Natural Materials / Natural Systems, a new biomaterials course in Industrial Design taught by Thomas Weis
Industrial designers make choices in the products they create that can have both positive and negative environmental impacts, affecting populations, ecosystems and generations to come. In this course, students made use of the Nature Lab aquaria inhabitants for design inspiration and learned the fundamentals of natural systems through a field visit to Tillinghast Farm. By exploring design principles from organisms to ecosystems, they were able to create projects that were situated with greater intentionality within the natural world. Students created structures and prototypes that appropriated design solutions refined through millennia of evolution, and explored materials that can be re-assimilated into the ecosystem, including biodegradable bioplastics and bioleathers.