What exactly is biomimicry?
“Biomimicry is a method used to translate solutions found in nature into solutions for human challenges. Take, for instance, concrete. When producing cement for concrete, a massive amount of CO2 is emitted. Recently, they discovered that when coral is growing it actually stores CO2. They have figured out the chemical process behind this. As a result, there are now two companies which capture and reuse part of the CO2 that is emitted during the production of cement.
There are also airplanes, wind mills and buildings that are based on organisms in nature, such as the new Triodos Bank headquarters. Architect Thomas Rau designed it according to biomimicry principles.”
“That is the technical side of it, but you can also apply biomimicry at system level. In order to build resilient and adaptative cities, we examine, for instance, forests and try to translate our findings into concrete solutions. We are learning that nature does not aim for maximisation but for optimization; a tree does not grow to the heavens either.
We have also noticed that there is more cooperation than competition in nature. This is much more productive and requires the minimum amount of energy. On top of that, basically everything is multifunctional. The trick is to translate these kinds of lessons and immediately incorporate them into designs and innovations that contribute to a healthy living environment.”
What is it that you find so fascinating about biomimicry?
“It combines sustainability and innovation in the most exquisite manner. On top of that, it continually provides us with answers on how to deal with all the social challenges we face. A story of hope! Melting polar ice caps and all the accompanying doom scenarios, how are we ever going to find solutions for it all? Biomimicry demonstrates that those solutions can already be found in our natural environment. All it requires is a different way of looking, thinking and designing.”