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Design Innovation Inspired by Nature



The design and production of materials, structures, and/or systems that are modelled on and inspired by biological entities and processes.

Do you have a nature-inspired design in architecture, design, fashion or technology?


Then we want to see it!

In this challenge, we asked participants to imagine creations inspired by one of the best designers: nature. In total 71 teams participated in this competition from all over the globe, with proposals which ranged from fashion, architecture, product design and urban systems.


Symbiotic Architecture: Space of Emotional Saturation

Karina Ashrapova

Modern man, who is a biological species, continues to live in artificial cities. Urban environment provokes negative psychological state of the person. It is necessary to provide a symbiotic relationship between nature, technology, bio-materials and architecture for harmonization of emotional level of the person, visual ecology, urban saturation, formation of an architectural environment. For the competent shaping of architectural space and adding emotional qualities for architecture spaces, the principles of perception of an architectural environment with the natural parameters and principles of functioning of natural organisms were brought out. The principles of perception of architectural environment by natural settings: –…

runner up


Guillian Graves & Michka Mélo

*Nautile* is an innovative kettle of which conception was inspired by the Living in order to reduce environmental impact. The environmental achievements of classical kettles remain unsatisfactory. Through an approach mixing industrial design and biology, we developed a sustainable and efficient alternative to the traditional kettle : Nautile. Nature inspired this electric and combustion kettle’s forms, materials, structure and internal mechanisms as well as the manufacturing process, in order to minimize its energy consumption, which is 80 % responsible for its environmental impact. In its marine ecosystem, the nautilus moves by precisely controlling water volume fulfilling different cavities of its…

Honourable Mentions:


Amber Goveas

Lichens are composite organism that arises from algae living among filaments of multiple fungi in a symbiotic relationship. When they grow on plants, they do not live as parasites but instead use the plants as a substrate. They can grow on almost any surface. The primary function of Lichen is re-oxygenation. This project analyses this idea of symbiotic relationships. Breathe stands for 3 things – breathing new air into the city, new life into a building, and a new home for the homeless. The exoskeleton serves as an ecological habitat, creating a air purifier facade, and a community for plants…

Rain Bellows

Rachael Meyer, Alexandra Ramsden, Jennifer Barnes & Michele Richmond

Rain Bellows is an architectural solution utilizing building facades to clean and store stormwater for reuse. Inspired by the form and function of the Ice Plant, Mesembryanthemum crystallinum, Rain Bellows showcases its storage capacity by expanding the exterior skin of a building until water is needed. In addition to our biomimicry design we showcase our methodology as part of our competition entry. This five step method allows design through biomimicry to become a more approachable design strategy. Breaking down the steps into a simple sequence helps translate strategies from nature into design ideas. Our challenge starts with water. Every organism…


Despina Linaraki

The expansion of Mumbai in the Arabian Sea influenced by coral reef formation and anatomy and the reinvention of the living system based on the symbiosis between humans and water. This project reinvents the method that formulated Mumbai after the artificial connection of the original seven islands (1970-2015). Research evidence has proved that the artificial connection, which stopped the natural flow of water, cause of floods and high levels of pollution that lead to numerous diseases. Starting from the question of how the city would grow if it were going to grow physically, the project proposes the future urban growth…


Jori Erdman & Christopher James

“I have an immoderate passion for water… especially for marshes, teeming with all that mysterious life of the creatures that haunt them. A marsh is a whole world within a world, a different world, with a life of its own, with its own permanent denizens, its passing visitors, its voices, its sounds, its own strange mystery.” ― Guy de Maupassant, The House of Madame Tellier and Other Stories The coastal zone is one of the most bio-diverse and dynamic environments in nature. Yet, due to pollution, subsidence and sea-level rise, coastal zones are also the most threatened environments in the world. The…

Folium: A Biomimetic Water-Repellant Bicycle Seat

Brook Kennedy

In cities worldwide, bicycling is an activity essential to modern life both for commuting and pleasure. Bicycles have improved in lightness, performance, and in many other ways since the 19th century. Bike share programs electric assist e-bikes have been growing in popularity.  The bike seat too has evolved to serve many different riding styles from commuting to racing. Comfort and appearance have been widely advanced. Still, a wet bicycle seat is a common nuisance after a rain shower. Most seats which have leather, vinyl or other synthetic fabric covers gather or even attract water when it rains! The result is…

Circle of Life

Vicky Chan, Gordon Laplante, Erica Wong & Leo Lei

Circle of Life is a method of construction that treats architecture as part of the life cycle of the building site. What if architecture can grow, blossom and die naturally just like a living organism? Instead of leaving a permanent footprint, what if it morphs over time? Architecture will still serve the purpose of habitat but it will overcome the traditional sense of a permanent structure. Architecture will become permanent in the form of carbon. The carbon that is stored in the material never leaves the site. It recycles on site from one form to the next. This natural process…

people's choice

Berkeley Aquatic Park Algae Energy Pavilion

Chloe Huang

The Algae Energy Pavilion is a conceptual design that will provide multi-functional elements to the Berkeley Aquatic Park in the City of Berkeley, California. As a shading structure, the pavilion extends from the open space area at the southeast end of the park with five “branches” arching over the pedestrian pathway into the lagoon. To resolve the eutrophication problems that occur when excessive nutrients in the water creates toxic algae blooms, the branches remove algae from the water’s surface. As an alternative energy producer, the structure will store and house the algae, and grow them for harvest. An attached underground…


Meet our panel of world class experts and fellow designers!

Andrea Verenini

Founder, Eleven Magazine

Andrea Verenini

Founder, Eleven Magazine

Andrea founded Eleven Magazine in 2015 and currently works as its Editor in Chief and Creative Director.

He was born in Bologna in 1984 and spent his childhood and teen years growing up in Italy, Hungary, Russia and Austria. At the age of 17 he moved to the UK to pursue his higher education in Architecture.

Andrea holds a BA (Hons) Architecture degree (2006), a Diploma in Architecture (2009), and in 2010 was awarded a fully-funded doctorate studentship, which he successfully completed with a PhD in Architecture and Urban Regeneration in 2014.

His architecture career has seen him active in both research, academia and practice. He has worked for Grimshaw Architects in London and taught at University in both undergraduate and post-graduate levels on subjects ranging from architecture/urban history and theory, sustainable design, emergent architectural trends, modular/movable architecture, responsive dynamic design, and nature-inspired design.

Andrea is a full member of the BSME (British Society of Magazine Editors).

In parallel to Eleven, Andrea works as a freelance designer and architect on experimental projects and international collaborations.

In his spare time Andrea enjoys traveling, photography and (English weather permitting) riding around on his motorcycle avoiding woodland creatures on country lanes.

Marko Brajovic

Atelier Marko Brajovic (Brazil)

Marko Brajovic

Atelier Marko Brajovic (Brazil)

"As a judge I am interested in seeing the inspirations in natural strategies and particularly in applying funcional parameters from biological world into architecture conceptual and design process."
The idea of hybrid obsesses the eclectic works of the multidisciplinary Atelier Marko Brajovic based in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  That very concept permeate all areas, formats and aesthetics that get shaped as scenography, museography, product, design, architecture, and creative direction with projects in  Milano, Miami, Shanghai, Madrid, Barcelona, Dubai, San Sebastian, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Munich, Vienna, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. 
For the development of projects Atelier Marko Brajovic research and instrumentalize the design process in three main systematic areas:
1. Behaviorology (how people do)
2. Phenomenology (how physics do)
3. Biomimicry (how alive nature do)
Atelier Marko Brajovic has an  IF AWARD 2016. -Arca, Brasilian Pavilion (Architecture / Residential, Architecture / Exhibitions and Trade Fairs disciplines), 
Winner at 
World Architecture Festival 2015. (Display category) and   IF GOLD AWARD 2015. (Retail discipline) CAMPER, W Award 2014. and GOLD IDEA Brasil AWARD 2010.

Alexander Walter

Editor, Archinect + Bustler (USA)

Alexander Walter

Editor, Archinect + Bustler (USA)

Alexander Walter grew up in East Germany with plenty of Bratwurst. He studied Architecture and Media Design at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Germany, and participated in foreign exchange programs with Washington-Alexandria Architecture Consortium in Alexandria, Virginia and Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan. In his Master's Thesis, and throughout his studies, Alexander focused on the fascinating intersection of architecture and media.

Prior to joining Archinect, Alexander has worked as an Interactive Graphic Designer for international advertising agency GREY in Moscow, Russia and cruised Caribbean and Mediterranean waters as a sailor.

Today, Alexander is Editorial & Production Manager for Archinect.com and Editor in Chief for Archinect's sister site Bustler.net. As part of the site's development team, he enjoys fostering a fast growing international community of architects and designers.

Alexander loves his wife Kaori and the typeface Helvetica. He typically spends his time exploring and photographing the bustling food culture of Los Angeles, getting involved in the Japanese community of Southern California, and creating designs for his baby clothing lines Tiny Modernism and Belly Sesame.

Jan Utzon

Director, Utzon Associates Architects (Denmark)

Jan Utzon

Director, Utzon Associates Architects (Denmark)

Jan Utzon, son of Danish architect Jørn Utzon, grew up with architecture as the main theme of influence during his childhood.

He studied architecture in Sydney and Copenhagen, and graduated spring 1970. After graduation, Jan worked in various offices in Denmark, and with Jorn Utzon, Utzon architects on a Church in Copenhagen and other national projects. In 1971, we participated in a competition to design the new National Assembly Complex in Kuwait. After winning this competition, we developed the project, and in a short pause in this important work (pending the resolution of a political issue in Kuwait), he worked in Honolulu and became registered as an architect in Hawaii. From 1975, Jan worked with Utzon architects on the Kuwait National Assembly Complex project, until its completion in 1983.

From 1976 until now, Jan has been involved in a wide variety of works with Jorn Utzon; Utzon associates architects, in Denmark, Portugal, Germany, Sweden, USA, China, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Angola, South Africa, Mozambique, Mexico, Fiji and Australia.

From 1999, Jan has been involved in the refurbishment of the Sydney Opera House.

During the last 25 years, Jan Utzon has been head of our office in Denmark and abroad.

Richard James MacCowan

Director, Biomimicry UK

Richard James MacCowan

Director, Biomimicry UK

"I’m looking for something different, well researched and makes me sit up and say, ‘why didn’t I think of that’."

Richard is the founder and director of the Biomimicry UK, a social enterprise offering training in bioinspiration across a broad range of sectors. Richard has given talks around the world on a variety of topics, ranging from packaging, architecture, through to innovation workshops for super yacht designers. His current focus is on the manufacturing sector and how bioinspiration can help reshape this for the 21st century.

Richard has degrees in both real estate development and urban design. He is a co-founder of the startup Smart Stable Limited, focusing on technology to improve the health and wellbeing in the equine industry. In his spare time, he is focusing on bioinspiration and natural systems at the city-level for his PhD research.

Timothy McGee

LikoLab (USA)

Timothy McGee

LikoLab (USA)

"I'm looking forward to the creative applications, observations, and surprising ideas that arise when you spend time looking at the natural world."

Timothy R. McGee is the founder and chief biologist at LikoLab, a biology & design firm on Bainbridge Island, WA. LikoLab explores the interface between biology and design helping organizations confront the human and scientific challenges of emerging technology. Tim’s work has spanned from developing new ways to manufacture materials to enabling cities to build resilient systems for growth and development. Tim's clients have included leading aerospace, consumer, cosmetic, automotive, and health care clients, where he has led projects and creative teams to deliver insights and strategy that transform business.

Tim is also the co-founder of Biomimicry New England, a non-profit that works to establish nature and natural systems as an important resource for education and innovation in New England.
Prior to LikoLab Tim spent time at IDEO (a global design firm) and Biomimicry 3.8 (a global biomimicry consulting firm) building on the interaction between biology and design. This work included conducting design research and translating insights to products and service systems. Tim has also created new service offerings, managed large project teams, facilitated innovation and biomimicry workshops, taught professional courses in design and sustainability and directed the materials and products area of focus for Biomimicry 3.8.
Tim holds a BA in Biology from Colby College, and a MS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of California Santa Barbara. When not in the studio Tim is often with his family hunting the woods for edible mushrooms, fiddling with camera equipment, or dipping his toes in the ocean.

Yaniv Peer

Exploration Architecture (UK)

Yaniv Peer

Exploration Architecture (UK)

“Innovation is a challenge to our ingenuity and what more ingenious resource could you want to draw from then the natural world. A market place where 3.8 billion years of research and development has made faulty products obsolete. I look forward to seeing how the major challenges of our age are tackled in such a way as to help bring about a restorative future for us all.”

Yaniv Peer is a Biomimicry leading figure in the world of architecture and design, working along side Michael Pawlyn at his firm Exploration Architecture in London.

He began collaborating with Exploration Architecture on design commissions in 2009 prior to joining the company as an Associate in 2011. Since then Yaniv has played a key role in several projects including the Mobius Project – a cyclical metabolism restaurant – and the revolutionary Biomimetic Office Building. Recently he led the design of the widely acclaimed exhibition of Exploration’s work at the Architecture Foundation which will be touring around Europe from 2015 to 2016.

Prior to joining Exploration, Yaniv was part of the core team at Future Systems London. He worked on the concept design for the Budvar Concert and Congress Centre in the Czech Republic, one of Jan Kaplicky’s final projects.

Biomimicry represents a culmination of three lifelong passions for Yaniv; biology, design and the environment and it is his belief that a synthesis of these interests is crucial to addressing major contemporary challenges.

Eleven's competitions are the ideal arena for generating pro-active international think-tanks in a whole variety of contemporary hot topics and contexts: from social issues to environmental threats, new technologies, shifting urban landscapes, exotic ecological havens, product design, fashion and - why not - even outer space!

We love competitions because they are instrumental in highlighting emerging talent and starting design-led revolutions around the world.

Our challenges have had exhibitions in Europe and the USA,  published in multiple international magazines such as the Architecture Review, the AJ, Dezeen, Archdaily and Designboom, and consistently win awards year after year.


2015 - Our inaugural competition 'Cambodia' wins the 3rd place in Bustler’s ‘Top-10 Best Competitions of the Year' Awards, and Eleven is officially in business.

2016 - 'Moontopia' is featured as 7th in Bustler’s ‘Top-10 Best Competitions of the Year' Awards.

2017 - Eleven becomes the most popular competition portal in the world with a double-whammy placement two competitions - 'Rome' (winning 3rd place) and 'Planetarium' (arriving in 5th place) - being featured in the top-5 places in Bustler’s ‘Top-10 Best Competitions of the Year' Awards.

2018 - Watch this space...

Cambodia 2015 Jury Team:

Andrew Maynard (Andrew Maynard Architects), Arthur Andersson (Andersson-Wise), Camillo Boano (The Bartlett, UCL), Christine Murray (Editor in Chief, Architectural Review), Elena Douvlou (Metropolitan University of Athens), Ingrid Bille (BilleByeSheid), Massimo Forese (+39 Architects), Mathilde Marengo (IAAC, Barcelona), Perry Hopper (Grimshaw), Shaun O'Rourke (BAC), Tom Kundig (Olson Kundig), Andrea Verenini (Editor, Eleven).

* This event was run in support of the Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC) charity.

San Francisco 2016 Jury Team:

Amy Frearson (Deputy Editor of Architecture, Dezeen), The Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI), Carlos Arnaiz (CAZA), Chris White (BIG), Hasdai Westbrook (Editor, Impact Design Hub), John Barton (Dean of Architecture, Stanford University), Jonny McKenna (Metropolitan Workshop), Karen Nelson (Dean, BAC), Leon Roast (BIG), Lewis Knight (Gensler), Kristi Loui (Gensler), Matthew Mazzotta (MIT), NAP+P Architects (Winner of Cambodia 2015: consisting of members Natthapol Pongplanchai, Planin Chantalert, Porncharoen Orbanratmanee, Pratchaya Lertruck Sadee), Roger Hawkins (Hawkins/Brown), Trent Tesch (KPF), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

* This event was run in support of the Project Night Night charity. 

Moontopia Jury Team:

ASPECT Studios (Winners of San Francisco 2016), Alberto Villanueva Galindo (IDEA Architecture Office), The Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI), Brent Sherwood (NASA), Christina Ciardullo (Carnegie Mellon University), Kriss J. Kennedy (NASA), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

Biomimicry Jury Team:

Alexander Walter (Editor, Archinect & Bustler), Jan Utzon (Utzon Associates Architects), Richard James MacCowan (Biomimicry Institute UK), Timothy McGee (LikoLab), Yaniv Peer (Exploration Architecture), Marko Brajovic (Atelier Marko Brajovic), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

Rome 2017 Jury Team:

Patrik Schumacher (Director, Zaha Hadid Architects), Francesco Gatti (3Gatti), Francesco Lipari (OFL Architecture / Cityvision Magazine), Emanuel Jalbert (In Situ), Lorenzo Catena, Onorato di Manno and Andrea Tanci (SET Architects), Eloise Carr (Editor & Creative, Eleven), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

Planetarium Jury Team:

Christina Ciardullo (Architectural Designer and Educator), Thomas Wang (Partner, Ennead Architects), Lars Lindberg Christensen (Head of Education and Public Outreach, ESO), Dan Goods (Artist in Residence, NASA JPL), Eric Hanson (Founder and Partner, xRez Studio), Jim Sweitzer (Astrophysicist and Museum Consultant), Stephen Dubois (Secretary, Middle Atlantic Planetarium Society), Charles Beichman (Executive Director, NASA Exoplanet Science Institute, Caltech / NASA JPL), Dennis Cohen (Creative Director and Experience Designer, Ralph Applebaum Associates),  Eloise Carr (Editor & Creative, Eleven), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

* This event was run in partnership with Christina Ciardullo and sponsored by the Middle Atlantic Planetarium Society (MAPS)

Shelter 48 Jury Team:

Abeer Seikaly (Architect & Cultural Designer), Narinder Sagoo (Partner, Fosters + Partners), Hakan Gürsu (Founder & CEO, Designnobis), Amro Callam (Executive Director, Architecture for Society), Karina Ashrapova (Winner, Eleven's Biomimicry Competition), Eloise Carr (Editor & Creative, Eleven) Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

* Poster graphics designed by Concept BRE

Safari (Matobo, Zimbabwe 2017) Jury Team:

Beks Ndlovu (CEO, African Bush Camps), Derek Solomon (Animal Behaviour and Communication Specialist/Author/Private Guide), Rob Janisch (Biomimicry and Genius of Nature Guru/Private Guide), Chris Browne (Owner, Fox Browne Creatives), Debra Fox (Owner, Fox Browne Creatives), Charlene Hewat (CEO, Environment Africa), Eloise Carr (Editor & Creative, Eleven), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

* This event was run in partnership with African Bush Camps and also in support of their charity African Bush Camp Foundation.

Marstopia Jury Team:

Andrew Aldrin (Son of legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Director of the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute), Alberto Villanueva Galindo (Architect and Academic, IDEA Architecture Office), Jessie Andjelic (Founding Partner of SPECTACLE and Head of Mars Studio at the University of Calgary), Marc Guberman (Team Leader of the Mars Habitat Project and Partner at Fosters + Partners), Stefano Boeri (Founding Partner, Stefano Boeri Architetti), SEArch Architects (Awarded first place in NASA’s 3D Printed Mars Habitat Challange), Vera Mulyani (CEO and Founder, Mars City Design), ZA Architects (Directors and Co-Founders Dmitry Zhuikov and Arina Agieieva), Monika Lipinska, Laura Olivier and Inci Ogun (Winners of Eleven's Moontopia Competition), Eloise Carr (Editor & Creative, Eleven), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

* Competition friend: Mars City Design

Macro to Micro Jury Team:

Adam Vickers (Managing Director of Squareyard Landscape Architecture), Wayne Hemingway (Chairman at CABE and Founder of Hemingway Design), Max Farrell (Senior Partner at Farrells), Lisa Kinch (Associate Architect at Farrells and Lecturer at Manchester School of Architecture), Katy Lock (Policy Manager at Garden Cities and New Towns, Town and Country Planning Association), Steve Sheen (Housing Strategy and Partnerships Manager at Manchester City Council), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

* This event is run in partnership with BETA Events, sponsored by Square Yard, and is part of the event BETA Housing 2018 (12 July, Manchester, UK).

Malecon (Havana) Jury Team:

Peter Noever (Professor, Principle at No/Ever Design and original member of the 'Havana Project'), Wolf D. Prix (Professor, Principle/CEO at COOP HIMMELB(L)AU and original member of the 'Havana Project'), Theodore Hoerr (Founding Principal, Terrain Work), Paul Bulkeley (Design Director, Snug Architects), Carl Prusha (Professor, Director at CP Architects and original member of the 'Havana Project'), Carlos Arnaiz (Founding Partner, CAZA), Eloise Carr (Editor & Creative, Eleven), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

Plastic Worlds Jury Team:

Chris Precht (Founding Partner, Penda), Luca Maccarinelli (Associate, Spark* Architects), Michael Pawlyn (Founder, Exploration Architecture), Richard James MacCowan (Founder, Biomimicry UK), Safia Qureshi (CEO, CupClub), Shannon Royden-Turner (Founder, Actuality), Eloise Carr (Editor & Creative, Eleven), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

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