Susana Soares (UK)

Can or should we design plants adaptable to extreme weather conditions? Can we afford not to? The diversity of leaf shapes, sizes and structures allow plants to adapt to nearly every environment. The precise molecular switches that control that process are being unveiled. Researchers working on plant morphology are putting together the genetic blueprint that controls plant structure and shape. The findings could be the first steps to a new generation of plants that are more resilient to unpredictable weather patterns, meet the challenges of global demand for food, and even influence climate.

Urpflanze displays computer-generated images of plants that represent optimal macro scale designs for extreme weather conditions. The illustrations are inspired by plant morphology research from the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences at the University of Sheffield. It looks at the metamorphoses by which specific plants adjusted to certain living conditions and environment, such as duckweed to water and cactus waxy coatings to drought.

The project attempts to give a brief overview of current research and questions whether we can or should design specific adaptations to a rapidly changing environment.

About the artist: 

Susana Soares’ work explores the implications of the technological redesign of nature. Her projects involve developing collaborative frameworks between design and emerging scientific research towards public engagement and awareness.