Nature is the oldest and richest source of design inspiration. From the earliest paintings on cave walls, humans have interpreted the world around them—plants, animals, and natural phenomena—to create, ornament, and embellish objects. In all forms of art, from frescoes to sculpture to architecture, from printing to weaving to industrial design, nature has been a primary resource of ideas.
The objects in Nature by Design share a common characteristic: they are both artful and useful, functional and aesthetically pleasing. This exhibit explores the rise and decline of the great movements of art, from Classicism and Romanticism to Art Deco, and their impact on our culture, society, and economy. ATHM’s collections of textiles, clothing, advertising ephemera, and even machinery reflect our fascination with Nature by Design.