There aren’t too many products that feel the need to reassure you that they are, in fact, packaging. EcoCradle is an exception. As I opened the parcel, generously sent to me by Ecovative marketing department, I caught a faint scent of honey seasoned cereal. Definitely not your usual sterile polystyrene whiff.
The madness started at the Biomimicry Education Summit in Cleveland. To be even more precise – with Dorna Schroeter pouring out samples of really cool products on to the table in the conference room of Botanical Gardens. EcoCradle packaging wasn’t one of them, but the whole lunchtime biomaterial orgy gave me an idea for the upcoming Undergraduate Biomimicry Challenge. Instead of simply showing the students a powerpoint presentation filled with rockstar examples, such as WhalePower wind turbines, or sea sponge solar cells, why not spice it up with real examples they can touch and test right there in a classroom?
Industrial designers are used to hands-on workshops and charrettes. There is a reason why we are said to have been found lying under the table – not because we are drunk, but because we are looking at how the legs are attached to the tabletop.
As soon as I returned to Ottawa, I started dialling numbers and firing off emails to companies that might be interested in sending me some of their material samples. And, ta-da! my first sample has arrived in the mail yesterday, smelling of fresh steel-cut oats.