Biomimicry in Design - look to nature first

'Mist Capturing Surface' by Robyn Tayler Payne 

'Mist Capturing Surface' by Robyn Tayler Payne 

CSM Graduate Robyn Tayler Payne of BA Ceramic Design, had her project, 'Mist Capturing Surface, featured at the London Design Festival 2016 in association with Designers Block, OXO Tower Wharf. She took inspiration from nature through biomimicry.

With the idea of utilising wasted mist for irrigation in the Namib desert, Robyn developed a ceramic design using a glaze with hydrophobic tendencies, combined with 4000 semi-spheres on the surface that make up the water transportation system. The curved design further increases surface-area for water capture and provides a dynamic product for capturing mist effectively, without drag and wasted water residue.  

The project was initially inspired by the Darkling Beetle, which gathers water through nanoscale bumps and a hydrophobic surface on its back. 

- Referenced from: Robyn Tayler Payne

Biomimicry – by definition, is sustainable innovation inspired by nature.  

Janine Benyus, a natural sciences writer, spoke about the importance of Biology in design at TED in 2009. Pointing out innovations that were first inspired by nature, Janine asked: "if nature has perfected the nuances of survival through simple design solutions, should we not look to it for inspiration in answering our own questions?"

The area of biomimicry has grown extensively in the past five years with room for further application. Recently, the discovery of a desert plant species has inspired research at Durham University and sparked conversation around its application in potential clean water collection systems – hopefully in the Namib desert as well.  

Syntrichia Caninervis uses tiny fibres, attached to the rips of moss leaves known as awns to harvest fog and mist droplets. We'll leave you with the inspiring mechanics of this discovery.

Syntrichia Caninervis fog droplet collection in real-time - Zhao Pan & Tadd Truscott.