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Designers: Luigi Colani - Antoni Gaudi - H. R. Giger - Friedensreich Hundertwasser - Carlo Mollino - Gaetano Pesce - Michael Thonet

Related: Art Nouveau - form - biology - zoomorphism

Architectural drawing (end 1910s, early 1920s) - Hermann Finsterlin
Image sourced here.


A nonrepresentational form or pattern that resembles a living organism in shape or appearance. --AHD

Biomorphism was an art movement of the 20th century. The term was first used by Alfred H. Barr, Jr. in 1936. Biomorphist artists focused on the power of natural life and used organic shapes, with hints of the shapeless and vaguely spherical forms of biology. It has connections with Surrealism. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biomorphism [Jan 2006]

Term derived from the Classical concept of forms created by the power of natural life, applied to the use of organic shapes in 20th-century art, particularly within surrealism. It was first used in this sense by Alfred H. Barr jr in 1936. The tendency to favour ambiguous and organic shapes in apparent movement, with hints of the shapeless and vaguely spherical forms of germs, amoebas and embryos, can be traced to the plant morphology of Art Nouveau at the end of the 19th century; the works of Henry Van de Velde, Victor Horta and Hector Guimard are particularly important in this respect. --The Grove Dictionary of Art [Jul 2004]


Although studies are limited, diverse approaches have been used to understand the role of plants in culture. Sommer (1988) begins to explore the use and meaning of plant terms in our language as he focuses on botanomorphism, or the tendency to describe human characteristics through fruit and vegetable metaphors. Bryant carries this exploration further, looking into other uses of plant terms in the American language. --Diane Relf, HUMAN ISSUES IN HORTICULTURE, HortTechnology April/June 1992 [http://www.hort.vt.edu/human/hihart.htm, Mar 2004]

Organic design

Organic design vocabularies--from the ecstasies of baroque ornament to mid-twentieth-century biomorphism--have always gestured toward the erotic, suggesting the curves and movements of the human body. In contemporary design, eroticism is present yet kept at a distance, handled with rubber gloves. The fulfillment of desire and the satisfaction of touch are blunted by protective layers of material. Clothed in latex, vinyl, rubber, or resin, sensual forms are rendered clinical. When love and fear are necessary bedfellows, the plush, dimly lit boudoir gives way to the bright, wipeable surfaces of the laboratory and lavatory. --http://www.designwritingresearch.org/essays/skin.html [Aug 2004]

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