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Design based on nature – a literature investigation

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conference contribution
posted on 04.11.2016, 11:21 by Fran Conrad, Vicky LofthouseVicky Lofthouse, Carolina Escobar-TelloCarolina Escobar-Tello
This paper discusses the findings of a doctoral literature investigation considering design practice inspired by Nature into education. Academic and mainstream commercial publications related to Bio-design, Bionics, Biomimetics, Biomimicry and Nature Inspired Design form the basis of this investigation. Several approaches are compared and discussed to determine whether they are suitable for design education and capable of fostering sustainable design thinking. Current sustainable design education in the UK is explored to determine whether the identified current sustainable design methods are consistently embedded across the years of an undergraduate design degree or rather seen as an add-on to traditional design methods. The investigation concludes with 3 core questions that form the basis of further investigations. 1) Are design methods involving inspiration through nature used successfully in sustainable design education? 2) Could the integration of design based on nature lead to consistent inherently sustainable design practices. 3) Could this approach foster collaborative cross-discipline design projects at undergraduate level?



  • Design

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18th International Conference on Engineering and product Design Education


CONRAD, F., LOFTHOUSE, V.A. and ESCOBAR-TELLO, M.C., 2016. Design based on nature – a literature investigation. Presented at the 18th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2016), Aalborg University, Denmark, 8-9th Sept.


Institution of Engineering Designers


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at:

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This is a conference paper.




Aalborg, Denmark