The forms of the hu­man body and the plant world as a source of in­spi­ra­tion for many ar­chi­tects and de­sign­ers


The hu­man body ex­erts an al­lure in hu­mans. In some re­spects, it is not un­like the at­trac­tion be­tween an­i­mals, but it cer­tainly func­tions in a more con­scious, ra­tio­nal and emo­tional way. In any case, it is less purely in­stinc­tive. The body is an ex­is­ten­tial in­stru­ment, but it is also an ob­ject of se­duc­tion, at­trac­tion and con­quest. This much is clear. Yet the for­mal and con­cep­tual def­i­ni­tions that hu­mans have his­tor­i­cally given their bod­ies, and the fig­u­ra­tive ex­pres­sions de­riv­ing from them, are not en­tirely ob­vi­ous. From the sil­hou­ette ap­pear­ing in Egyp­tian hi­ero­glyphs to the myth­i­cal ide­al­i­sa­tion of Greek and Ro­man gods; from Chris­tian­ity’s man in the im­age of God to the man of clas­si­cal pro­por­tions in the Re­nais­sance; from the En­light­en­ment to Le Cor­bus­ier’s Mo­du­lor and the avatars or repli­cants of re­cent in­ven­tion. Such imag­i­na­tions and the­o­ri­sa­tions have suc­ceeded one an­other, leav­ing clear signs in the ev­i­dence we have of the var­i­ous eras. In re­cent times, me­chan­i­cal and dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies have made it pos­si­ble to sim­u­late the flu­id­ity and or­ganic qual­ity of hands, arms, legs, tor­sos and heads with in­creas­ing pre­ci­sion. Bod­ies — hu­man or oth­er­wise — and the liv­ing mat­ter of the plant world have in­flu­enced many ar­chi­tects and de­sign­ers com­mit­ted to defin­ing the shape and ap­pear­ance of the ob­jects, tools and spa­ces that are nec­es­sary to us, and they do so with new and al­ter­na­tive meth­ods. Or­ganic, fluid, soft, rounded, sin­u­ous and en­velop­ing, these forms em­anate an en­gag­ing sen­su­al­ity. They be­come in­creas­ingly in­spir­ing with the ad­vance­ment of sci­en­tific knowl­edge and the abil­ity to repli­cate na­ture’s won­ders. Al­beit fan­tas­tic, it is not enough, be­cause Eros is, above all, a cap­ti­vat­ing men­tal con­di­tion which can only be achieved by stim­u­lat­ing the mind’s sen­sory re­cep­tors. There’s still a long way to go.

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