Syn•the•sis (noun): a: The composition or combination of parts or elements so as to form a whole. b: The production of a substance by the union of chemical elements, groups, or simpler compounds or by the degradation of a complex compound. c: The combining of often diverse conceptions into a coherent whole.
In 1997, author and scientist Janine Benyus coined the term Biomimicry as a "new science that studies nature's models and then imitates or takes inspiration from these designs and processes to solve human problems." Since then, the concept has evolved beyond just science, with artists and designers imitating nature’s genius in their works as well. As humankind appears to be moving further away from its natural roots, creatives and cultural leaders seem to be returning to them—begging the question, is artificiality an inevitability or merely a trend?
A pioneer of 3D printing and bio synthetic materials, fashion designer #IrisVanHerpen has always woven inspiration from the natural world into her ethereal and futuristic garments, even going so far as to invent the term “Syntopia” for her Fall 2018 Couture collection—a fusion of the organic and the artificial. In a statement about her avant-garde creations, the designer once said: “I find beauty in the continual shaping of chaos which clearly embodies the primordial power of nature's performance.”
Three billion years ago, the Earth’s atmosphere was mostly filled with carbon dioxide, and little to no oxygen—meaning it would not have been possible for you to breathe. Among the few single-cell organisms that did exist was a bacteria that possessed the remarkable capacity for what we now call photosynthesis—the ability to harness solar energy and transform carbon dioxide into oxygen. Over the course of two billion years, this organism slowly spread around the world and converted the CO2 into breathable air, creating the atmosphere that we know today. Individually, the short life spans of each of these organisms might have felt small and meaningless. Collectively, they altered the course of history, making way for sustainable life on Earth.
It’s estimated that 8.7 million species exist in the natural world, with the vast majority unidentified. As diverse as this bio-kingdom appears to be, there exists a common need that unites all life on Earth: light.
Photographs by Alexandra Von Fuerst
Styling by Alexis Roche
CREATIVE Sara Zion MAKEUP ARTIST Tiziana Raimondo (The Wall Group) HAIR STYLIST Olivier Schawalder (Calliste Agency) MODEL Amandine Renard (Supreme Management) SET DESIGNER Paulina Piipponen ON SET PRODUCER Veronique Charlotte STYLIST ASSISTANT Antoine Pauli SET DESIGN ASSISTANT Alison Reid