You cannot deconstruct unless you know how to construct. - Alexander McQueen

Design and Organic Forms permalink

Even under a microscope, Nature’s lessons in design range from simple structures to complex patterns. German (Prussian) zoologist Ernst Haeckel’s Art Forms in Nature was originally published around the turn of the 20th century and influenced practitioners of Art Nouveau such as René Binet and Louis Comfort Tiffany. Haeckel’s artistic rendering of the “structural peculiarities” of organisms emphasized the ornamental aspects of natural forms. Browsing through Art Forms in Nature provides me with all manner of design ideas for garments, interior decorating, character sketches and sci-fi landscapes or architecture.

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“Discomedusae” from Ernst Haeckel. Art Forms in Nature Prestel Publishing, 2004

René Binet’s jewelry, interior design and architecture were directly influenced by Haeckel:

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entrance to the Paris World Exposition in 1900 by RenĂ© Binet, based on Haeckel’s drawing of a radiolarian. From Ernst Haeckel. Art Forms in Nature Prestel Publishing, 2004

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RenĂ© Binet’s designs for electric lighting, Paris.

A chandelier designed by Constant Roux hanging in the Oceanographic Museum, Monaco was also modeled from a Haeckel drawing:

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“Discomedusae”, detail. From Ernst Haeckel. Art Forms in Nature Prestel Publishing, 2004

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the Oceanographic Museum chandelier from From Ernst Haeckel. Art Forms in Nature Prestel Publishing, 2004

Apart from the purely aesthetic, Haeckel’s illustrations of microscopic organisms included practical structures that can be seen in modern architecture, such as Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes. Fuller himself was a true believer in Nature’s elegant efficiency and based many of his designs on observations of the natural world.

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“Phaeodaria”, detail. From Ernst Haeckel. Art Forms in Nature Prestel Publishing, 2004

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Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome, centerpiece of the U.S. Pavilion at Expo 67 in Montréal

What could be mistaken for a helmet:

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“Cyrtoidea”, detail. From Ernst Haeckel. Art Forms in Nature Prestel Publishing, 2004

The following are reminiscent of David Lynch’s interpretation of Guild Navigators from Dune:

ernst haeckel like david lynch interpretation of guild navigator from dune 1.jpg
“Cubomedusae”, detail. From Ernst Haeckel. Art Forms in Nature Prestel Publishing, 2004

ernst haeckel like david lynch interpretation of guild navigator from dune 2.jpg
“Cubomedusae”, detail. From Ernst Haeckel. Art Forms in Nature Prestel Publishing, 2004

Taking cues from organic forms results in some of the more beautiful and innovative design concepts. For example, Tomomi Arata’s jewelry seems to be grown in and harvested from the ocean:

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Tomomi Arata “treasures from under the sea” www.deuxpoissons.com

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Tomomi Arata “pearl ring” www.deuxpoissons.com

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Tomomi Arata “garnet sands ring” www.deuxpoissons.com

tomomi arata can ring with coral deuxpoissons.JPG
Tomomi Arata “can ring with coral” www.deuxpoissons.com

tomomi arata treasures from under the sea 1997 fvandenbosch-nl.jpg
Tomomi Arata ring www.fvandenbosch.nl

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Tomomi Arata “stamping can ring” www.deuxpoissons.com

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Tomomi Arata brooch, 2004 www.marzee.nl

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6 Responses to “Design and Organic Forms” 

  1. D.Roux Says:

    I have somthing very special (mix of plain Gold and ” coquillage”,,
    then I got married………………..

  2. Sherry Says:

    I absolutely love the work of Tomomi Arata, and I would really like to exchange e-mail with the artist - perhaps to buy but especially to learn how she constructs her work - please e-mail me if you know how to contact Tomomi Arata!!! Thanks for posting these photos - very inspirational!

  3. Alexandre Gagnon Says:

    hello !

    I want to purchase a Tomomi Arata ring. If someone can help me, please do it !

  4. Bill Says:

    Mobilia Gallery in Cambridge, Mass. carries Tamomi’s work. You can see their website here: http://mobilia-gallery.com

    I don’t think they have images up of the work right now, but I just saw some in the gallery a few days ago. their contact info is on their page. They’re always very helpful!

    Great article, by the way! Thanks so much.

  5. Public Domain Nature Illustrations from 1904 | Qipsy Says:

    […] http://styleskilling.com/2006/12/31/design-and-organic-forms/ […]

  6. Brianna Says:

    I love Ernst Haeckels drawing and ideas. Tomomi Arata designs are as beautiful as nature itself. I am looking to learn more about the architects that designed the old houses in the city of Orange, Santa Ana, Fullerton, etc.. Any suggestions about where to look for photographs and vision-ideas going on in the minds of the zietgiest of the tim would be appreciated. Thank you.

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