• Program 2009-10

Biomimcry - Principles of Nature Influencing Design


March 23, 2010


6-8 pm


New York University School of Law, 40 Washington Square South, 218 Vanderbilt Hall

According to Janine Benyusis, biomimicry is an emerging discipline that studies natures best ideas and then imitates these designs and processes to solve human problems. Although biomimcry is considered a relatively new science, Benyus popularized the theory in her 1997 book, Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, the practice has already borne many cutting edge applications. In many ways biomimcry is as old as the earth itself. Evolution through a system of trial and error over millions of years has created many of the most advanced designs we know. Animals, plants and microbes are the consummate engineers. By studying the natural world we can learn which designs work and which designs are innovative and sustainable.

Applications range widely from architecture, urban planning and product design to software development and organizational evolution. Some examples are: the echolocation of bats, inspiring a cane for the visually impaired; spider webs, inspiring parachute design; mussels bissell threads that enable it to stick underwater to slipper surfaces, inspiring adhesive glue; plant leaves, inspiring solar cell orientation; and much more. The panel will discuss how nature has influenced their projects and how biomimcry, cradle-cradle and green chemistry concepts are influencing product design and development.


Michael Block, Chief Executive, Kinetix; Founder Sustainability Practice Network


David Benjamin, Director of the Living Architecture Lab at GSAPP and Principal at The Living; Martha Skinner., Co-founder, Field Office; Natalie Jeremijenko, Professor, UCSD Global Distinguished Visiting Professor, The College of Arts and Science, New York University; Mark Dorfman, Green Chemistry Naturalist, Biomimicry Guild