Nature-inspired designs

Caitlin Hughes Caitlin Hughes
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These creations pay homage to the environment both in design and materials, working in harmony with their surroundings and in some cases, making a statement about sustainability and biodiversity. This selection of installations built for public spaces, along with more garden-friendly features, illustrate the skill and imagination of some of the U.K's  best designers and sculptors. 

Sound of the sea

Acoustic Shells:  Commercial Spaces by Flanagan Lawrence
Flanagan Lawrence

Acoustic Shells

Flanagan Lawrence

Award-winning architectural practice Flanagan Lawrence were commissioned to design and build this Acoustic Shell; a stage and shelter that stands on Littlehampton beach in West Sussex. The reflective surface of the shell projects the sound of the performers to the audience in the dipped garden, while a second shell faces the beach, drawing in the sound of the sea and acting as the perfect spot for buskers. It's not hard to see why this project was short-listed for both the cultural building and small project categories in 2014's World Architecture Festival.  

Mobile orchard

Mobile Orchard:  Exhibition centres by Atmos Studio
Atmos Studio

Mobile Orchard

Atmos Studio

This mobile orchard by London-based Atmos Studios is a public installation that explores the synergy between man-made design and organic life. Passers-by are welcomed to sit atop the timber roots, make themselves at home, and enjoy the view.

The notion of  interconnectivity between cities is one idea that inspired the orchard and its many entwined branches. Without getting too philosophical, the sculpture poses questions about how we interact with our environments—perfectly embodied by the  constellation of real apples, refreshed daily, that can be picked and eaten by members of the public! 

The mobile orchard is available for hire: doing so helps raise money for the Edible Playgrounds programme, which teaches children the skills to grow and cook healthy, natural food.

Snake fountain

Commissioned by pharmaceutical company Glaxo SmithKline, this snake fountain by Humphrey Bowden recalls the staff of Aesculapius, the Greek God of medicine.  The scales are formed of copper and are built around a copper frame. Both the scales and the nostrils of the snake project water, causing the whole feature to glisten.

In flight

This stunning garden sculpture is made from ancient oak and scots pine, buried for thousands of years in the bogs of Ireland. The merging of the bird, ready to take off into the skies, and the earthy jagged base rooted firmly on the earth, creates a clever contradiction. The materials and subject go hand in hand and create a beautiful focal point for any outdoor space.  Check out Irish Bog Wood Sculpture for more designs.

Eco hideaway

The dream escape for any adult who is really a child at heart, this impressive tree house is something special. Quaint and charming, a tree house such as this would provide hours of fun for all the family. Blending nicely into its environment, this considered but fun design is the work of Squirrel Design, a family owned company based in Wiltshire.

Harmony in nature

Pershore Abbey park sculpture:  Artwork by Tom Harvey
Tom Harvey

Pershore Abbey park sculpture

Tom Harvey

Hats off to Tom Harvey for this magnificent beech wood sculpture which is displayed in Pershore Abbey Park, Worcestershire. It's an idyllic scene of peaceful co-existence between humans and nature and is a suitable theme for such a beautiful setting. Harvey's other designs include a 'tree seat' and a carving from Norway maple wood. 

What do you make of these nature-inspired designs? Let us know in the comment section below
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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