside and examining the life in your own neighborhood. You just may surprise yourself and find a muse scurrying on the ground or floating with the clouds.

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