Innovators are ever more aware that we rely on Earth’s complex, natural systems for our well-being, so they are tuning in, finding ways to meet human needs while working with – not against – our planet’s self-sustaining natural systems.
Bringing the outside in
‘The magic of the natural world is all around us,’ says designer Elaine Ng Yan Ling who develops textiles and furnishings that explore the connections between the environment and design. ‘Look at a pine cone, it closes in the wet, but when it’s dry, it opens.’
Elaine’s eco-conscious furnishings and textiles are a hybrid of natural materials like wood, metal and wool, manmade materials including polymers and alloys that change shape in response to their environment, and electronics. Her objects mimic the movement of the natural world: clusters of fabric blossoms move like the leaves of a tree as they sense movement outdoors; delicately carved wood panels expand and contract according to humidity levels and changes in temperature.
Elaine’s goal is to reconnect urban people with the natural world: ‘I want to weave the behaviour of nature into urban landscapes,’ Elaine explains, ‘using interactive tapestries and furnishings in urban buildings, with indoor pieces that respond to outdoor environments such as rain, sun and wind.’