By Adithan. K (B.E. Mechanical, 2014-2018)

The majesty of nature’s – Organic design

It was a graceful evening after a good day here at Tech. The wind was moist and the sunlight saturated and there I was, amidst shooting spears of cork, dodging the shots which were completely adrift.( Yet I always have this intuition that it would hit me straight) Among all these businesses I noticed some white little blossoms blooming into spectacular spots in a tree near the mess. And, that thought held me amongst raging blows and near misses of cricket balls; that held me admiring it, even though I had no specific reason to like it. It did not mean anything to me, yet I liked those white little dots, because… they were BEAUTIFUL.

Ask Google to define “Beauty” and you would find references to “Aesthetics” and when you look up the same, you will land in “a set of principles” which define the former. Yes, a set of pre-defined principles. Like, they have been already defined by someone else. That someone decides whether you like blue or pink; Mackintosh or Lollipop; whether you prefer straight puffs or Ivy leagues or curtained ones; ponytails or beehives or Updos – because someone else impregnated it to be beautiful (aesthetically appealing, to be proper) either to general mass or tailored specifically to you.  As early as Roman age, it was evident to designers that certain proportion of breadth to length of a rectangle is pleasing to everyone. That has become a thumb rule now, known as “Golden mean proportion”! (1:1.6 as a matter of fact)

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Who is that someone? I don’t know. Without controversy, I’d say it’s the nature. As my Design subject stresses, “Nature is the best designer ever out there” and that you always have to look up to it to get better designs. Almost everyone would second this idea without any hustles. Not only is he a great designer but too a gigantic, manipulative con artist who puts a smiling mask like the Joker in ‘The Dark Night’ and rip-off every living thing into the stimulation of happiness, kindness and BEAUTY!

As Arundhati Roy talks about life (only Human life, though) in ‘The God of Small Things’,

“Love.Madness.Hope.Infinnate Joy”

We are very well capable of assimilating all these stances and the great deal – sometimes all at once. The last phrase does kind of sound sad, even though it may be the theoretically happiest state to imagine. Blame it on hormones, but, if the nature is really such a great one, then why the madness? Well, It lies in two syllables – > cha – os.

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Chaos: The unpredictable nature of a complex system, whose behaviour is almost random

A one hundred per cent match to Arundhati Roy.

Why am I talking up these incoherent things? As a mechanical student, I know these by the words “design aspects”. After all, we are designing them for us – humans.

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like.

Design is how it works.

– Steve Jobs

The success of that philosophy is unquestionable. But, the underlying “induced artificial consumerism” makes it only business as always. The flowers at the mess are indubitably elegant and fascinating, but they do come with an underlying function of pollination (and, survival too). Google has given a try towards Organic design resulted in “Material design”. Without commenting on its success, we could take it for granted, that the world’s visionaries have turned towards Organic design or at least anywhere close to it.

Architects are the one who currently exploits (very well, in fact) the Organic design aspects. They even have rules for the same, which are named “Gaia Charter” and that is, to say, exquisite. But, this growing field has transcended beyond architecture. A Ross Lovegrove, dubbed as “Captain Organic” has something to show for all of us. He utterly dismisses these “fatty” designs and he emphasises only one thing:

Organic essentialism – Reducing everything down to the essentials.

He calls them as the 21st century industrial designs. It only becomes so obvious when we look at his designs:

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GO chair: This first-of-its-kind design was welcomed with open hands when first unveiled. This very ergonomically designed, three step manufactured chair is entirely made up of “Magnesium”!5

Another fine example is the “Basic” thermos flask, which he co-designed in 1990. It is considered as the most copied design till date!

On the other side, Bio mimics are considered to be an approach, than a subject. Nevertheless, this constitutes many of the ‘modern’ technology out-breaks, which all boasts inspiration from nature. It’s funny how they make it sound like “nature” was discovered by us! (That too after our divorce with her, so long ago).

One of the very famous bionic products of all time is the “Velcro” tapes which we use almost every day. Fascinatingly, it was inspired by multiple hooks in ‘burs’, when they stuck onto to the furs of the dogs.

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A huge milestone has been the collaboration between Autodesk and the Biomimicry institute resulting in Asknature – a huge repository of bio mimetic research and products being done worldwide.

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Picture : “Stickybot” using the principle of Gecko’s setae.

The terms ‘Organic Design’ and ‘Bio mimicry’ may look alike, but actually the former deals with “sympathetic and well integrated design that promotes harmony with nature “and the latter is the “imitation of models and elements of nature for efficient design and solving complex problems”.

Aren’t they a real BEAUTY to watch?

Now, coming back to the best designer awardee –  amongst greenish extravaganza, crimson warmth and black almightiness, there are certain things which should also be taken into account: Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Flus, Solar flares, asteroid collapse, supernova explosion and what not! Whether you are a Big Bang theory worshipper or a steady state prodigy, you would have to take it for granted that the whole universe is just a spectacular mess of chaos, and that our land of peace is just a tiny, tiny quantum dot amongst a grand spectacular show. A never ending stretch of space, filled with chaos and yet, a petite dot is at peace; Unaffected by wraths; sustainable, liveable, and BEAUTIFUL!

The Bottom-line?

Christopher Nolan, the mastermind gives it in two sentences:

“Mankind was born on Earth.

It was never meant to die here

I never mean, by this, to devastate this already pitiful (I don’t know who will pity whom at last), and elope to some other luxury. But, instead, you were created, but not controlled. Let’s not be the prodigal child and just look up to nature, confess, and, master the mastery of harmony amongst Chaos, because …

Only it knows how to pick a needle from a haystack.

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12Adithan.K (B.E Mechanical, 2014-2018) is a high spirited reader, enthusiastic gamer, who enjoys occasional coding, out-of-the box thinking, and often left awed by the very twisted fiber of nature and amorphously, by the scientific and engineering environment.

 

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