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Nature in design

Powers, Alan, 1955-

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ISBN 10: 1840910461 / ISBN 13: 9781840910469
Published by Conran Octopus, London, 1999
Condition: Very Good Hardcover
From Owl & Company Bookshop (Calvello Books) (Oakland, CA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Quarto in black boards; DJ is gold with gold spine; illus. (some color); 160 p., 29 cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. A very inspiring work. Excellent color photography. A bright very good (+) copy in good (+) DJ. Minor wear to DJ top edge of spine and cover; minor wear to DJ and book edges; else tight copy; can be placed in a protective mylar sleeve. Bookseller Inventory # 83150

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Nature in design

Publisher: Conran Octopus, London

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Good

About this title


Nature is the ultimate inspiration for artists, graphic designers, fashion designers, and interior decorators. By seeing lavish color photos of nature's influence on where we live and what we wear, it's easy to understand today's big return to natural design. You'll get to examine a saguaro cactus as a model of skyscraper engineering, an airport inspired by bat wings, and a London apartment inspired by cliff-dwelling tribes. Then you learn what influences you as, for example, you view the many natural objects that curl and coil into spirals (shells, nests, flowers, feathers, ferns, galaxies, hurricanes, the DNA molecule). Or, ask yourself why broccoli forms a fractal, or how a bird feather makes a perfect kind of clothing.


Nature in Design cleverly juxtaposes images of things natural and man-made: an armadillo and the hooded roof of Jørn Utzon's Sidney Opera House, the Finnish woodlands and an interior by Alvar Aalto, a bird's nest and a "cocoon lounge" from the 1960s, a fish skeleton and Santiago Calatrava's Lyon Station. The photographs alone will amuse and amaze, but Alan Powers's book could also serve as an insightful, intelligent introduction to basic principles of design, which are nearly always based on or in reaction to the natural world, as those principles have shifted over time.

Drawing often surprisingly sound connections, Powers examines the patterns and forms found in nature and how man has imitated them (or attempted to do so) since the beginning of human creativity. The double helix form underlies a Renaissance staircase at Pozzo di San Patrizio in Italy; animal skins are imitated in textile designs not only for the aesthetic impact the patterns provide but because they are structurally effective; illustrations in children's books and the colors of traffic signs are conceived and designed with our natural associations to such images and colors in mind.

From the Fibonacci sequence to fractals, from the Golden Section and the spiral of a nautilus shell to the structural tension in a cobra's skin, from Sir Thomas Lipton's tree house to Alice Waters's organic revolution, from Le Corbusier's chapel at Ronchamp to the Versus line of makeup by Versace, Powers's interests are wide-ranging, his discussions thoughtful and refreshingly intricate. --Liana Fredley

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