Our vision captures a world teeming with complexity, yet our brains naturally focus on what piques our interest, simplifying our perceptions. This subconscious process is deeply influenced by the traditional geometric and reductionist approach to nature. In product design, particularly when drawing inspiration from the natural world, designers often tend to distill intricate organic forms into basic geometries and adapt materials for their projects. However, this prevailing approach may hinder our ability to truly grasp the complex reality of nature, which holds great potential for revitalizing the aesthetic language in design.
In response to this, I conducted a thorough phenomenological study in 2011 to learn from nature’s approach to “form,” aiming to uncover a fresh perspective. I meticulously observed various natural phenomena, including birds and plants, chosen randomly. The insights from these observations revealed that nature’s method of dealing with form significantly differs from that of designers, with growth being a fundamental differentiating factor as opposed to the assemblage in design.
The culmination of this study is presented as “The Theory of Design Naturally,” which serves as a platform to introduce product designers to an analytical and practical understanding of diverse form paradigms found in nature. This theory encompasses form-giving processes, geometry, gestalt, visual abstractions, function, and more.
Abstract: In the context of product design and when it comes to studying the physical forms in nature, aesthetic norms sometime can function as the filters that make the complex structures of reality seem only as the basic geometries, proportions and patterns in our eyes. In other words, although we look at the complex structure but the mind only picks the. It can even get more problematic when we take this manipulated, simplified and reduced perception of a phenomenon as the reality of it. This means we are depriving ourselves of seeing a huge aesthetic portion of reality in natural phenomenon which, could be of a great potential for pushing the boundaries of the aesthetic norms in the field of product design. This paper proposes an approach that revolves around minimising the dominance of reductionist mind in observing and studying the mater of forms in nature in order to get closer to the complex reality of them. This approach is presented under the title of The Theory of Design Naturally and consists of a collection of principles that hypothetically would help designers to deal with the complexity of forms with less reductionist approach.