On Light and Matter: Structural Optics of Biomaterials
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The wings of a morpho butterfly exhibit a dazzling display of crystalline blue that transforms with viewing angle. The optical properties demonstrated by this improbable blue are produced not by pigment but as a function of material and structure. This phenomenon, known as structural colouration, highlights a direct relationship between light and matter. Biomaterials, like the carrageenan found in macroalgae and calcium carbonate found in mollusc shells, have an impressive array of mechanical and optical properties but have not been explored to their full potential within the domain of design. This research is comprised of three phases: ecosystem scale research into material flows and biogenic waste streams, biomaterial development and fabrication, and finally the culmination of research in an exhibition proposal of light assembled with biological materials generated by the sea, with the aim to demonstrate symbiotic relationships between structure, matter and optics at the human scale.