The emerging discipline of biomimicry as a paradigm shift towards design for resilience

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The paradigmatic situation in which the design disciplines are immersed as part of the human-driven global crisis - environmental, social and economic - demands responses coming from innovation and radical change. In this context the discipline of Biomimicry emerges as a response and a new design paradigm, and can be a powerful tool for design for sustainability, and furthermore, for 'resilient design'. Biomimicry inspires designers to learn from nature rather than use it as resource for materials and disposal. Natural systems are the playground for an astonishing amount of living forms in perfect balance with natural forces, living in a network of mutualism and synergy, in a sort of perpetual cycling loop. We can learn from nature not only how to design better materials and artifacts, but also how to design better processes, systems and conducts that lead to better behavioral patterns. This paper explores the emerging discipline of Biomimicry as both an evolutionary and revolutionary step for design and a necessary path to a sustainable future, from an epistemological standpoint, within a paradigm model. It presents main points which make Biomimicry a substantial set of ideas that can lead to product and material innovation and a paradigm shift in design, and explores different perspectives to provide theoretical frameworks to the discipline. Finally, this paper discusses the prospect of biomimicry for building resilient and sustainable futures, linking biomimicry to the concept of 'resilient design'.




Fiorentino, C., & Montana-Hoyos, C. (2014). The emerging discipline of biomimicry as a paradigm shift towards design for resilience. International Journal of Designed Objects, 8(1), 1–15.

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