‘Bio-spaces’ exhibition at Roca London Gallery celebrates biophilic design

‘Bio-Spaces: regenerative, resilient futures’ opens at the Roca London Gallery as ‘a call to action to stop designing nature out’

Temple Galaxia by Mamou Mani Architects part of bio-spaces biophilia exhibition at roca gallery
Temple Galaxia by Mamou Mani Architects
(Image credit: Courtesy Mamou Mani Architects)

'Bio-Spaces: regenerative, resilient futures' asks: could hemp, seaweed, algae and mycelium make buildings more environmentally friendly? These natural products are cropping up in furniture and even construction materials, as the latest exhibition at Roca London Gallery demonstrates.

The 'Bio-Spaces' show is 'a call to action to stop designing nature out and start to usher it back into our spaces', says Deborah Spencer. Co-founder of environmentally focused media and events platform Planted, Spencer curated the show with Oliver Heath Design, which has specialised in biophilic design for 20 years. 

Tecla 3D printed house WASP + MCA night

Tecla 3D printed house by WASP + MCA 

(Image credit: Courtesy MCA)

‘Bio-spaces: regenerative, resilient futures’ draws on nature

The 70 exhibits are laid out on six ‘islands’ that sit on a modular grid system in the curvaceous, white, Zaha Hadid-designed space. There’s multisensory input from smells and sounds from the natural world, plus video, tactile material samples and plenty of planting.

Stefano Boeri Easyhome Huanggang

(Image credit: Courtesy Stefano Boeri)

Each island introduces a different aspect of biodesign. 'These strands have often been thought of in isolation, with designers aligning themselves with one specialism or another,' Spencer says. But she’s now seeing a consolidation of these approaches, leading to 'a more holistic, bio-inspired view of the built environment'.

MAT chair by Normann Copenhagen

MAT chair by Normann Copenhagen

(Image credit: Courtesy Normann Copenhagen)

The biodesign islands include biophilic design, which it about enhancing wellbeing by fostering humanity's affinity with nature. On display here is progressive fashion brand Lestrange’s Coal Drops Yard store. Designed by Fred Rigby Studio following Oliver Heath Design’s biophilic guidelines, there is natural timber and dried flower planting.

MAIN IMAGE_ La Terre by DHaus_The Entrance Face

La Terre by DHaus

(Image credit: Courtesy DHaus)

The bio-based materials on the island have their origins in nature and are renewable. Erthly makes corrugated construction panels from hemp, a robust, fast-growing crop. They sit alongside TySml’s lamps of mycelium and seaweed.

The bio-diversity island promotes the idea of designing for the needs of flora and fauna, including humans. Henning Larsen’s Biotope building, home to the Métropole Européenne de Lille, has terraced gardens, balconies and bridges. These provide a breeding ground for over 65 species of plants, and a home to birds, insects and lizards.

Lawrence Parent open source Living Blocks

Lawrence Parent's open source Living Blocks

(Image credit: Courtesy Lawrence Parent)

The bio-morphic island has projects which mimic natural structures, patterns and shapes, including Heatherwick Studio’s cancer support centre, Maggie’s Leeds, with its skeletal-like interior structure.

Biomimcry involves emulating nature’s biological processes, systems and structures to design buildings, products and technologies. Orga Architect’s der Verwondering primary school in The Netherlands has supporting columns and seating made out of rough tree logs.

EcoLogicStudio_PhotoSynthetica Collection Compostable Stool

EcoLogicStudio's PhotoSynthetica Collection Compostable Stool 

(Image credit: Pepe Fotografia)

According to Spencer, as the world only has finite resources, biodesign is the right direction of travel. 'These businesses [in the exhibition] are at the forefront of tackling this.'

The accompanying talks will explore biophilic design (16 May), biodiversity (6 June) and material future (18 September).

DIGI Technology Operation Centre_TR Hamzah & Yeang

DIGI Technology Operation Centre by Hamzah & Yeang

(Image credit: Courtesy Hamzah & Yeang)

'Bio-Spaces: regenerative, resilient futures' runs from 19 April to 30 September at Roca London Gallery