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  • My name is Lovegrove.

  • I only know nine Lovegroves, two of which are my parents.

  • They are first cousins, and you know what happens when, you know --

  • (Laughter)

  • So there's a terribly weird freaky side to me,

  • which I'm fighting with all the time.

  • So to try and get through today,

  • I've kind of disciplined myself with an 18-minute talk.

  • I was hanging on to have a pee.

  • I thought perhaps if I was hanging on long enough,

  • that would guide me through the 18 minutes.

  • (Laughter)

  • OK. I am known as Captain Organic

  • and that's a philosophical position as well as an aesthetic position.

  • But today what I'd like to talk to you about is that love of form

  • and how form can touch people's soul and emotion.

  • Not very long ago, not many thousands of years ago,

  • we actually lived in caves,

  • and I don't think we've lost that coding system.

  • We respond so well to form.

  • But I'm interested in creating intelligent form.

  • I'm not interested at all in blobism

  • or any of that superficial rubbish that you see coming out as design.

  • This artificially induced consumerism -- I think it's atrocious.

  • My world is the world of people like Amory Lovins,

  • Janine Benyus, James Watson.

  • I'm in that world, but I work purely instinctively.

  • I'm not a scientist. I could have been, perhaps,

  • but I work in this world where I trust my instincts.

  • So I am a 21st-century translator of technology

  • into products that we use everyday and relate beautifully and naturally with.

  • And we should be developing things -- we should be developing packaging

  • for ideas which elevate people's perceptions

  • and respect for the things that we dig out of the earth

  • and translate into products for everyday use.

  • So, the water bottle.

  • I'll begin with this concept of what I call DNA.

  • DNA: Design, Nature, Art.

  • These are the three things that condition my world.

  • Here is a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci, 500 years ago, before photography.

  • It shows how observation, curiosity and instinct

  • work to create amazing art.

  • Industrial design is the art form of the 21st century.

  • People like Leonardo -- there have not been many --

  • had this amazingly instinctive curiosity.

  • I work from a similar position.

  • I don't want to sound pretentious saying that,

  • but this is my drawing made on a digital pad a couple of years ago --

  • well into the 21st century, 500 years later.

  • It's my impression of water.

  • Impressionism being the most valuable art form on the planet as we know it:

  • 100 million dollars, easily, for a Monet.

  • I use, now, a whole new process.

  • A few years ago I reinvented my process

  • to keep up with people like Greg Lynn, Thom Mayne, Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas --

  • all these people that I think are persevering and pioneering

  • with fantastic new ideas of how to create form.

  • This is all created digitally.

  • Here you see the machining, the milling of a block of acrylic.

  • This is what I show to the client to say, "That's what I want to do."

  • At that point, I don't know if that's possible at all.

  • It's a seductor, but I just feel in my bones that that's possible.

  • So we go, we look at the tooling.

  • We look at how that is produced.

  • These are the invisible things that you never see in your life.

  • This is the background noise of industrial design.

  • That is like an Anish Kapoor flowing through a Richard Serra.

  • It is more valuable than the product in my eyes.

  • I don't have one.

  • When I do make some money, I'll have one machined for myself.

  • This is the final product.

  • When they sent it to me, I thought I'd failed.

  • It felt like nothing. It has to feel like nothing.

  • It was when I put the water in

  • that I realized that I'd put a skin on water itself.

  • It's an icon of water itself,

  • and it elevates people's perception of contemporary design.

  • Each bottle is different,

  • meaning the water level will give you a different shape.

  • It's mass individualism from a single product.

  • It fits the hand.

  • It fits arthritic hands. It fits children's hands.

  • It makes the product strong, the tessellation.

  • It's a millefiori of ideas.

  • In the future, they will look like that,

  • because we need to move away from those type of polymers

  • and use that for medical equipment

  • and more important things, perhaps, in life.

  • Biopolymers, these new ideas for materials,

  • will come into play in probably a decade.

  • It doesn't look as cool, does it?

  • But I can live up to that. I don't have a problem with that.

  • I design for that condition, biopolymers. It's the future.

  • I took this video in Cape Town last year.

  • This is the freaky side coming out.

  • I have this special interest in things like this, which blow my mind.

  • I don't know whether to, you know, drop to my knees, cry;

  • I don't know what I think.

  • But I just know that nature --

  • nature improves with ever-greater purpose

  • that which once existed,

  • and that strangeness is a consequence of innovative thinking.

  • When I look at these things, they look pretty normal to me.

  • But these things evolved over many years, and what we're trying to do --

  • I get three weeks to design a telephone. How the hell do I do that,

  • when you get these things that take hundreds of millions of years to evolve?

  • How do you condense that?

  • It comes back to instinct.

  • I'm not talking about designing telephones that look like that

  • and I'm not looking at designing architecture like that.

  • I'm just interested in natural growth patterns

  • and the beautiful forms that only nature really creates.

  • How that flows through me and how that comes out

  • is what I'm trying to understand.

  • This is a scan through the human forearm.

  • It's then blown up through rapid prototyping

  • to reveal its cellular structure.

  • I have these in my office.

  • My office is a mixture of the Natural History Museum

  • and a NASA space lab.

  • It's a weird, kind of freaky place.

  • This is one of my specimens.

  • This is made --

  • bone is made from a mixture of inorganic minerals and polymers.

  • I studied cooking in school for four years, and in that experience,

  • which was called "domestic science,"

  • it was a bit of a cheap trick for me to try and get a science qualification.

  • (Laughter)

  • Actually, I put marijuana in everything I cooked --

  • (Laughter)

  • And I had access to all the best girls. It was fabulous.

  • All the guys in the rugby team couldn't understand.

  • Anyway -- this is a meringue.

  • This is another sample I have.

  • A meringue is made exactly the same way, in my estimation, as a bone.

  • It's made from polysaccharides and proteins.

  • If you pour water on that, it dissolves.

  • Could we be manufacturing from foodstuffs in the future?

  • Not a bad idea. I don't know.

  • I need to talk to Janine and a few other people about that,

  • but I believe instinctively that that meringue can become something,

  • a car -- I don't know.

  • I'm also interested in growth patterns:

  • the unbridled way that nature grows things

  • so you're not restricted by form at all.

  • These interrelated forms, they do inspire everything I do,

  • although I might end up making something incredibly simple.

  • This is a detail of a chair that I've designed in magnesium.

  • It shows this interlocution of elements and the beauty of, kind of, engineering

  • and biological thinking,

  • shown pretty much as a bone structure.

  • Any one of those elements you could sort of hang on the wall

  • as some kind of art object.

  • It's the world's first chair made in magnesium.

  • It cost 1.7 million dollars to develop.

  • It's called "Go," by Bernhardt, USA.

  • It went into Time magazine in 2001 as the new language of the 21st century.

  • Boy. For somebody growing up in Wales in a little village, that's enough.

  • It shows how you make one holistic form, like the car industry,

  • and then you break up what you need.

  • This is an absolutely beautiful way of working.

  • It's a godly way of working.

  • It's organic and it's essential.

  • It's an absolutely fat-free design,

  • and when you look at it, you see human beings.

  • When that moves into polymers,

  • you can change the elasticity, the fluidity of the form.

  • This is an idea for a gas-injected, one-piece polymer chair.

  • What nature does is it drills holes in things.

  • It liberates form.

  • It takes away anything extraneous.

  • That's what I do.

  • I make organic things which are essential.

  • And they look funky, too -- but I don't set out to make funky things

  • because I think that's an absolute disgrace.

  • I set out to look at natural forms.

  • If you took the idea of fractal technology further, take a membrane,

  • shrinking it down constantly like nature does --

  • that could be a seat for a chair.

  • It could be a sole for a sports shoe.

  • It could be a car blending into seats.

  • Wow. Let's go for it. That's the kind of stuff.

  • This is what exists in nature.

  • Observation now allows us to bring that natural process

  • into the design process every day.

  • That's what I do.

  • This is a show that's currently on in Tokyo.

  • It's called "Superliquidity." It's my sculptural investigation.

  • It's like 21st-century Henry Moore.

  • When you see a Henry Moore, still, your hair stands up.

  • There's some amazing spiritual connect.

  • If he was a car designer, phew, we'd all be driving one.

  • In his day, he was the highest taxpayer in Britain.

  • That is the power of organic design.

  • It contributes immensely to our --

  • sense of being,

  • our sense of relationships with things,

  • our sensuality and, you know, the sort of --

  • even the sort of socio-erotic side, which is very important.

  • This is my artwork. This is all my process.

  • These actually are sold as artwork. They're very big prints.

  • But this is how I get to that object.

  • Ironically, that object was made by the Killarney process,

  • which is a brand-new process here for the 21st century,

  • and I can hear Greg Lynn laughing his socks off as I say that.

  • I'll tell you about that later.

  • When I look into these data images,

  • I see new things.

  • It's self-inspired.

  • Diatomic structures, radiolaria,

  • the things that we couldn't see but we can do now --

  • these, again, are cored out.

  • They're made virtually from nothing. They're made from silica.

  • Why not structures from cars like that?

  • Coral, all these natural forces,

  • take away what they don't need and they deliver maximum beauty.

  • We need to be in that realm.

  • I want to do stuff like that.

  • This is a new chair which should come on the market in September.

  • It's for a company called Moroso in Italy. It's a gas-injected polymer chair.

  • Those holes you see there are very filtered-down,

  • watered-down versions of the extremity of the diatomic structures.

  • It goes with the flow of the polymer and you'll see --

  • there's an image coming up right now that shows the full thing.

  • It's great to have companies in Italy who support this way of dreaming.

  • If you see the shadows that come through that,

  • they're actually probably more important than the product,

  • but it's the minimum it takes.

  • The coring out of the back lets you breathe.

  • It takes away any material you don't need

  • and it actually garners flexure too.

  • I was going to break into a dance then.

  • This is some current work I'm doing.

  • I'm looking at single-surface structures

  • and how they stretch and flow.

  • It's based on furniture typologies, but that's not the end motivation.

  • It's made from aluminum ...

  • as opposed to aluminium, and it's grown.

  • It's grown in my mind,

  • and then it's grown in terms of the whole process that I go through.

  • This is two weeks ago in CCP in Coventry, who build parts for Bentleys and so on.

  • It's being built as we speak

  • and it will be on show in Phillips next year in New York.

  • I have a big show with Phillips Auctioneers.

  • When I see these animations, oh Jesus, I'm blown away.