a workshop by Arndt Pechstein


We split in groups of two people. One had to close the eyes and the other choose one of the objects from nature which Arndt had prepared for us. The person with closed eyes had to make out by touch which were the main characteristics of this object. It was not about guessing what it was was but more about describing what it feels like and where the different and noticable anomalies are.

We recognised that this exercise is very good for training the senses. It was interesting how much time we took for discovering every single detail without applying any preconceived ideas from the beginning. To understand the process better, we carefully analysed every detail.

Nature in context 

We had 15 minutes to look outside for an interesting system, organism or any living or non living object from nature. The task was to observe it, analyse it carefully and then fill out a given printed form.

In addition, everyone randomly picked two words or sentences out of a selection and thought about whether this could be applied to your chosen organism.

Design challenge

With the help of another form we had to think about a concept for a living room or an office, that involved enhancing the qualities of an urban living space. We split into 3 groups and worked first theoretically on a white board, and then later practically, to build a prototype for a final presentation.

The concept of group one was about climate and temperature control. The behavior of Penguins offers a perfect example for the solution to these conditions.The idea was to create flexible living spaces which could be arranged very close to each other to loose as little heat as possible, or more widely spaced to have more surfaces where the coolness could be produced by evaporation of water.

Concept of group two was about how we can create a symbiosis between the forest and the people. The idea was to bring the temporariliy inhabited, co-working space into the trees and the forest. 

The third group thought about how urban living spaces could be more communicative. They used the phenomenom of trees talking to each other through neurotransmitters. They let mycelium grow to alert other trees about a virus or vermin. The idea was to transfer this concept to houses or cities which could be highly connected to communicate about energy supply, necessity of water or even about change in the weather pattern or fire in the neighborhood.

Arndt Pechstein studied biotechnology and bioinspiration and worked for 10 years as a neuroscientist.

He is director of  Biomimicry Germany Think Tank and founding partner of phi360. He wants to push Biomimicry to create sustainable and mission critical innovations inspired by nature. In his very interesting lecture he was talking about the condition of the world and how necessary it is to change thinking. We are part of a brilliant planet and surrounded by the ingenuity of nature. Biomimicry is a disicpline that learns from this ingenuity and takes design advice from that. How can we learn from nature and transform it into form, process and systems to create ideas which are a combination of human design and natural design. After the talk he gave us 3 tasks to do over the day: