Nature-centered design in a way starts with inspiration from nature; ironically, this means often observing a living being outside of ourselves.
Over a period of 5 days in April 2011, 35 Pogonomyrmex barbatus (red harvester) ants built there home in this gel base (the gel provides nutrients and water for the ants as well). The result is behavior that evolved over the last 150 million years.
Using a brinno fisheye lens, we took a shot every 5mins.
Few things to notice:
- it took the ants about an hour to explore their new environment before digging (biting more precisely)
- the first tunnel they built led to a chamber that had 3 different exits - pretty smart eh
- for about two hours every day around 9am and 2pm most ants gathered in the chamber or close to the exit and rested and ate, while a few kept chugging along; after their siesta, they all got back to work
- each ant bit off a chunk of gel, carried it to the top and positioned it about 1-2 in. from the tunnel entry
- these ants typically live 1-3months, as most of the ants were adults by the time they got here, 3 of them died during the five day-period; the other ants carried the bodies to the top
- after five days, my 4 yr-old daughter Sophia helped me release the ants in our garden: "Papa, will the ants come visit once they move to their new house?"
As members of our studio came daily to be mesmerized by the productivity of these wonderful creatures, somehow I couldn't help imagining what was going through the minds: "hm, isn't it funny that making tunnels can inspire designers; evolution has a unique sense of humor"
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