Gavin Munro, The Edwardes Chair, 2012/2016, © Full Grown

What is nature? Are plants only useful biomass? Do fauna and flora have to serve humans alone? Global warming, species protection and ecological footprints make it clear that humans urgently need to rethink their relationship with nature. Do plants solve problems in their own way? Plant neurobiology has some surprising answers. Plants are of central importance to many designers, scientists and engineers. More and more, they are beginning to use vegetation not only as a resource for food, material or recreation, but also as an important source of inspiration in the design process. When it comes to developing novel solutions for current and upcoming environmental and social issues, they take their cue from structures and behavioural patterns in the plant world.

The “Plant Fever” exhibition at Zurich’s Museum für Gestaltung, on display at the Toni-Areal until 3 April 2022, presents around 50 international projects from the fields of product design, fashion and new technologies that aim to demonstrate the potential of plants. On display, for example, is Piñatex®, a non-woven fabric made from pineapple waste products, which is used in fashion and, more recently, increasingly as vegan leather for car seats. Or the Notweed Paper project, which aims at industrial paper production from Japanese knotweed, a plant that is considered an invasive species in this country.

The Plant Fever project was conceived by studio d-o-t-s and produced by the Belgian museum CID (Centre d’innovation et de design au Grand-Hornu). It sees itself as an exhibition with a political and social dimension that takes a stand, raises questions and invites the public to engage in a constructive conversation. That is why the discourse does not take place in the exhibition space alone, but is accompanied in parallel by lectures and workshops on the internet (on plantfever.com or Instagram @plant__fever). And the publishing house Stichting Kunstboek, edited by the CID, has published a catalogue in French and English.

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