Sunday, August 2, 2009

Loeb Collection

Came across these curious things on Our (and Your) RISD, by John Maeda. Lately, RISD's Nature Lab has been featured a lot in the public. The Nature Lab was full of all sorts of specimen, dead and alive, that students could spend some time drawing and studying. The most time I ever spent there was freshman year for my 3-D class when I drew a dead bird, which I later used as inspiration for a pouring vessel.

Never knew about the Loeb Collection until now though. According to John's post:
These shapes are not from nature … but they really are. The Loeb Collection speaks to the mathematical essence of the efficient forms of nature. As you can see by the way they naturally transform and change, they represent the elegance of our universe – always in flux and always adaptive to our surrounding environment. -JM

Loeb 1 from John Maeda on Vimeo.

Pretty fascinating. The connections between the mathematical, geometrical, natural and man-made are always stunning. I remember doing a project about the typeface, Blackletter. Blackletter was always described as "fractured," and "crystallized," so I went to the library to check out some books on snowflakes and crystals. After xeroxing a few pages of snowflakes, I sat down to make some tracings. When I overlaid the snowflake tracings on top of the Blackletter "n," I was blown away. The "n" fit perfectly into the angles of the snowflake! This proved to be true for a variety of other letters!

Quite a nerdy discovery, but I was really excited about it. I tried (unsuccessfully) to incorporate these findings into the poster I was creating. But it goes to show the prevalence of nature as a source of inspiration in all realms. I might even argue, the best source of inspiration.

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