Kitchen-sized fish farms, living air purifiers and devices that turn old water bottles into martini shakers all spring from the form-and-function-fusing mind of designer Mathieu Lehanneur.
Mathieu Lehanneur first began turning the heads of design junkies at MOMA's 2008 show "Design and the Elastic Mind"-- a watershed survey celebrating fusions of technology and wild imagination. With its Lucite lines, lush green interior and rounded corners, the Andrea purifier featured in the exhibit resembles a mash-up of a terrarium and an iMac, but its function is less visible. Inspired by NASA research and designed by Lehanneur and partner David Edwards so that the plants in it metabolize the micro-toxins in the air, it's nothing less than a domestic breathing machine.
Though he's inspired by nature, Lehanneur isn't interested in biomimicry, but rather in the symbiosis between living and synthetic materials, often to solve environmental problems. Lehanneur's Local River, at first glance a large aquarium-cum-herb garden, is in fact designed to be an indoor food farm, with the locavore in mind.
"Most air filters only catch particulates such as dust and pollen rather than organic compounds like formaldehyde and benzene, and the filters that do trap those gases need frequent replacement. So Lehanneur and Edwards built an ultra-efficient filtration system that eliminates toxins using nature's own hazmat squad: plants."Popular Science