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What’s new in biofabrication and the recreation of the living through digital design?

From the iconic objects of modernist or Pop biomorphism to the most innovative research, the Centre Pompidou-Metz presents, through 400 works by 90 creators, a fascinating panorama of biomimicry in design, from formal inspiration (such as the organic forms of the 1930s) to the creation of new materials (artificially manufactured from living organisms).

An exploration both historical and prospective created by Marie-Ange Brayer, curator, in charge of design and industrial foresight at the Musée national d’art moderne-Centre de Création industrielle (Centre Pompidou), assisted by Olivier Zeitoun.

© Pierre Paulin
© Joris Laarman

With their fascinating grotto generated by algorithms of subdivision and 3D printing of sand and paint, Michael Hansmeyer and Benjamin Dillenburger presented a new form of “natural” in 2017, a new form of mutant “naturalness.”

In the same way that Ross Lovegrove, as early as 2012, with his Corolised Chair resulting from generative algorithms, whose ornamental richness, no longer representative but generative, evoking the proliferation of corals, incorporates the dynamic process of transformation of forms in the manner of living organisms.

Involving an overcoming of the concept of form, the works of the Japanese artist and designer, Tokujin Yoshioka, made from the natural processes of growth of crystals, also combines the random to the artifact. Created in 2008, his Crystalized chair remains emblematic of this new relationship to time, integrated by biodesign. We should also mention the Bone Chair Prototype designed in 2006 with scientists by the designer Joris Laarman using algorithms simulating the natural processes of bone growth! A design with pure lines that is chilling!

© Tokujin Yoshioika
© Neri Oxman

Another landmark creation: the Mycelium Chair, developed in 2019 by the studio Klarenbeek and Dros. Resulting from the 3D printing of mushroom mycelium, this chair could revolutionize the market by offering a nice alternative to plastic. As for Marlène Huissoud, it is thousands of silkworm cocoons, varnished with a layer of natural resin, that she used to create her Cocoon cabinet (2018), claiming the slow manufacturing linked to the natural processes.

© Ross Lovegrove

Far from the original biomorphism that inspired the masters of “organic design” (Alvar Aalto, Charlotte Perriand, Charles & Ray Eames, Pierre Paulin … and consort) the line all curves and flexibility, in the digital age, nature has given way to the notion, richer and more complex, of living. Recycled invasive algae, forms in the making… between the inert and the animated, a new “artificial” nature has emerged.

Exhibition until February 6

At the Centre Pompidou-Metz

AND ALSO … Exhibition: A Chair and You, until February 26th

Stéphanie Dulout