Materials & Surfaces

Design-inspired Nature – Aguahoja by Mediated Matter Group

Nature-inspired design research group, Mediated Matter, mimics nature’s material intelligence to create the world’s most organic artificial designs

Aguahoja is an award-wining sustainable material research project by MIT Media Lab and Mediated Matter Group.

Formed and led by Neri Oxman, the Mediated Matter group focuses on “Nature-inspired Design and Design-inspired Nature”, conducting research and experimentation at the intersection of computational design, digital fabrication, materials science, and synthetic biology, applying the knowledge across multiple scales.

Aguahoja Pavillion by Mediated Matter Group
Aguahoja Pavillion by Mediated Matter Group

Mediated Matter design approach enables the mediation between nature, objects, and humans, with the mission of enhancing the relationship between the natural and anthropogenic.

Aguahoja (water-leaf) by Mediated Matter and MIT Media Lab is an exploration of Nature’s design and comprises of a collection of natural artifacts, digitally designed and robotically manufactured out of the most abundant biomaterials on the planet: cellulose, chitosan and pectin, the same material found in tree, insect exoskeletons and human bones.

 Aquahoja Pavillion by Mediated Matter Group
Aguahoja Pavillion by Mediated Matter Group

The project is done to promote the natural processes in the field of design and construction, hoping to create more sustainable practices in the industrial world by replacing traditional material which are not bio-degradable with some with much lesser environmental impact.

The Aguahoja structure’s skin is composed of flexible 3D printed bio-composite materials with functionally graded mechanical, chemical, and optical properties. These materials modulate their properties according to heat and humidity and naturally biodegrade with water.

The project develops a material ecology approach of formation and decay by design.

 Aquahoja is a bio-material experimentation by Mediated Matter Group
Aguahoja is a bio-material experimentation by Mediated Matter Group

Humans extract resources at a much higher pace than nature could ever replace. The standard is to design and build products that outlive their functions and as soon as the functionality comes to an end, we careless and irresponsibly dispose of these products.

Sooner or later we will have to face the consequences of this way of mass-producing a society, meanwhile, new, less harmful courses for industrialization are vital to mitigate our climate crisis. Aguahoja represents a bio alternative to cover structures.


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