Conscious Emulation of Nature’s Genius and The Future of Furniture

We are often looking for more ways to feel connected to nature, but with the kind of nature we like, the kind that pleases us. At home, we work hard to keep the bugs out but let the sunlight in. The potted plants can stay as long as the dirt doesn’t get too dirty. There is a constant tension between the desire to keep nature out and the desire to commune with it. Perhaps that is because we tend to build homes in a way that is so out of tune with nature. And consequently, design our interiors in a way which leaves us feeling deprived of the kind of effortless intelligence and unity we find in the immensity of the natural world. Conscious emulation of nature’s interior design genius is the core principle of biomimicry and what inspired this…chaise lounge.


This is a prototype called Beast designed by Neri Oxman at MIT. Resembling a kind of praying mantis, it is made from eight materials of varying flexibility and is designed to hug your body, reacting to each movement.

Don’t expect to find anything like it at the furniture store anytime soon. However, the idea of  furniture as a semi-animate entity which responds to human behavior is definitely something to think about.  Ms. Oxman also imagines carbon nanotube walls which breathe through pores that change sizes and clothes that have information from your DNA encoded in them and literally grow as you do. But in the meantime, while we’re waiting for the technology to catch up to the grand ideas….The question is, how can we create interiors which allow for a more intimate relationship with nature, which feel more organic and less restrictive? How can we begin to consciously emulate nature’s interior design genius in our homes now?


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