Future 50: Michael Pawlyn 01.08.13

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Icon asked a dozen experts and practitioners to nominate the people they think are, in some way, shaping the future. The resulting list of global talent is a snapshot that shows how young designers and architects are pushing the boundaries of their disciplines and trying to change the world

Michael Pawlyn worked on Nicholas Grimshaw's Eden project before setting up Exploration Architecture in 2007, a London-based practice dedicated to "biomimicry" – drawing inspiration from nature to devise solutions to resource inefficiency (the subject of his manifesto, Biomimicry in Architecture). "We believe biomimicry will be one of the most important tools that facilitates the shift from the industrial age to the ecological age," Pawlyn says. He takes inspiration from Buckminster Fuller who, in the 1960s, declared it his mission "to make the world work for 100 per cent of humanity in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological damage to anyone". Exploration has proposed a Sahara Forest project, to bring vegetation and agriculture to the desert – an idea being piloted in Qatar. It is also taking its concept of an energy-efficient biomimetic office building to detailed design stage, and preparing an exhibition of its work that will open at the Architecture Foundation in November.


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