RTD2015 04 Botanical Fabrication - A research project at the intersection of design, botany and horticulture
‘Botanical Fabrication’ is an on-going research initiative which investigates how an understanding of botany and horticultural techniques can challenge the design process and lead to alternative sustainable manufacturing or ‘eco-facturing’ tools. This paper presents different phases of the project, from an initial research workshop (2012), to an exhibition-based experiment (Botanical Factory, 2013) and includes current work in progress (Solar Gourd, 2015) so as to articulate a critical analysis of the work to date. In a context where we urgently need to devise new principles to live, manufacture and consume within the ecological capacity of our finite planet, the paper argues for the development of a new framework for slow manufacturing with plant systems. From Darwin’s research into plant movements to our current understanding of plant physics and biomechanics, designers can begin to integrate botanical and horticultural knowledge to play with the environment of plant growth and envision production chains of a new type.