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Channeling Nature by Design

  • Philadelphia Museum of Art - Perelman Building 2525 Pennsylvania Avenue Philadelphia, PA, 19130 United States (map)

Our ever-changing relationship to nature as seen through the eyes of great designers

From the botanical wallpaper of William Morris to the streamlined cutlery of Zaha Hadid, design has always found inspiration in nature. This exhibition examines how designers of handmade and industrial objects—including furniture, pottery, kitchenware, and even a 3-D printed neckpiece—have responded to the beauty and fragility of the natural world.

By bringing together nature-inspired objects from the past century and a half—and examining the forces that shaped them—this exhibition offers a fresh look at the power of design.

In the last few decades, Marc Newson, Zaha Hadid, Doug Bucci, and others have grappled with what nature means in our tech-driven world through varied approaches. Some designers allude to a loose concept of the organic through playful forms that suggest living organisms, while others emphasize the responsible use of materials and energy. More recently, artists have taken advantage of 3-D printing and computer algorithms to create works rooted in the principles of nature.