Biomimicry Catalog

Biomimicry Catalog

Data Visualization based on the exhibition Natureāø»The Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial

A visual exploration of the natural world's categories that are most likely to inspire new designs, systems and structures.

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The Dataset

Drawing Inspiration from Nature

Using the online exhibition catalog, I created a database of each artwork or project on display and assigned keywords that corresponded with the Linnaean Taxonomy system. Each entry in the database was mapped to a life form that inspired the object, as well as the life form's kingdom, phylum, class and order. By creating this mapping system, I'm able to explore where items in the exhibition have commonalities with other items.

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The Insights

Product Ideas from Common Sources

After mapping the exhibition items to the taxonomy system, I discovered that many designers have a bias towards the most common taxonomy categories, mammals and angiosperms (flowering plans). Because these natural life forms are so common in our daily lives, it's not surprising that they are also common sources of inspiration for product designers. However, more primitive life forms, such as bacteria, algae, and protozoa are an overlooked wealth of potential inspiration.

The Prototype

Demostrating the core functionality

After mapping the exhibition items to the taxonomy system, I discovered that many designers have a bias towards the most common taxonomy categories, mammals and angiosperms (flowering plans). Because these natural life forms are so common in our daily lives, it's not surprising that they are also common sources of inspiration for product designers.