Throughout our collective history, across all cultures, and in all types of products, the inspiration provided by the natural world around us has found its way into our artifacts. The pendulum always swings from strictly literal motifs to more abstract inspirations: even some of our first recorded artworks like the Lascoux cave paintings depict a more gestural abstracted animal form. Architecture, being the design discipline that tends to withstand the ages best, has seen plant motifs move from the delicate fronds of Corinthian columns, to the filigreed opulence of Rococo palaces, through the sinewy sculpted structures of Art Nouveau, to our present highly organic sculptures from Zaha Hadid and Frank Gehry. The work of Andy Goldsworthy in the Fine Art category exemplifies a modern approach to Naturalism: incorporating the elements of nature through the filter of man’s imagination.  All product categories draw from this powerful and ubiquitous source to some degree, although generally Product Design has moved towards more rational gestures in the last decade. UI Design and Digital Design has been the least affected by this Movement, likely due not only to the difficulty in approximating organic forms, gestures, and textures with a grid of pixels, but also because these disciplines strive to become the domain of thought, reason, information, and rationalization: all of which can be at odds with the ordered chaos of the natural world. Also, although this movement is extremely long-wavelength, the most successful consumer products heavily edit this stylistic theme, at most using discreet influences of Naturalism in balance with other themes. Products defined purely by this Movement are typically highly polarizing:  when was the last time you bought anything designed by Colani? (Sorry Colani…) However, Ross Lovegrove and Karim Rashid usually find interesting ways to balance Naturalism with other modern motifs.

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4 Comments to “NATURALISM”

  1. Leif says:

    Thats funny, you only ever hear about Minimalism, or Modernism….I’m sure there are lots of “isms” that affect design. This one seems so obvious but you don’t notice it until someone points it out…thanks!

  2. I applaud what you are doing. I love your site and admire the passion and focus it took to put the content you’ve got so far together.

    • AWOLtrends says:

      Thanks Rita! It is definitely a passion, and there was a real vacuum of this kind of aesthetic discussion in the design world.
      -AWOL Trends

  3. Colani Fan says:

    >when was the last time you bought anything designed by Colani? (Sorry Colani…)

    Luigi Colani is still active and currently designing products in China.
    He recently designed an e-cigarette for Duvence: