With special thanks to:
Stephen Drank and ERT lighting, Zoë Powell Best, Kat Mckenna, Tana Vargas, Andrew Persoff Oroz, Mark Maček, Phillip Schulze, Darius Fontenette Alli Draper, Paloma Gonzalez, John Hickman, Aaron Tamez, Chelsea Gonzalez, Colby Apple, Donald Miller
BioNest is a installation about designing with nature that debuted at Waller Creek Light Show 2021.
Bio-Nest responds to the ecology of West Texas in both form and material. The sculptural forms are inspired by the birds and waterfowl native to the region, and each individual structure is identifiable by the organic matter it contains, harvested from different areas in Austin and beyond, including Waller Creek, Marfa, Barton Creek, Bouldin, and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
A site-specific bio-plastic material was developed specifically for this application, and is made primarily from seaweed (carrageenan) and glycerin that is heated and cast into moulds before drying. The use of raw materials from renewable biomass sources offers a petroleum-free alternative to plastic that harms our natural ecosystems.
The grid-shell framework is made by steaming strips of oak and weaving them together, creating a strong and lightweight structure. This technique was developed through learning about indigenous design, specifically traditional basketry, and honoring this ancient wisdom.
A lighting and soundscape strategy join the figures in conversation with one another. The playlist also features a custom soundtrack that responds to the context around Waller Creek.
By taking a craft and material based approach informed by a practice of research and making, the project is an study in sustainable design. It aims to join in the conversation on how we can partake in the new circular economy by designing with nature, tradition, and renewable materials.
Elevation view of Bio Nest