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.

Why you should listen

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. He also integrates technology into his designs for commercial products such as Binauric's Boom Boom speakers and Lexon's Take Time watch.

What others say

“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

Mathieu Lehanneur’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Mathieu Lehanneur


Who’s the guy in the new Apple ad? Meet Mathieu Lehanneur

February 18, 2013 It’s alive. The new Apple iPad ad, titled “Alive,” debuted last night and features a gorgeous glimpse of the recently updated TED mobile app. The spot also highlights TED speaker Mathieu Lehanneur, a designer who looks to science and nature for inspiration for problem-solving objects. Lehanneur is the man behind the living air purifier […]

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Mathieu Lehanneur at TEDGlobal 2009: Running notes from Session 4

July 22, 2009

Mathieu Lehanneur is a designer who is fascinated with science, and it shows. He explains that his fascination is quite unique in his field, as rules of marketing say he should simplify but science embraces complexity. He’s impressed by science’s ability to investigate the human being; after all, he designs for the human being. Then, […]

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Twitter Snapshot: Mathieu Lehanneur blends fantasy and functionality

July 22, 2009

Designer Mathieu Lehanneur presented several of his imaginative creations, inspired by the interplay of nature and technology. Among his designs: a petaliferous antibiotic, an interactive lung for asthmatic children, a sound-neutralizing fiber-optic ball, and Andrea- an air filtration unit that harnesses the natural processes of living plant systems (to name a few). The audience was […]

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