design and cultures 2 home

Biomorphic Styling

From Da Vinci's flying machines to Gaudi's catherdral buttresses based on human tendons, designers have long looked to nature for inspiration. In the 1990's, as a backlash against the genericism of Modernism and it's emphasis on clean, stark lines, a new emphasis on organic forms developed.

The 1990's marked an era of usability, honesty and environmental concern; consumers were becoming more technologically sophisticated. Capitalizing on these occurrences is what is known as 'biodesign', fore fronted by designer Luigi Colani and the Canon Camera. Biodesign's rounded, more organic shapes and stylings lent itself to greater usability, less resistance and greater harmony with nature. Biodesign can be seen in everything from vacuum cleaners to iMacs". people.bu.edu/burbank/pdf_downloads/PrdDsgn_Sample.pdf

"Nature is the starting point. This is the central concept in Prof. Luigi Colani`s philosophy of bio-dynamics. Colani, who gains much of his inspiration from nature, stresses that his designs consist of shapes based on the creations of nature: "I do not more than imitate the truths revealed to me by nature!" colani.ch/english.htm

More about Luigi Colani:


Other suggested links for biomorphic design and architecture:



Modern Sculpture

Geesh, I'm meant to cover "modern sculpture" in half of a one-hour lecture? Luckily we've covered some of the major turning points previously - the Cubist influence, for example on Russian Constructivism and Italian Futurism; the "readymades" of Marcel Duchamp; minimalism and abstraction (which we'll be covering more next week).

I think that the best way to tackle such a broad subject in such a short time is to look at a couple of significant 20th century sculptors:

Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988) American-Japanese sculptor and product designer

"Isamu Noguchi sought to make sculpture useful in everyday life, and his furniture and interior designs are an important part of this project. Noguchi most actively worked in this field during the 1940s, creating furniture and interiors that displayed the biomorphic imagery of his contemporary sculpture. After the Second World War Noguchi traveled to Japan, where in 1951 he created the first paper and bamboo Akari lamps. Noguchi continued to design new Akari models for the rest of his career." www.noguchi.org
Google Image search for isamu noguchi





Henry Moore (1898-1986) English Sculptor, painter

Moore was from a very working class background, with left-wing ideals and a stong work ethic. Watching a documentary on his life, I was very surprised to hear of his time as a bayonet instructor during WWI, as his work has always struck me as very gentle.

He established a home/workshop known as Perry Green where he worked for many decades producing some of the world's best recognised modern art sculptures. His work ranged in it's level of abstraction, from stylised but recognisable draped figures to the more familiar 'blobs with holes'.
henry-moore-fdn.co.uk ( this site has some 360 degree panoramas and a great range of images and info)
Google Image search for henry moore

Robert Klippel (1920-2001) Australian Sculptor

Australia isn't exactly well known for it's sculptors. Perhaps this is partly because large scale works are difficult to transport and we're so isolated? One Australian-born sculptor did, however, have an impact on modern sculpture - friend and collaborator with Surrealist artist James Gleeson, sculptor Robert Klippel had a long and illustrious career. He started out as a figurative woodcarver, but moved on to making assemblages of metal, wood and plastic 'found objects'.

retrokat.com quite nice sites

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