WIT Press


The Dynamical View Of Natural Form

Price

Free (open access)

Paper DOI

10.2495/DN080141

Volume

114

Pages

10

Page Range

129 - 138

Published

2008

Size

266 kb

Author(s)

T. Irwin & S. Baxter

Abstract

Design is implicated in most of the social and environmental crises confronting us today. This paper argues that in order for designers working within all areas of specialty to design more sustainably and responsibly, they need to fundamentally change the way in which they think about form. A better understanding of natural form and the way in which it comes into being can inform new ways of conceiving form in the designed world. The work of poet and scientist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) and modern-day physicist and philosopher Henri Bortoft offers new perspectives on the dynamic unity of natural organisms. The emerging field of biomimicry and biomimetics is based upon the study of natural forms and processes found in nature, but has most often given rise to technology-based solutions that do not reflect an understanding of the unity of the phenomena. Such solutions are not sustainable and fall short of their potential for sweeping change because they have been conceived and applied in a limited context within an outdated design paradigm and a reductionist worldview. This paper reviews Goethe’s concept of ‘whole’ organisms and their temporal, iterative and dynamic nature and shows how a shift in perception of form can inform a new design process in which ethics and sustainability are embedded. Keywords: natural form, dynamic form worldview, morphology, biomimicry, design, sustainability, Goethean science, other ways of knowing, holistic thinking. 1 Introduction This paper is based upon the following contentions: 1) we live in a world of form; both natural and man-made 2) design is primarily a form-giving activity 3) design is implicated in most of the social and environmental crises

Keywords

natural form, dynamic form worldview, morphology, biomimicry, design, sustainability, Goethean science, other ways of knowing, holistic thinking.