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Window Dressing: Look How Biology Influences Design

Part of the window display
Part of the window display
© RHS, Part of the window display
Written by
Colin Buttimer
Published date
22 January 2014

Part of the window displayTomorrow (23 January), the Lethaby Gallery exhibition Big Data: Designing with the Materials of Life opens to the public. To tie in with this, Anna Buruma from our Museum and Study Collection has curated a window display on biology and design.

The window, which can be seen by the eastern entrance of Central Saint Martins, features textiles, ceramics, jewellery and other objects. It shows how teachers and students have explored natural forms for aesthetic or functional purposes.

Anna Buruma, who curated the display says: “Some pieces are purely aesthetic – there is a lot of floral patterning in design, so we’re using that. But there is also a knitted piece that takes its pattern from the ebola virus, and pots that take inspiration from psoriasis and cancer.”

Take a closer look

Professor of Ceramic Design Rob Kessler will have a print displayed in the window, and also two pieces on show in the gallery. Famous for his close-up photos of seeds, fruits and pollens, he has worked extensively with botanical scientists at Kew exploring the creative potential of microscopic plant material.

Also on display will be ‘The Milk of Human Kindness’, a piece by MA Industrial Design graduate Masami Lavault. The large wooden cow suggests an alternative scenario for dairy consumption. Rather than wasting an estimated 15 billion litres of milk a year, European households could collect dairy waste and turn it into plastic products.

Take a stroll past the window display to see these and other pieces, or drop in to the Big Data exhibition.

More information:
Big Data: Designing with the Materials of Life
Museum and Study Collection
Lethaby Gallery
Rob Kessler
The Milk of Human Kindness