Textiles and Biomimicry

Looking to nature for the next evolution of textile design.


With an industry wide need for “the reconciliation of aesthetics and ethics,” first year MA students in the Textile Futures program at Central Saint Martins recently published their research and studio work in Biomimicry Design. Their explorations into the visual complexity, sustainable methods, and current threats to the natural world have been divided into three categories: Behavior, Body, and Space.

The collection of 19 projects is not a synchronized or finalized presentation on Biomimicry, but a peek into the concepts and directions of developing designers in progress of their graduate degrees.

In her project ‘Choreography of Life’, Yuan Shen asks if designing textiles only for a very specific function could lead to a more efficient use of materials.


Lucy Hall envisions her ‘Polymorphic Print’ as a dynamic surface design that reacts to a wearer’s emotions—blending into the background when a person feels self-concious or wants to be let alone and becoming bold and bright when a person is seeking attention.


‘The Coral Form’, by Na-Eun Hye Kyoung Cho, is a series of coral inspired corsages made of recycled plastics. The curled tendrils catch on one another forming a fashionable reef on the wearer.


Sara Vaughn conceptualizes a symbiotic relationship between garment and wearer in which her crocheted project ‘Symatic Symbiosis’ harvests kinetic energy and generates electricity when manipulated.


Inspired by the scales of butterfly wings, Atefeh Abdosalami uses monochromatic materials that reflect color due to their structure instead of having color themselves in his project ‘Structural Pattern’.


‘Natural Computing’ by Celine Marcq is a surface pattern that is digitally generated dynamically by solar energy.

You can see all of the work by downloading the Bio-Publication 2009 at the Textile Futures first year student site.

As I noted in my review of recent MFA theses from RISD, the ability to change seems key to the future of design, not just Textile Futures. Design will become increasingly interactive, responsive, and dynamic. Some day our products will have a life-cycle beyond the three step program of manufacture, use, and discharge—a unique life-cycle of their own.

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