[ISEA2017] Paper: Caitilin de Bérigny, Dagmar Reinhardt & Nathaniel Fay — Reimaging Coral Reefs: Remodelling Biological Data in the Design Process


Keywords: Coral Reefs, Code, Interaction Design, Drones, Tangible User Interface Design, Interactive Installation, Climate Change, Marine Biology, Transdisciplinary Collaboration

Coral Reefs are filled with infinite and unique forms, variations of shape, and complex phenomena and processes. These forms and processes have inspired both scientists to document, archive and collate, and designers to reimagine these intricate ecosystems in their creative design work. In this paper, we explore how designers integrate scientific data from coral reefs, by examining two projects. Firstly, we discuss Reefs on the Edge, an interactive installation using scientific data from a marine biologist to visualize the effects of ocean warming on corals reef ecosystems. Secondly, we discuss Coral Colonies, an installation that adapts mathematical codes of coral geometries to create biomimetic coral prototypes. We conclude how design and science use visual data taken from biological processes to help raise awareness and promote biodiversity, sustainability and the survival of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR).

  • Caitilin de Bérigny is Senior Lecturer in the Design Lab, an interdisciplinary research group within the University of Sydney, Australia. She is leader of the Health and Creativity Node at the Charles Perkins Centre. de Berigny’s Reefs on the Edge research forms part of a transdisciplinary research project in biology, acoustics, and design. Her creative practice has been exhibited and published widely internationally, her work can be found at: caitilin.com.au
  • Dagmar Reinhardt is the BArchEnvsProgram Director at the Faculty of Architecture, the University of Sydney, Australia, and the Master of Digital Architecture Studio Leader. Her Mathematical Code to Relational Networks 363 research is concerned with an interdisciplinary nexus between computational design, structural engineering, acoustics, biology, and architectural design. She has published on design models for latent material formations in fashion and architecture; design thinking for collaborations between engineers and architects; and processes for robotic fabrication of acoustically effective micro and macro geometries. In spatial installations, Reinhardt extends design research towards experiential environments for bodies in space and time. Her work with practice reinhardtjung | architecture and design has been widely published and has received international recognition and numerous awards, and can be found at reinhardtjung.de.
  • Nathaniel Fay is a Master of Philosophy research student in Design at the University of Sydney’s Design Lab, Australia. His research examines new mapping technologies to collect marine data using drone technology in the Great Barrier Reef. He is the Managing Director of One Ski Digital and works as a videographer and Lecturer in the Design Lab at the University of Sydney. His video work has been published widely and can be found at oneskidigital.com.

Full text (PDF) p.  128-135