As a polar vortex sweeps across the nation, we are again forced to confront the new realities of a changing climate. Luckily, some architects and designers are collaborating with scientists, engineers, and environmentalists to develop solutions to social and environmental issues caused by global warming. To highlight this work, the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and Cube design museum in Kerkrade, Netherlands, are assembling more than 60 projects by these professionals for the upcoming “Nature—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial” exhibition, which will be on view concurrently at the Cooper Hewitt in New York City and at Cube from May 10 until Jan. 20, 2020.
“With 2018 [as] the Earth’s fourth-warmest year on record and global carbon emissions at an all-time high, the crisis of human-caused climate change has never been more dire,” said Caroline Baumann, director of Cooper Hewitt in a press release. “Solutions will not emerge without radical new thinking and alliances. ‘Nature’ brings together some of the most creative and intelligent designers whose works address our complex relationship to nature and its precious resources and advocate for greater empathy for our planet.”
"Nature" will be divided into seven themes related to how designers utilize science and technology to interact with nature: Understand, Simulate, Salvage, Facilitate, Augment, Remediate, and Nurture. For example, Augment features a 3D-printed pavilion made of plant cellulose and chitosan panels by Neri Oxman of MIT's Mediated Matter research group to highlight "nature’s capabilities to enhance objects, buildings, and the human body," according to the Cooper Hewitt; Remediate includes a monarch sanctuary—the insects' populations are dwindling due to climate change—by Brooklyn-based ecological designer Terreform ONE to demonstrate designers' efforts to help reverse some of the negative impacts of our carbon footprint; and Salvage includes products made from scavenged plastic waste from oceans by Israili designer Shahar Livne.
“The projects in 'Natures' ... show great inventiveness," said Cube director Hans Gubbels in the same release. "This carries the promise that we can bring human behavior back in line with nature again. Cooperation between design, science, and technology thus can turn the tide for our planet.”
“Nature—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial,” will be on view at the Cooper Hewitt in New York and the Cube design museum in Kerkrade, Netherlands, from May 10 until Jan. 20, 2020.