February 2016, Volume 20, Number 1

Academics

Kaleidoscopic Creativity

Student Omela Rincones’ project
Ornela Rincones found inspiration in coral reefs for her color palette.

For designers, nature – having had a head start of a few billion years – is always the best teacher. Professor Marcia Lopes De Mello, who teaches in MDC’s School of Architecture and Interior Design, took the dictum to heart in tasking her students to employ biomimicry, the emulation of nature’s color and forms, in a recent design project.

“The biomimicry project introduces interior design students to nature as a source of inspiration for color palette and color proportioning for the design of interior spaces,” Lopes De Mello said. “The project covers fundamentals of color theory by opening the natural world for students to explore color and rhythm expressed through the progression of colors on the natural forms.”

This particular design course, which is one of scores of Global Sustainability and Earth Literacy Studies (GSELS) classes offered by MDC’s Earth Ethics Institute, required students to research the color schemes of spectacular flora and fauna, like the Mandarin Dragonet fish and Lilac-Breasted Roller Bird, for help in creating vivid interiors. The resulting color projects were exhibited at MDC’s Kendall Campus as part of the College’s fall festivities celebrating Campus Sustainability Day.

Besides the dynamic impact of the colors, the natural palettes, if properly employed, can enhance indoor environmental quality by causing positive emotional responses for those who occupy the buildings.

“After many years of teaching architecture and interior design students, what excites me every day is creating lesson plans that target student learning in multiple aspects,” Lopes De Mello said. “The observation of natural forms also exposes students to the discussion of how the respect for life in all its diversity on Earth relates to ecological health.”


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