the search for industrial inheritance
long and fruitful history
decorative (William Morris - Evenlode pattern 1883)
Joseph Paxton 1851 structure for the Great Exhibition
Made of cast iron framing
inspiration from the latticed veins of the Giant Victoria Waterlily
Crystal Palace earning Paxton a knighthood.
systematic and mollecular level inspiration
Janine Benyus and the Biomimicry approach
Ross Lovegrove ‘Captain Organic’
Organic Essentialism, Go chair made from Magnesium
The David Brent of the design world.
They all use natural inspiration for a the creation of a single object
Can natural models help us understand the transitions between designed objects?
BMW 1500 debuted at the 1961 Frankfurt Motor Show.
C pillar feature
(after BMW design director Wilhelm Hofmeister)
To give the vehicle more dynamism.
1. Split Squircle at center points;
move halves outward
2. Join Squircle halves with
Standard Squircle (X = Y)
R1 = Y/4
R2 = 3X
These optimised bands use standard
offsets for the side radius R2, while the
corner radii are halfway between the
offset and scaled versions.
Correct Band thinner than X/10 Too round Square edges
Nokia have their own DNA elements
More focussed on brandable stylistic elements.
make a product recognisable
Typically these teams are moving into brand departments
Is there something more fundamental about the success and failure of products?
what do they pass onto their successive generations?
The case for Darwin: (as the established evolutionary model)
Evolution by natural selection.
Paraphrased as ʻsurvival of the ﬁttestʼ (Herbert Spencer)
Many phenotyptic variations occur via genetic mutations during gestation
The phenotype which is best suited survives to adulthood and reproduces.
Others are less fortunate and are weeded out.
Darwinism has been used in abstraction to justify the ruthless practices of capitalist monopolists such as Andrew Carnegie and
John D. Rockefeller.
There is a clear parallel
This cycle is repeated
with the ﬁttest genetic packets being passed on
genetic makeup of a population drifts towards an optimum solution.
genetic drift can be seen in the evolution of the digital camera
First protoype built in 1975 by Steve Sasson of the Kodak Labs
created a new string of DNA, a moment of instantaneous speciation.
Each had a different cluster of mutations
exhibited different phenotypic traits.
Over time these ʻless ﬁtʼ mutants were weeded out.
todayʼs consumer digital camera portfolio.
genetic drift becomes visible,
resulting in a common ﬁttest phenotype.
So far, so Darwin.
the parallel begins to dissolve.
Design is a conscious pursuit with a creator.
In this tableau, designers are gods,
and we are in the realm of ʻintelligent designʼ
1. The design process is an evolutionary accellerator
user research, focus groups, market research, ethnography.
The ʻRʼ before the ʻDʼ.
Pre-gestationary cycles of study make the
Darwinian model a ʻrigged lotteryʼ.
2. greenhouses can modify the environment allowing oganisms to ﬂourish
leading to unnatural selection
Through careful use of branding, marketing, advertising and a whole host of nefarious tricks
to control and modify an environment prior to launch
3. the environment exerts changes on an object through itʼs life
which can be passed onto the next generation.
inheritance of changes during life is distinctly non-Darwinian
Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet Chevalier de la Marck
Aged 16, he bought a horse and rode across France to join the army
Took command of his company after it was reduced to 14 men
He was promoted to Lieutenant on the spot.
A friend playfully lifted him up by the head to celebrate, rupturing the lymphatic glands in his neck, putting him in hospital for a year.
Decided to pursue a career in Botany
Deﬁned the term ʻinvertebrateʼ, ʻarachnidʼ and ʻcrustaceanʼ.
He was the ﬁrst to use the term ʻbiologyʼ in itʼs modern sense.
The ﬁrst man to propose a coherant theory of evolution, which we now know it to be untrue, but how does it play out in the industrial
Lamarck deﬁned two forces:
the complexifying force - organisms tend towards the more complex
the adaptive force - the environment forces change upon the organism
Organisms develop through their lives.
These developments are passed to the next generation
in a similar way
once a product is released into the environment, it can be observed and critiqued.
Habits, modiﬁcations, preferences
can be fed back into the next generation
Increasingly we donʼt have to wait for a generational cycle
devices are born unﬁnished or empty
as software becomes an integral part of many products
they follow the ʻbetaʼ approach
allowing upgrades, updates and modiﬁcations during life
The genetic equivalent of growing a pair of wings upon reaching a cliff face.
This is all very well for software elements, but what about industrial design?
we could provide chunks of genetic code
To allow this environmental agility
Jim Jannard (ex Oakley)
The ultimate modular approach to industrial design
The customer can then conﬁgure the parts into a huge variety of combinations,
Full hollywood rig
Oh, and two units can be bolted together to shoot in 3D!
Make your own mutants.
Lamarckʼs three wives died
he went blind before dying in 1829.
His family couldnʼt afford to bury him.
His home and books were sold at auction and his body was buried in a temporary lime pit.
a rightly deserved renaissance
in the ﬁelds of soft evolution and memetics
1 Be willing to launch a risky mutant, it may just succeed
2 Make sure you make it genetically agile
3 Have a think what its kids might be like
So, three simple rules:
1. Be willing to launch a risky mutant, it may just succeed
2. Make sure you make it genetically agile
3. Have a think what itʼs kids might be like