Tranquil furniture collection is inspired by an enchanting moonlit lake

There are many nature-inspired designs these days, but many of them take that inspiration too literally. Sometimes they’d literally have the shape of a rock or the moon, or they might even use actual natural objects like leaves or twigs. While there’s definitely nothing wrong with that kind of interpretation, there’s also something to be said for gentler nods toward natural things and phenomena. These can lead the mind the wonder and wander, picking up hints and sparking the imagination to make connections and draw their own conclusions. Sometimes they might make cherished memories surface; other times, they become reminders of the more important things in life. This bowl-shaped table and lamps, for example, try to nudge our minds towards calmness and peace by subtly calling to mind the otherworldly serenity of a lake reflecting the moon in the dark of night.

Designer: Yifu Guo

The side table of this Lake Collection of minimalist furniture is already quite interesting on its own. Having a bowl shape, though not unheard of, isn’t exactly common. Tables with this form often have a central cylinder for its lone support, but the Lake side table has two rectangular legs on each side holding it up.

The glossy and reflective surface of the table is meant to resemble the dark waters of a lake at night, though you probably wouldn’t be able to make that conclusion immediately unless you knew the name of the furniture collection. It’s that kind of indirect and subtle association that makes such designs open to more than just one interpretation, which makes them more effective at conveying messages. In this case, the simplicity of the table’s form becomes not only a tribute to minimalist design but also a reminder to keep our lives simple.

Once you add one of the two table lamps that are part of this collection, however, the moonlit lake inspiration becomes a bit more pronounced. The yellow circular glow of the lamps reflected on the table’s surface immediately calls to mind the unearthly light of the moon on dark waters. The reflection is clear, smooth, and undisturbed, hinting that the waters are similarly clear and calm, a metaphor for calming our minds at the end of the day.

The Lake Collection’s simple design is meant to encourage reflection, especially of the world and nature around us. But even if you miss those cues, the attractive forms and sleek materials still make the furniture a sight to behold, no matter where you place them in the room. It’s a nature-inspired design that, just like nature itself, doesn’t shout to call your attention and simply immerses you in its beauty and wonder.

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Seashell-inspired chair combines digital and traditional techniques for a sculptural design

Chairs are one of those things that almost literally disappear into the background when in use, mostly because your body blocks most of it from view. Of course, there are chairs that were designed right from the start to be eye-catching and conspicuous, either because of their size or because of their design. This rather unusual chair is definitely both, with a wide body and an unconventional construction. Despite its almost alien-like appearance, this chair is actually inspired by a common Earth creature, one that happens to spend its entire life lounging on sea floors. Using modern digital techniques and more conventional fabrication processes, it demonstrates how nature can inspire not only breath-taking designs but also functional and even comfortable, though you might not exactly get that feeling just by looking at it.

Designer: Ernesto Pastore

There are many instances in nature where artistic forms develop over millennia of evolution, and one of the most common ones are the shells of bivalve mollusks. These marine lifeforms have turned their exoskeletons into something that does more than just protect their soft bodies inside. These shells have evolved to become elegant forms that have long been held in high regard for their unique contours that look like a metaphor for the undulating rhythm of the seas.

Admittedly, it’s not exactly that easy to discern the inspiration behind this Seashell Chair. Its ode to bivalves is mostly expressed in the dual curvatures that intersect to form the vertical and horizontal axes of the chair. The distinctive ribbed forms of a seashell are also represented in a nontrivial manner as a collection of bent steel rods that make the chair look more like a wireframe than a finished piece of furniture.

The manner of the chair’s production is also a bit unusual, at least as far as seating furniture goes. Its form is actually a product of computational design tools and algorithms rather than a direct plan from the designer’s hands. The result is a unique assembly of outlines that was then 3D printed first to serve as a guide for craftsmen. Transitioning from digital to traditional, steel rods are then carefully bent and welded to produce the final form of the chair. The regular variants are then powder-coated in black, white, or silver, but a stainless steel version uses a satin finish to make it more suitable for outdoor use.

This chair definitely stretches one’s imagination on how it relates to seashells, but both man-made and natural objects carry a certain organic elegance that binds them together. Despite the way it looks, the intersecting outlines actually provide stability and comfort, making the chair an excellent attention-grabbing choice for both indoor and outdoor spaces.

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This sleek mouse design was inspired by a graceful creature of the sea

As computers become a more integral part of human life, we have finally become more acutely aware of the design flaws in the devices that we use to communicate with these machines. Keyboards and mice haven’t changed their designs significantly over the decades, but manufacturers, designers, and especially users are feeling the pain of using these peripherals, quite literally even. While it might be harder to change the design of keyboards drastically, mouse designs are quite ripe for the picking. There are a few ergonomic mice coming out of the market and even more concept designs that try to reinvent the venerable computer pointing device. This mouse design, however, doesn’t stray too far from the norm but still delivers a form that is regal yet almost alien, just like the sea critter it takes inspiration from.

Designer: Hrishab Prasad

Truth be told, there are quite a few mouse concept designs that seem to be based on aquatic animals, which isn’t that surprising if you think hard about it. Fish and aquatic mammals are known for their sleek forms and their ability to move smoothly, qualities that are highly desirable for an object that needs to also move smoothly on your desk. Some of these animals also look alien to our eyes, which is also a perfect way to insert a bit of a “wow” factor into the design that reimagines the mouse (which is named for a land-based mammal, ironically).

Mylio takes its name from the scientific name of the stingray fish, one of those alien-like critters that are still a bit more familiar given their larger numbers and more visible presence in sea waters. The stingray is characterized by a very fluid and dynamic form, which is why it also lends its name to an iconic speedster on wheels. It’s definitely a fitting design to use for a mouse, especially one that can also look elegant on your desk when you’re not using it.

A stingray, however, is quite notable for the wing-like fins on each side, which is translated directly to this Mylio concept design. Some ergonomic mice already have something almost similar to these “fins,” but they’re often only applied on one side of the mouse. This limits the design to be favorable to right-handed users only or, on rare occasions, right-handed users only. In contrast, this concept design’s symmetrical fins make it possible to use the same mouse in either hand. These fins serve as resting spots for thumbs and palms.

Mylio uses other concepts, like a fingerprint sensor in the middle that can be used to unlock computers in a secure manner. Its core design, however, is really its novel shape, which is both attractive and more open to be used in either hand. Whether it is actually more ergonomic, however, is a slightly different question, especially considering how it doesn’t deviate too much from the typical shape of a mouse that is considered to be non-ergonomic by nature.

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This gorgeous floor mirror transports a lake shoreline into your room

Mirrors are great ways to add some accents to a room. Whether they’re actually functional or just decorative, their reflective surfaces alone are enough to bring some life to a space through a play of light, colors, and shapes. Even better, however, if a mirror is both useful and beautiful, which calls for some creative thinking and design. Most of the time, furniture makers focus on embellishing mirrors with rather fanciful frames, but some have also dabbled in changing the very shape of the mirror itself. This floor mirror, for example, might be a tight fit for some body types because of its irregular shape, but its play on forms creates an almost magical illusion of looking down at a lake’s shore from high above.

Designers: Maryna Dague Nathan Baraness

Very few things in nature have straight lines to the point that one famous architect was even quoted to associate curves with the divine. Even some natural things that one would think to be straight would have a few bumps and waves that make them look and feel more, well, natural. Despite their name, shorelines are, of course, never straight, and it’s that natural irregularity that this beautiful mirror uses to create a captivating visual inside any room.

The shape of the mirror defies definition. Despite its irregularity, there is nothing jarring or disconcerting about its lack of corners and straight lines. Just like water in its natural state, it seems to have no discernible pattern to its curves. And just like water, it causes our minds to associate the loose shape with feelings of calm and mellowness.

And then there’s the base, which is a solid block with sharp edges and a well-defined form. It contrasts with the mirror’s fluid form and is almost as if the mirror simply cut through a chunk of the base. Many shores look like this when viewed from the skies above, and it’s a reminder of how water can also be a destructive force, even when it’s slowly eroding stone and ground over time.

The “Lakes” collection of sculptural mirrors also includes other mirror shapes and sizes, some representing small ponds while others are like long gulfs. The bases can be made of different materials as well, from wood to metal to marble. One design even looks like a body of water to fit with the theme. No matter the shape or the material used, the Lakes mirrors successfully take a page from Mother Nature’s design book to create a piece of furniture that has a natural grandeur that instantly fills the room.

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These 3D printed clutch bags inspired by kelp look like treasures born of the sea

Humans have proven to be creative and imaginative creatures, producing ideas and designs that can blow minds and inspire spirits. Despite all our advancements and achievements, however, we still can’t hold a candle to Mother Nature’s designs. We can try to approximate those designs, though, or at least utilize naturally-occurring patterns to inspire our own works. These mini clutch bags, for example, are evidently inspired by organic patterns and structures, like something from underwater flora and fauna. Such designs are extremely difficult and expensive to produce using traditional methods. Ironically, it is more expensive and more wasteful if complicated designs like these are produced in small amounts. These kelp-inspired fashion accessories, however, are not only intricate but also sustainable, and they are made possible using yet another marvel of human ingenuity, the 3D printer.

Designer: Julia Koerner

3D printers are truly works of technological wonder that opened the floodgates of creativity for many people. Although it’s still not as fast and as ubiquitous as something like a Star Trek replicator, it has already paved the way for designs and products that would have been not only unfeasible but even impossible using traditional manufacturing techniques. More importantly, it has also given designers the opportunity to create and test different options that include sustainable materials and nature-inspired designs.

This Kelp Mini clutch is one such example of such possibilities turned into something tangible and marketable. The organic patterns are based on 3D scans of natural topologies from kelp collected from the Malibu coastline in California. The unique geometries not only give the clutch a certain natural charm but also make the bag a little bit more usable. The voids created by the patterns not only let you have a slight view of what’s inside the bag, it also makes it more lightweight.

Such a design would have been nearly impossible with normal manufacturing processes, especially given the material used to make the bag. Like all other products from the brand, the Kelp Mini is made from sustainable materials like bioplastics. All parts of the bag, including the hinge, closure clasp, and interior pocket, are 3D printed, making the clutch completely sustainable.

More than just an example of nature-inspired design, this small clutch is a demonstration of the potential 3D printing technologies. It allows not only the use of sustainable and unconventional materials but also allows more efficient and economical production of items that don’t rely on massive pipelines. You only print what you need or what has been ordered, reducing waste on all fronts. It even changes the very design process, allowing designers to make rapid changes and present the customer with a virtual version of the design, all before even a single part has been printed.

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This Bluetooth speaker and wireless charger is like a piece of sculptural art

Wireless speakers have been on the rise in the past few years, especially with the mass exodus of headphone jacks from smartphones. Because of that, manufacturers have started playing with different designs, going from traditional boxes to cylinders to all sorts of shapes and forms. In many cases, like smart home speakers, these audio devices have taken on more artistic forms, functioning both as tech equipment as well as room decor. Some even hide in plain sight as picture frames or sculptures. This wireless speaker concept is cut from the same cloth, providing a beautiful art piece that is both a Bluetooth speaker you can carry around as well as a wireless charging pad for your devices.

Designer: Jong Han Lee

Most portable speakers come in rectangular or cylindrical forms. These, after all, are the easiest to produce and the most convenient to put in any location. Ever since their popularity exploded, however, designers have started to go beyond the norm and explore different styles and aesthetics. Some are inspired by nature, while others try to pay homage to art movements of the past. All of these with the goal of creating a product that isn’t just functional but also pleasing to look at in any space.

DROPS, as its name would imply, is inspired by the gentle ripples created when something small falls on a larger body of water, represented by the concentric circles in the center of the base. Just like how the water eventually settles down and returns to its calm state, the rest of the base outside the ripples is flat and smooth. Coincidentally, this part of the base also functions as a wireless charger, so you can easily put your phone or earbuds down on it while playing some music.

The actual speaker itself is actually the tetrahedron that stands upside down on its top, representing an object falling into a pond. Like many wireless speakers these days, it uses some fabric material to cover its surfaces. The only parts that remain uncovered are the playback buttons on top, and the curved tip below that acts as the wireless charging contact point for the base. This would also be where strong magnets are located that keep the speaker from toppling over.

Yes, the speaker can actually be removed from the base if that wasn’t yet evident. This allows DROPS to be used anywhere at any time, though charging outdoors could prove to be difficult when the battery runs out. The loop on top is specifically designed to be easily hooked onto a carabiner or strap. It’s no larger than most portable speakers, though its actual audio output can’t really be guaranteed. Then again, there are speakers of this size that can produce decent quality sound, so that might not be that big of a problem.

The DROPS speaker and wireless charger concept isn’t exactly mind-blowing or game-changing in terms of innovation, but its distinctive design will definitely make it an eye-catching piece in any room. The use of a flat circular bed to both represent water and serve as a wireless charger is definitely genius. Its very design and reference to water produce an almost calming effect, making it an excellent centerpiece when listening to some soothing and relaxing tunes.

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This digital organism lights up your garden and survives in any weather without any humans to help

Move over Tamagochi. This “digital organism” can live in nature and survive any weather without any human intervention while looking great at night, too!

Art installations that blend technology and nature are nothing new, but many simply take inspiration from nature in terms of design or structure. These installations also take up a lot of time and effort to maintain, not to mention electricity that could be used for more important purposes. That’s where Werc’s collection of light and sound installations comes in, taking inspiration from nature not in the way they look but in the way they “live” in nature, just like normal biological critters.

Designer: Werc Studio

Tane is described as a self-reliant art installation and a “digital organism” at the same time. It’s completely electronic, with no organic components, but it mimics how groups of organisms behave, especially when the weather is involved. At its most basic, each Tane, which is the name for both the group as well as individual “organisms,” is a solar-powered outdoor LED lamp. What makes it different is how it responds to the weather and to its neighbors, almost like a living creature.

During the day, it tries to soak up as much sunlight as it can while emitting a gentle noise that could call to mind daytime critters like insects and even birds. Tane starts its light show at night, but how it displays its lights is dependent on so many different factors, including the weather, that it almost feels random. Each night can be a different experience, and when all units in a Tane are fully charged, the art installation goes over the moon with a dazzling display of lights.

Tane is actually the third of Werc’s “Lumo” family of digital organisms. All three are also self-sufficient to a certain degree and communicate with each other like a flock but also respond to their environments in different ways. Pixi attaches itself to trees and reacts to temperature and humidity, while Lily floats on water and reacts to waves. Tane and its cousins not only how art and technology can be inspired by nature but how they can also learn from it to produce visually satisfying and also sustainable designs.

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Luxury Yacht Club shaped like a manta ray poises gracefully above the ocean

Luxury Yacht Club Manta Ray

It might be no match for Jeff Bezos’ superyacht (which is big enough to probably have its own yacht club inside it), but there’s definitely a lot that’s awe-striking about Thilina Liyanage’s Luxury Yacht Club. Inspired by the shape of a manta ray, the club sprawls over a chunk of the coastline, providing an area for yacht-owners to mingle while their million-dollar marine-vehicles stay docked around the manta ray’s periphery. The club extends over both water and land, looking almost like a manta ray swimming towards the shore with its tail facing the distant watery horizon.

The Luxury Yacht Club comes from the mind of Sri Lanka-based Thilina Liyanage, an architect and 3D visualizer who’s begun to impress with his nature-inspired architectural marvels. His past projects include a beachside restaurant/shack shaped to look like a massive goldfish, and a set of restaurants inspired by a pelican’s beak, located on the precipice of a cliff. The Luxury Yacht Club is yet another expressive vision from the designer, of a waterfront property inspired by a water-based animal. The resemblance to the manta ray is spot on, with the elaborate use of the right colors, volumes, proportions, and curves.

Luxury Yacht Club Manta Ray

Luxury Yacht Club Manta Ray

The manta ray-shaped building floats on a wooden pier built on the coast of an ocean or sea, with its large mouth acting as the structure’s entrance and the tail extending off to form the club’s branched piers where the yachts can dock. While the yachts remain docked, the club’s large canopy provides a great space for owners to mingle around. Its spacious design is big enough for a concierge, lounge, bar, restaurant, and a host of other facilities one could expect from an exclusive luxury club meant for millionaires.

Luxury Yacht Club Manta Ray

Liyanage tends to resort to the use of bamboo to realize his organic architecture designs, but that’s not the case with the Luxury Yacht Club. Made to be much larger in size than some of his other structures (and to also be able to withstand winds and tides), the club comes fabricated from large metal pipes that are curved to form the manta ray’s basic frame. The pipes are then clad with a canvas or cloth to give it volume while making it look quite like the manta ray’s white underbelly. The fabric helps diffuse sunlight during the day, illuminating the club’s interiors, while allows light from the inside to diffuse outwards at night, making for a wonderful aerial view!

Designer: Thilina Liyanage

Luxury Yacht Club Manta Ray

Luxury Yacht Club Manta Ray

Luxury Yacht Club Manta Ray

3D architectural renders get surreal with these nature-inspired concrete designs!

Sometimes the most beautiful architectural structures are simply fictional designs, awaiting to manifest into reality. Whenever I see such designs, I am filled with eagerness and impatience, “When and where will I get to see these breathtaking buildings? “And Amey Kandalgaonkar‘s exquisite renderings are one such example. His surreal designs vary from a home snugly fitted into a rock, a traditional pagoda with a modern twist, to a house designed especially for Mr. Elon Musk! Inconceivable, unique, and deeply imaginative, almost all his designs seem to be at one with nature. Natural formations aren’t seen as intrusions here but as an intimate part of the home space.

Almost surreal in appearance, the ‘House Inside a Rock’ by Amey Kandalgaonkar creates a contrast – using a natural stone shape carved from years of battling with nature and a concrete and glass interior to carve out the living space. Taking influence from the rock-cut tomb architecture of Saudi Arabia’s Madain Saleh, this ancient archaeological site is the perfect mix of the old and the new. The designer of the concept says, “When I first saw the images of rock cut-tomb architecture, I knew I had to use it as an inspiration in an architectural project. There is a huge amount of architectural heritage laid out for us by past builders and I believe they did a great job of integrating built environments in natural elements.”

Kandalgaonkar imagined his ‘Dragon House’ to be located on the edge of a cliff, with breathtaking views of a perfectly turquoise waterbody. It will remind you of a lethal, scaly dragon lounging on the ocean, basking in the sun, planning its next hunt! Although it does seem a little impractical and difficult to construct with concrete, I would certainly love for this design to see the light of day.

Inspired by his travels through China, Kandalgaonkar created a traditional pagoda with his own modern twist. He envisioned it being built from concrete! He said, “While the entire world was swept by the modernist movement, China was largely untouched by modernism. So when I visited various ancient Chinese monuments, I couldn’t help wonder how a modernist mind would interpret traditional Chinese architecture.” Rooftop gardens, open concrete slabs, and imposing concrete columns characterize this unusual but intriguing modernist pagoda.

Built on an imposing cliff, this house looks exactly like a massive stingray! Kandalgaonkar employed brutalist design techniques to create this concrete architectural wonder, equipped with a gorgeous infinity pool and floor-to-ceiling glass windows. I’m sure lovers of sea life would be going gaga over this one! But even if you aren’t one, you can’t help but admire this home.

Another exceptional design by Kandalgaonkar, this design titled ‘House in the Desert’ imagines a shape carved out by the strong winds that relentlessly blow across the desert landscape. The design wraps around a natural rock formation, almost preserving the texture of the original formation. Almost embracing the rock, the design plays with the juxtaposition of the old against the new and how we see a future where they both could coexist in peace

This astounding ‘Crater Home’ is a delight because it’s been designed especially for Elon Musk! Notice the little Tesla parked on the side? Kandalgaonkar recently read that Mr.Musk was selling all of his houses, so he immediately set about designing a unique home especially for him. He combined a UFO and a meteor crater, designing a spacious home with a tempting little pool as well!

What started off as a ‘Tube House’ ended up as this intertwining concrete monster! Huge tubes entangle into one another like a bunch of snakes, rearing their heads into the sky! As imposing and unusual as it seems, I do wonder what this structure would serve as? Would anyone consider making this their next home? Maybe count me out though…

Partially inspired by the ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey in York, Kandalgaonmark designed this house inside the ruins of a church! The beautiful arches serve as a base for the ground floor as well as the upper storeys of the home. Concrete slabs (that almost remind me of glamping trailers) function as the first and second storey of the home, with the rustic ruins of a church giving it an almost Medieval allure!

Inspired by the work of Gaudi, Kandalgaonkar designed the ‘Inner Sanctum’. The bone-like concrete pillars give the entire structure a very Gothic impression, with beautiful marble statues placed between the arches. According to me, this structure surely deserves a spot in Barcelona!

‘The Rock House 3’ is an entangled concrete structure placed deftly upon desert rocks. Supported by pilotis, the house seems like a natural extension of the desert landscape, rising subtly above the rocks, creating a home inspired by the network of roadways in Shanghai.

Check out more ground-breaking architectural designs that are sure to inspire you!

This vase is a container for nature, inspired by nature!

Take a glance at the Gont vase and it’s easy to tell what it’s inspired by. The vase comes with a layered plywood construction and a pattern that closely resembles a pinecone, giving the vase a nice touch of bio-mimicry while also making it as pretty and alluring as the plant you place within it.

The Gont’s raw, edgy, wooden design is perhaps best suited for small, non-flowering trees. The vase comes with its signature wooden outer, and a cylindrical sheet-metal inner container to actually hold the plant. At a little over a foot tall, the vase is ideal for keeping on mantelpieces… preferably ones that get a lot of light so that it can then catch those beautiful sharp shadows thanks to its multiple pinecone-inspired facets.

Designer: Michael Samoriz