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Bio Design: Nature + Science + Creativity Hardcover – December 31, 2012

5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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"bio design is not about merely taking cues from organic structures and operations. It's about harnessing the machinery of the natural world to perform as nature does: storing and converting energy, producing oxygen, neutralizing poisons and disposing wastes in life-sustaining ways...In the wonderland of biotechnology, bacteria is beautiful, moss is electric and decorative tiles are animated." -The New York Times

"More and more, living organisms are finding their way into all kinds of materials and processes--from buildings to clothing manufacturing to art." -The Wall Street Journal

"Fusing natural organisms with human innovation, these designs -- some of them far-fetched concepts, some prototypes and some completed projects -- re-imagine our relationship with the natural world." -Popular Science

"All these works are prominent examples of a nascent aesthetic movement called biodesign, which integrates living things, including bacteria, plants and animals, into installations, products and artworks." -Smithsonian Magazine

"high-minded eye candy and environmental battle cry...Myers is a deft, often-thoughtful guide. He has an unobtrusive writing style that eschews the 'gee whiz!' response that bleeding-edge design typically inspires." -The Architect's Newspaper

From the Author

Biodesign is the next step beyond biology-inspired approaches to design and fabrication. Unlike biomimicry, Cradle to Cradle or the popular but frustratingly vague "green design," biodesign refers specifically to the incorporation of living organisms as essential components in design, enhancing the function of the finished work. Biodesign leaps ahead of imitation and mimicry to integration and use, dissolving boundaries and synthesizing new hybrid living objects. The book also highlights experiments replacing industrial or mechanical systems with a biological process, an approach becoming more important under the pressure of the climate crisis. The final section of the book ventures beyond functional or speculative design into the realm of fine art, presenting a range of works that incorporate living matter and foretell changes in how we might define life, identity and nature in the near future.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: The Museum of Modern Art, New York (December 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870708449
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870708442
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 8.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,392,227 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Bio Design is an optimistic look at the future of design; no longer just tasked with creating objects, designers will harness their skills and technology to bring us back to nature, healing our planet in the process. Author William Myers highlights a vast number of recent art and design projects that will leave you feeling energized and hopeful.

The book is broken into five sections, making for a digestible read. Though mostly focused on architecture and design, one of the sections, Dynamic Beauty, highlights the burgeoning relationship between artists, technology and nature. The artworks range from blissful (delicate terrarium sculptures) to completely macabre (think, leaches). The images are fantastical, and might make you want to break the bank to visit some of the pictured locations in person--the Cattedrale Vegetale and the Baubotanik Tower are now on my bucket list.

What I like most about Bio Design is that it is a serious, thorough endeavor that manages to bring out the kid in the reader. It makes you want to get your hands dirty, play with bugs, and get lost in the woods. Above all, Myers gives hope that humans can realign themselves with nature, reforging a connection that very well might save the world.
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Format: Hardcover
Myers has combined an incredible array of biologically inspired projects spanning art, architecture, design, fashion, engineering, and whimsy. This book is not simply a wonderful collection of cutting-edge objects, processes, and enigmas -- something to skim leisurely -- but also a multifaceted examination of basic assumptions about our material world, the world of high art, and even modernity's basic concept of "body."

Taking his time, never forcing a given issue, Myers steps through project after project with cool and easy to follow prose, often letting the large photographs and infographics speak for themselves. Read cover to cover, *BioDesign* morphs from an art/design catalogue into a cohesive argument that the postmodern world of technoscience, deep ecology, "green" everything, and synthetic biology will not fall apart due to our hubris, because we are not a blind collective. Some of us are engaged in making money; others, the type of traditional art gallery art that is not featured here.

In the middle, innovative design (whether practical or highly speculative -- "design fiction") is turning toward human, animal, botanical, fungal, and microbial bodies to reexamine how we might make our everyday world. What can we learn about clothing, or transportation from bacteria? What will future biomedical devices look like, when we all know our personal genomes? Should we grow our houses? Are whole processes of generation and decay more aesthetic than artificial cuttings from those processes? How can we engage better -- visually, haptically -- with the invisible networks inside our own flesh?

*BioDesign* does not pretend to have the answers, but it offers many intriguing places to begin formulating them.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bringing together work by artists, designers and scientists from around the world, this excellent book delves deep into the integration of the natural world in design projects as far flung as renewable, biodegradable fashion; towers and bridges formed from live trees; and ad campaigns grown from a humble petri dish. There's a lot to think about here: the artists and designers featured in this book make an excellent case for why we can never divorce ourselves from the living, breathing natural world and why the future of our planet depends on innovative, biological solutions to the world's most pressing design problems.
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Format: Hardcover
As makers, the concept of manipulating material is core to the process of discovering its potentials. What Myers does so brilliantly is shift our anthropocentric view around, to recognize how biological our worlds are ALL THE TIME, and that when we try not to escape this reality, new practices emerge. I appreciate the multiple layers he's willing to pull back just to see how messy this phase of a new paradigm looks like. An important survey that will invigorate for years to come.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Beautifully depicted and organized! Stretches the imagination and brings hope for a green future. Especially fond of Seattle artist Allison Kudla's work on page 222. How fitting that the power of this artist's work and credentials (U Washington PhD in DXArts) was recognized by the scientists at the Institute for Systems Biology where she now works.Bio Design
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Format: Hardcover
This mind blowing book features dozens of design projects that incorporate living materials. From buildings grown out of trees to clothing made from kombucha mushrooms to awesomely weird bacteria art, Bio Design examines a growing trend and points toward a future where technology and nature seamlessly converge. Can hardly wait.
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