New biomimetic design courses to ‘derive inspiration from nature’

THE Glasgow School of Art (GSA) is developing a series of academic courses and collaborative research practice in partnership with the Eden Project and architecture practice Grimshaw.

The courses, named Biomimetic Design, are a response to environmental challenges and are intended to derive inspiration from nature and deliver a ‘developing and investigative approach’ to design.

With the percentage of the world’s population living in urban areas expected to increase, greater synergies and dependencies are said to be required between urban and rural environments. The Biomimetic course will map an approach to design which harnesses nature to help deliver sustainable urban growth.

Over the next year the GSA will develop an initial set of optional post graduate courses. These will sit within the existing academic programme and draw across multiple disciplines from the design industry. Content will build on the Eden Project’s relationship with GSA artists and the designers-in-residence at The Eden Project in Cornwall. The Eden Project will also be developing research residences at GSA’s Highlands and Islands campus. The new Biomimetic Design course will launch in September 2022.

Professor Penny Macbeth, director, The Glasgow School of Art, said, “This is an incredible opportunity for The Glasgow School of Art to partner with the Eden Project and Grimshaw in what is a groundbreaking collaboration between world class organisations, directly engaging Glasgow School of Art’s international community of students and academics.”

Andrew Whalley, chairman, Grimshaw, added, “We are now at a critical moment in time, where the way we shape our relationship with our planet over the next decade will decide our future for generations to come. The Biomimetics Design will demonstrate how we can come together to harness our opportunities: bringing design, technology and the natural worlds closer, as well bringing greater collaboration across our design industries.”

Sir Tim Smit, founder, The Eden Project, commented, “Much has been written about being inspired by nature yet it is important to realise that in order to be able to be inspired you need to closely observe how it really is, not romantically assume you’ve understood some lazy symmetry and that will suffice. Science is confirming that human wellbeing is closely allied to our feeling at one with nature, in it and surrounded by materials and patterning inspired from it. Eden is getting involved because we believe the architect, designer, engineer and artist are fundamental in creating contentment and happiness for their fellow citizens and one hundred years from now we hope they will say of this period that it has the hallmarks of a movement inspired by the nature and a boldness of vision with beauty at its muscular heart.”