David Sanchez Ruano

Current research/thesis title:

Designing with-in Nature: Using biophilia, biomimicry and resilience thinking as foundations for a ‘symbiotic design practice’

"How can design education move from using nature as a source of aesthetic inspiration, applied simply as a catalyst to artistic problem elaboration, to the act of designing symbiotically with nature?"

If we are to move to a truly sustainable future, then designers need to be familiar with ‘designing with and within nature’. Designers only concerned with imagination, inspiration and aesthetics need to be persuaded to move to alternative design principles which have been derived from biology and ecology.

David Sanchez Ruano - work

The main research question David addresses in his PhD study is:how can design education move from using nature as a source of aesthetic inspiration, applied simply as a catalyst to artistic problem elaboration, to the act of designing symbiotically with nature? In particular, which methods of teaching and learning contribute most to the designers’ transformation towards a new design ethic – from design thinking alone to design thinking and ecological thinking?

His study reviews and consolidates the theory and practices of biophilia, biomimicry and resilience, and displays a series of teaching/learning strategies and practices which enhance the embodiment of ‘designing with-in nature’ or symbiotic design, which can be tested and evaluated across a sample of undergraduate and postgraduate design students. Text, visuals and workshop practices developed at outdoor spaces, botanic gardens and scientific facilities that involve the direct perception of living organisms are fundamental for design practices. This approach will create new learning tools and techniques in the act of design ‘symbiotically’ with our living planet.

Practicing symbiosis in design becomes crucial for our generation who should be educated to create messages, policies, products, services and built environments along with other species which have been shaping life on Earth.