Natural Structure and Form
For over twenty years I have been facinated by natural structure and form and nature’s logical and functionalist approach to how it constructs itself. A thesis written in 1994 explored how natural form and structure had influenced furniture design thru many thousands of years but the research I carried out into the works of scientists such as Darwin or D’Arcy Thompson through to visionaries like Buckminster Fuller has stayed with me all those years. I often think that all the knowledge acquired by designers, scientists and more recently digital researchers pales in comparison to the millenia of evolutionary wisdom embued in the natural world around us.
Nature constructs itself with minimal materials, in the most logical and intelligent way. At the end of an animal or plants lifecycle it is absorbed back into the system producing a closed loop of recycled material and yet nature is not without beauty. The aesthetics surrounding evolutionary structures are extraordinarily beautiful. Take Diatoms for example. They are a form of algae or phytoplankton that inhabit our oceans, fresh water and soil. Constituting an estimated 45% of total oceanic primary
production they are essential producers with the food chain and are enclosed within a cell wall made of silica called a frustule.
It was these frustule’s which captured my imagination 20 years ago because of their incredible beauty and diversity of form and I named one of my first lighting products after them. The ‘Diatom’ light was inspired not only by the form of these frustules but by the translucency of the microscopic images in research material. Having been around since the Jurassic period it seemed to me as though they had mastered the forces of sea pressure, gravity and force dynamics to evolve into such into pure, essential structures.
Thinking about my design influences over the years, from Scandinavian culture, Italian flair and manufacturing ability to the many great architects of the 20th century I feel it is these simple unicellular organisms and their astonishing beauty that inspires me most to this day.