The history of membranes is one of adaptation, from the development in living organisms to man-made versions, with a great variety of uses in temporary design: clothing, building, packaging, etc. Being versatile and simple to integrate, membranes have a strong sustainability potential, through an essential use of material resources and multifunctional design, representing one of the purest cases where “design follows function.” The introduction of new engineered materials and techniques, combined with a growing interest for Nature-inspired technologies are progressively merging man-made artifacts and biological processes with a high potential for innovation. This chapter introduces, through a number of examples, the broad variety of hybrid membranes in the contest of experimental Design, Art and Architecture, categorized following two different stages of biology-inspired approach with the aim of identifying potential developments. Biomimicry, is founded on the adoption of practices from nature in architecture though imitation: solutions are observed on a morphological, structural or procedural level and copied to design everything from nanoscale materials to building technologies. Synthetic biology relies on hybrid procedures mixing natural and synthetic materials and processes.
Part of the book: Energy-Efficient Approaches in Industrial Applications